Michael Bolton, the singer who pours out his soul in top hits about love and relationships to the acclaim of millions, will surely deliver a stellar concert Tuesday at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center in York.
But there's more than "Time, Love and Tenderness" to the Grammy-winning artist.
A champion for victims of domestic abuse, Bolton has lobbied for better protections and started a foundation to help victims in more direct ways.
"This issue is important to me on so many levels," he says. "I have three daughters and two granddaughters, and I think about the daughters and sisters and mothers of others who may be suffering from abuse or neglect or domestic terrorism and I am inspired to use my voice to do something to help."
Right now, "something" means developing a family justice center in Connecticut, Bolton's home state. The center is designed to provide legal services, job training, child care and other support to victims in a safe environment as they face their abusers, he says. He's also expanding programs internationally to help victims of human trafficking.
New album: On the musical front, Bolton's newest album, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough - A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A.," debuts this month as he pays respect to the Motown sound that inspired him. The album features his take on classic hits like Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)," Martha and the Vandellas' "Nowhere to Run," and The Miracles' "Tracks of My Tears."
"I grew up with these songs and artists," he says in an email interview. "I listened to them on the radio and on records and was profoundly influenced by the soul and rhythms of these times.
While he never forgets the artists who fueled his musical dreams, Bolton also looks to the future, unafraid to try new experiences and push the boundaries of his public face. An introduction from a former agent led to his "major cinephile" status in the 2011 Lonely Island hit "Jack Sparrow." As the song's setup goes, Bolton is creating a catchy hook for the comedy troupe's thumping club beat - but his contributions are all soaring, movie-based narratives, starting with the famous captain from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise.
Comedy: "The first few scripts they sent were pretty raunchy, and I just did not think I was ready to shock my audience to that degree," Bolton says. "They kept rewriting and collaborating with me until the infamous 'Jack Sparrow' skit fit and ultimately worked."
The video shoot had its share of hijinks, Bolton says, which was fabulous for the self-described "hopeless joker."
"I would love to work with them again, and we are planning to do so," he says. "The characters I played appealed to me so much because most people do not get to see the funny and playful side of me."
Behind the scenes, though, Bolton is all about the pranks - which could make for some surprises Tuesday as he celebrates his 60th birthday.
"When I am on the road, my birthday takes on a life of its own. Between my band and crew and the fans, I never know what to expect," he says. "I am a jokester on the road, and I have taken part in some elaborate plans to surprise others, so some sort of payback is usually involved."
Fans planning to mark the birthday with something special aren't likely to shock the veteran star, who says he's grateful to be a part of their lives.
"I have the best and most generous fans in the world, and I get lots of cards and letters and gifts of all sorts - especially undergarments," he says. "I always wonder how they get home without the articles of clothing they leave behind."
Grammy-winning singer Michael Bolton will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, 50 N. George St., York.
Tickets are $51-$67.
For more information, call (717) 846-1111 or visit www.mystrandcapitol.org.
- Reach Mel Barber at firstname.lastname@example.org.