May 04, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

1 Bublé, 31, wants to set the record straight: ”I’ve never had a drink before I’ve gone on stage,” he says, defending his recent, clucked-over American Idol gig. ”I was nervous, filling in for the greatest of all time [his mentor, Tony Bennett] on the biggest show in America. It’s a scary thing.”

2 His girlfriend, Devil Wears Prada star Emily Blunt, 24, sings come-hither fade-out vocals on Irresponsible‘s steamy cover of ”Me and Mrs. Jones.” ”She nailed it,” he gushes. ”And yet, every time the song gets to that part, she turns [the volume] down.”

3 He can relate to feeling self-conscious: Bublé recorded most of his vocals live in the studio, without the usual digital enhancements. ”It’s harder for me to listen to, but emotionally it’s honest, and in this genre, you have to be.”

4 During his teen years in Burnaby, British Columbia, he always had a summer gig alongside his father — as a commercial fisherman. ”I don’t take for granted the position I’m in now.”

5 Another early job he’s glad to have behind him: singing telegram messenger. ”Ten out of 11 times they wouldn’t [tip]. They’d say, ‘I want you to sing it louder.’ And I’d be, ‘But it’s a ballad.”’

6 A whole other kind of pipes paved the way for Bublé’s career. His grandfather, a plumber, got him into jazz and booked some of his first club dates. ”He’d say, ‘If you let him get up and sing, I’ll put in a free toilet for you.”’

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