Michael Bolton was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut.
Bolton is Jewish, descending from two Russian-Jewish parents. His grandparents were devout and lived the kosher lifestyle, though it doesn’t seem as though his immediate family was as observant. Bolton describes himself as a “rebel Jew,” which I take to mean he is not particularly devout. But he certainly appreciates his heritage:
I feel some sort of ancient connection that seems to be innate in me.
Bolton has spoken of anti-Semitic sentiment he experienced growing up–that New Haven was not particularly kind to Jews. But his family was very adamant about being tolerant despite the treatment they received:
Speaking ill of another person because of their background or ethnicity just did not fly in my house. I’m grateful and proud that I was raised with those beliefs.
Again, it seems that Bolton isn’t all that religious–a cultural Jew if you will.
Politics early on and friends in high places
Bolton was surrounded by politics from an early age. Apparently, his father was some kind of figure in the local New Haven community and would often help local politicians with their campaigns.
After becoming the multi-platinum recording artist that he is now, he began gaining favor with America’s elite–including the Clintons–whom he calls personal friends. In fact, Bill Clinton (a saxophone player) once asked to join his band during a White House dinner.
So it’s no surprise that Bolton is a Democrat. His campaign contributions (small and few by celebrity standards) have all gone to either John Kerry or Bill Clinton. And needless to say, he is and has been an Obama supporter. During the 2008 campaign, he stumped for the president, saying:
I think Obama is what we need and what the world needs.
Bolton is particularly taken with vice-president Joe Biden. Bolton’s charitable foundation focuses on helping women and children who have been the victims of abuse and Joe Biden’s record of advancing women’s rights and protections hits home for Bolton:
Joe Biden has been my hero for years even though I love Hillary (Clinton) and have been very close to the Clintons for about 17 years. I would have wanted her to be the vice-presidential candidate but I think Obama made a wise choice in Biden.
Bolton isn’t at all controversial. As far as I can tell, he’s stayed away from issues like gay marriage, abortion, immigration or environmentalism. Nevertheless, he’s certainly left of center.