David Walter Foster, OC, OBC (born November 1, 1949), is a Canadian musician, record producer, composer, songwriter, and arranger. He has been a producer for musicians including Alice Cooper, Christina Aguilera, Andrea Bocelli, Toni Braxton, Michael Bublé, Chicago, Natalie Cole, Céline Dion, Kenny G, Josh Groban, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Kenny Rogers, Seal, Rod Stewart, Donna Summer, Olivia Newton-John, Madonna, Mary J. Blige, and Barbra Streisand. Foster has won 16 Grammy Awards from 47 nominations. He is the chairman of Verve Records.
Early life and career
Foster was born in Victoria, British Columbia, the son of Maurice (Morry) Foster, a maintenance yard superintendent, and Eleanor May (Vantreight) Foster, a homemaker. In 1963, at the age of 13, he enrolled in the University of Washington music program. In 1966, he joined a backup band for Chuck Berry. In his teens, he moved to England with the Victoria rock band, the Strangers, and then back to Toronto where he played with Ronnie Hawkins. In 1974, he moved to Los Angeles with his band Skylark.
Foster was a keyboardist for the pop group Skylark, discovered by Eirik Wangberg. The band's song, "Wildflower", was a top ten hit in 1973. When the band disbanded, Foster remained in Los Angeles and together with Jay Graydon he formed the band Airplay, whose album of the same name is often labeled as important within the west coast AOR genre. In 1975, he played on George Harrison's album Extra Texture. He followed that up by playing the Fender Rhodes and clavinet on Harrison's album Thirty Three & 1/3 a year later. In 1976 Foster joined Guthrie Thomas on Thomas' 2nd Capitol Records album, "Lies and Alibis," with Ringo Starr and a host of many other famed performers. Foster was a major contributor to the 1979 Earth, Wind and Fire album I Am, both as a studio player and arranger, as well as being a cowriter on six of the album's tracks. The most noteworthy being the song "After the Love Has Gone" for which Foster, and his cowriters Jay Graydon and Bill Champlin, won the 1980 Grammy Award for Best R&B Song.
Foster worked as an album producer on albums for The Tubes: 1981's The Completion Backward Principle, and 1983's Outside Inside. Foster cowrote such songs as "Talk to Ya Later", the Top 40 hit "Don't Want to Wait Anymore," and the number 10 US hit "She's a Beauty". The 1980 Boz Scaggs album Middle Man saw Foster cowrite and play keyboard on some of Scaggs's most successful songs, including "Breakdown Dead Ahead", "Jojo", and "Simone", followed by "Look What You've Done to Me" from Urban Cowboy.
Foster was a major contributor to Chicago's career in the early and middle 1980s, having worked as the band’s producer on Chicago 16 (1982), their biggest-selling multi-platinum album Chicago 17 (1984), and Chicago 18 (1986). As was typical of his producing projects from this time period, Foster was a cowriter on songs such as the US Chart No. 1 hit "Hard to Say I'm Sorry", "Love Me Tomorrow" (US No. 22), "Stay the Night" (US No. 16), and "You're the Inspiration" (US No. 3). These four songs were cowritten with the band’s lead vocalist Peter Cetera. Foster also helped Cetera cowrite (along with Cetera's wife Diane Nini) his US No. 1 solo hit "Glory of Love" in 1986. Foster cowrote Kenny Loggins's songs "Forever" (US No. 40), from the 1985 album Vox Humana, and "Heart to Heart" (US No. 15), from the 1982 album High Adventure. Foster also worked with Country singer Kenny Rogers on the hit albums What About Me? (1984) and The Heart of the Matter (1985), both issued by RCA; the latter of which featured "The Best of Me" a song co-written by Marx that was covered by Cliff Richard in 1989, resulting in a number-two UK hit.
In 1985, Rolling Stone magazine named Foster the "master of ... bombastic pop kitsch". That year, Foster composed the score for the film St. Elmo's Fire, including the instrumental "Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire", which hit No. 15 on the US pop charts. Another song from the film, "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)", recorded by John Parr, hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 7, 1985. In the following years, Foster continued turning out occasional film scores, including for the Michael J. Fox comedy The Secret of My Success (1987), which featured a song co-written by Foster titled "The Price of Love", a track of which was performed by Roger Daltrey from the album Can't Wait to See the Movie which Foster also produced, and the Jodie Foster-Mark Harmon film Stealing Home, both of which spawned soundtrack albums with prominent Foster-penned contributions. He collaborated with then-wife Linda Thompson on the song "I Have Nothing", sung by Whitney Houston in the 1992 film The Bodyguard; the couple also appeared in the film's Oscars scene as the conductor and an Academy member.
Foster composed "Winter Games", the theme song for 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. "Winter Games" is also the soundtrack for fountain shows at the Bellagio resort in Las Vegas.
In 1995, Foster signed a deal with Warner Brothers that enabled him to set up his own boutique label, 143 Records, as a joint venture with Warner. Foster gave the responsibility for running the label to then manager Brian Avnet. One of the label's first signings was a then-little known Irish folk-rock band, The Corrs, for whom he produced their debut album. By 1997, Foster had come to the realisation that, in the American market at least, "logo labels" like 143 were in a "bad spot" and, as a result, Foster sold the label back to Warner and became a senior vice-president at the corporation. Foster, along with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, composed "The Power of the Dream", the official song of the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Foster produced major-label debut albums for Josh Groban (2001), Michael Bublé (2003), Renee Olstead (2004), and Charice (2010), which were released under his 143 Records.
In 2001, Foster collaborated with Lara Fabian and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra to record English-language, French-language, and bilingual (French/English) versions of the Canadian national anthem, "O Canada", for a promotion of the Canadian government. Foster, with his then-wife Thompson, composed "Light the Fire Within", sung by LeAnn Rimes for the 2002 Winter Olympics. In 2003, Foster won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for The Concert for World Children's Day. His song, "I Will Be There With You" (sung with Katharine McPhee), has been used by Japan Airlines to promote the introduction of new aircraft to its US flights.
The 2001 film, The Score, starring Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando, features a Diana Krall recording, "I'll Make it Up as I Go". This song, which accompanies the film's ending credits, was composed by David Foster (together with his daughter Amy Foster-Gilles), and was used in the film.
In 2005, Foster, his daughter Amy Foster-Gillies, and Beyoncé wrote "Stand Up For Love" as the anthem to the World Children's Day, an annual worldwide event to raise awareness and funds for children's causes. Over the years, more than $50 million has been raised to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities and other children's organizations.
In 2009, it was revealed that Foster had worked with songwriter Diane Warren to produce records for Whitney Houston's upcoming album, and her comeback single would be the Foster-produced "I Didn't Know My Own Strength".
On December 15, 2011, it was confirmed that Foster would become the Chairman of Verve Music Group.
In 2013, Foster produced Mary J. Blige's first Christmas album A Mary Christmas released October 15. The album includes 12 classics such as swing-styled "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" it also features artists such as: Marc Anthony, Jessie J, The Clark Sisters, Barbra Streisand, and Chris Botti. Foster produced Andrea Bocelli's album, Passione, released in January. The album is a collection of Mediterranean love songs featuring duets with Jennifer Lopez, Nelly Furtado, and a virtual duet with Edith Piaf.
In early 1993, Foster went to Indonesia to record the TV show David Foster's Twilight Orchestra on the national television station RCTI. In early 2001, Foster appeared in Popstars, a WB reality series aimed at coming up with the next girl group. The result was Eden's Crush (featuring Nicole Scherzinger). Foster and Linda Thompson wrote and produced several songs on their album.
In 2005, his and Linda Thompson's home life was featured in a Fox-staged reality TV show, The Princes of Malibu, in which he attempted to teach his spoiled stepsons, Brandon and Brody Jenner — the children of Thompson and Olympian Caitlyn Jenner — to straighten their lives up and earn their own way.
In late April 2005, he appeared as a guest mentor on American Idol and as a guest judge on Nashville Star. In 2006, he was a judge on the FOX TV show Celebrity Duets and appeared on Star Tomorrow, for which auditions were held in Los Angeles and New York for undiscovered talent.
In July 2006, Foster made a brief appearance on The View as Star Jones's vocal coach. In August 2006, he was the musical director for JCPenney Jam's "The Concert For American Kids". Also in 2006, Foster was featured in Under the Desert Sky, Andrea Bocceli's live album and DVD of a pop concert held in Las Vegas. In 2007, Foster was featured in Bocelli's Vivere Live in Tuscany, a live album and DVD of a pop concert performed at Bocelli's Teatro del Silenzio in Lajatico, Tuscany in July. In November 2007, Foster appeared in The Oprah Winfrey Show's annual "Favorite Things" episode, performing with Josh Groban.
In September 2008, singer Charice joined Foster on The Oprah Winfrey Show with Celine Dion via satellite; and on October 31, he and Andrea Bocelli appeared on Oprah again together, where he stated that Bocelli was his "favourite singer on the planet".
In December 2008, Foster was featured in a PBS special titled Hit Man: David Foster & Friends, a concert featuring live performances by Foster and numerous other performers.
Later in 2011, he was featured in Andrea Bocelli's live album, Concerto: One Night in Central Park (also known as Live in Central Park) and in Bocelli's four PBS Specials. Bocelli also performed during Foster's Hit Man special.
In late 2012, Foster appeared in an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. His wife, Yolanda Foster, was added to the cast of season three of the reality TV show.
In 2015, Foster joined the panel of judges for Asia's Got Talent. In 2016，Foster cooperated with Europe diva Edyta Górniak.
Christmas album productions
Foster has produced multiple best-selling Christmas albums. He produced Celine Dion's These Are Special Times (1998), Josh Groban's Noël (2007), Andrea Bocelli's My Christmas (2009), Michael Bublé's Christmas (2011), Rod Stewart's Merry Christmas, Baby (2012), and Mary J. Blige's A Mary Christmas (2013). Thus, he has produced the best-selling Christmas albums of 1998, 2007-09, and 2011-12. Four of these albums rank among the top fifteen best-selling Christmas albums ever. Foster is also credited with composing "Grown-Up Christmas List" (1990).
Foster created the David Foster Foundation which supports children in need of medical transplants.
Foster has been married four times and has five biological daughters and six grandchildren (4 girls, 3 boys). His first child, Allison Jones Foster (b. 1970) is from a previous relationship when David was 20. He gave her up for adoption and reconnected with her when she was 30. His first marriage was to singer/writer B.J. Cook, who already had a daughter, Tamre Winger. Cook and Foster had one daughter together, Amy Foster-Gillies (b. 1973) a songwriter.
He married his second wife Rebecca Dyer on October 27, 1982 and they divorced in 1986. They have three daughters: Sara Foster (born in 1981), Erin Foster (born in 1982), and Jordan Foster (born in 1986). Foster is the father-in-law of professional tennis player Tommy Haas, who is married to Sara.
He married his third wife, actress Linda Thompson, in 1991. The two became a songwriting team, collaborating on several songs, including "I Have Nothing", performed by Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard (1992), and "Grown-Up Christmas List". They divorced in 2005. Foster was stepfather to Brody Jenner and Brandon Jenner (Linda's sons with Bruce Jenner - now Caitlyn Jenner), who both grew up living in his Malibu home. Both Jenner boys did a short-lived TV reality show called The Princes of Malibu at David and their mother's home, starring themselves, their mother, and Foster.
Foster married Dutch model Yolanda Hadid in Beverly Hills, California on November 11, 2011, in an 11/11/11-themed ceremony. David has three stepchildren from Yolanda Foster's previous marriage to Mohamed Hadid: two daughters and one son, Jelena "Gigi" Noura (b. 1995), Isabella "Bella" Khair (b. 1996), and Anwar Hadid (b. 1999). On December 1, 2015, Foster announced that after four years of marriage and nine years together, he and Yolanda had made the decision to divorce.
His sister, producer Jaymes Foster, is the mother of Clay Aiken's son, Parker Foster Aiken. He is a cousin of race car driver Billy Foster.
In 1992, Foster was driving a Chevrolet Suburban on the Pacific Coast Highway when he struck actor/dancer Ben Vereen, who was walking along the highway near his Malibu home. Vereen was critically injured, but recovered after going through physical rehabilitation.
DiscographyMain article: David Foster discography
In addition to the numerous albums he has produced, the following are Foster's own solo or group works:
|1983||The Best of Me||solo|
|1988||The Symphony Sessions||solo|
|1990||River of Love||solo|
|1993||The Christmas Album||solo|
|1994||Love Lights The World||solo|
|2008||Hit Man: David Foster & Friends||solo|
|2011||Hit Man Returns: David Foster & Friends||solo|
- 1985: "Love Theme From St. Elmo's Fire (For Just a Moment)" (US #15, #7 CAN)
- 1986: "The Best of Me" (Duet with Olivia Newton-John) (US #80, #17 CAN)
- 1988: "Winter Games (Can't You Feel It)" - Official theme song for the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics (US #85, #21 CAN)
- 2001: O Canada (with Lara Fabian) (#3 CAN)
- 1992: A Touch of David Foster
- 2000: The Best of Me: A Collection of David Foster’s Greatest Works
- 2002: Love Stories
- 2010: The Magic of David Foster & Friends
- 2011: Hit Man Returns
- 2012: The Best of Celine Dion & David Foster
ReceptionMain article: List of awards and nominations received by David Foster
- Order of British Columbia (1995)
- Hon. Doctorate University of Victoria (1995)
- Order of Canada (1998)
- Canadian Walk of Fame Inductee (2002)
- Hon. Doctorate of Music Berklee College of Music (2002)
- Officer of the Order of Canada (2006)
- Canadian Music Hall of Fame Inductee (2007)
- Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee (2010)
- Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee (2010)
- Hollywood Walk of Fame Star (2013) (located near the Capitol Records Building)
In 1985, Rolling Stone magazine named Foster the "master of ... bombastic pop kitsch". Foster has won 16 Grammy Awards, including three Grammy Awards for Producer of the Year and has been nominated a total of 47 times. He has been nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Original Song and won the 1999 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for the song "The Prayer" (sung by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion) from the film Quest for Camelot. He has been named BMI's "Songwriter of the Year".
David Foster supports the following charitable causes: Veterans, Children, Diabetes.