Michael Bolton isn't scared to share his age.
It's a topic the average person -- let alone celebrity -- usually won't discuss.
But during a recent interview on his tour bus somewhere in Kentucky, Bolton contemplated his upcoming 60th birthday.
"It's both exciting and (I'm) in a state of denial," he admitted.
On Tuesday, Bolton will mark the big 6-0 with a concert at York's Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.
But during the Feb. 1 phone interview, he was in the middle of what he called a "crazy" few weeks. His book, "The Soul of It All: My Music, My Life" was released Jan. 29. The next fewdays, he rose at 5:45 a.m. -- super early for a guy who works nights -- for interviews with Katie Couric, "The Today Show" and "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon."
Bolton said the overtime workday was worth it for the chance to jam with Fallon's house band, The Roots. The band ended up inviting him to perform with it through the entire show.
"I've been wanting to go and do anything with those guys," Bolton said. "We're talking about doing some recording."
He added that after a day of speaking, he worried that his voice wouldn't be 100 percent.
"You don't want to sound tired and apologize," he explained, adding that the performance turned out fine.
The spot on Fallon might seem like a strange fit for a man who sang pop ballads in the '80s and '90s. But Bolton's recent self-deprecating cameo on comedy act The Lonely Island's track "Jack Sparrow" went viral. The video, which introduced him to a new generation, passed a million hits earlier this month.
With multiple Grammys and No. 1 albums and singles, Bolton could easily stick with the soft-rock format. But as he approaches a milestone birthday, Bolton is acknowledging his past while trying something new.
On Feb. 8, he performed live from the Venetian Las Vegas to release his new album, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A." The show, which featured Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves and Valerie Simpson, aired live on HSN. Bolton also did a Facebook chat about the album, which features Motown hits he grew up with.
While, recording, Bolton visited Hitsville Studio in Detroit -- the city where songs including "Reach Out (I'll Be There)," "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and the title track of his album were born.
"Almost every artist I know has visited that body of work," Bolton said. But he wanted to do more than redo the hits. With the HSN broadcast, he wanted to talk about the history of the music and share the stage with artists who created some of it. At the time, Motown and artists like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye helped break down racial barriers.
"They brought music that united the youth of America," Bolton said. "You would see shows like 'American Bandstand' (feature) mixed audiences for the first time. What's not lost on me was that part of our history and the cultural statement that was made."
Bolton said he'd pepper some of those tunes into upcoming tour dates.
"That is really exciting to me," he said. "Touring is my primary love (as well as) getting to sing the songs and describe creating them and recreating them to the audience."
But, even on his birthday, Bolton said he planned to focus on the York crowd.
"I'm not going to treat it like my day," he said. "I will do what I think the audience wants. What I've seen through the years of touring ... is that the fans want the greatest hits."
Multiple generations have started to attend his shows. Bolton knows his music probably marked some joyous moments or tough times through the lives of his peers. Younger generations heard his songs at the mall, on car radios and on their parents' stereos.
To reach new audiences, Bolton said he's also developing a sitcom and possibly a musical or screenplay based in his book. He said staying busy makes him feel a few decades younger than 60.
"There is usually half a dozen projects in the works," Bolton said. "Part of me wants to be 12."
-- ERIN McCRACKEN,
No. 1 singles include:
"That's What Love is All About"
"How Am I Supposed to Live Without You"
"When I'm Back on My Feet Again"
"When A Man Loves a Woman"
"How Can We Be Lovers"
"Time, Love and Tenderness"
"To Love Somebody"
"Missing You Now" (with Kenny G)
"Said I Loved You ... But I Lied"
Michael Bolton: www.michaelbolton.com
Read more celebrity interviews: www.yorkblog.com/flipside
If you go
Hear Michael Bolton in concert 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, 50 N. George St., York. Tickets cost $51, $61 and $67. For details and tickets, call 717-846-1111 or visit mystrandcapitol.org.