SINGAPORE - Veteran singer-songwriter Michael Bolton has been picking up new skills amid lockdowns and stay-home orders in America's battle with the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a telephone interview with The Straits Times from Connecticut in the United States, the 67-year-old says: "I've learnt how to use a dishwasher, cook pasta and how to put a pillow into a pillow case.
"I'm not all that well-domesticated and it's something I didn't realise I need so much."
Bolton, who will be a resident judge on Asian Dream, a new reality singing competition, was briefly in Singapore last year (2019) to film the show.
"My time in Singapore is always very enjoyable and I've been there a few times. It's one of those places that when promoters offers me a show there, I always try to fit it in," says the co-creator of Asian Dream.
The show will premiere on Thursday (Aug 6) on AXN (StarHub TV Channel 511 and Singtel TV Channel 304).
Bolton previously fronted another reality singing competition, Bolt Of Talent, in 2017, but his new series has more personal mentorship time with the six contestants from around Asia. They will compete for a spot on his Asian Dream tour next year and the winner will also be an ambassador for carmaker Subaru, which is presenting the show.
He says: "It's very satisfying for me because when I started out all I had was a dream, I didn't have a mentor or anyone teaching me. I started listening to singers and singing with (American singer-songwriter) Stevie Wonder and so on. I only realised the technical parts of singing later and I highly recommend voice lessons for some of these new singers."
Bolton, who debuted in 1975, is known for his hit ballads such as How Am I Supposed To Live Without You and When A Man Loves A Woman.
He says of fame in the social media age: "It's different. I won't say it's harder to be a celebrity, I think it depends on your personality.
"The real goal for an artist is to do the art - you wake up and you go to the canvas. That was your first task but then you find yourself 15 years later trying to do just that and nothing else and the odds are stacked against you."
While Bolton is writing new songs amid the pandemic, he has also set his sights beyond music. He is hosting his own show, Michael Bolton's Big Sexy Podcast.
He says: "I'm a new fan of podcasts, doing this is something I'm going to learn a lot from. It's not easy to do research and find out what's interesting to ask people. But it's good for me to interview people whom I love, whose work I love, be it artists, writers, singers or film-makers."
Asian Dream premieres on Thursday (Aug 6) on AXN (StarHub TV Channel 511 and Singtel TV Channel 304) at 7.25pm. The episodes are also available online thereafter at this website.