Making Music With Hit Man David Foster

Art & Design

March 31, 2017 | BY Hashirin Nurin Hashimi

The superproducer talks about his celebrity friends and what it takes to be a star in this social media age.

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David Foster’s career as producer, performer, songwriter, musician and composer spans over four decades.

When it comes to the music industry, David Foster knows what it takes to stay relevant for his audience. After all, this is the man who has produced countless Top 40 hits, worked with Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, launched the careers of Michael Bublé and Josh Groban, and mentored YouTube stars like Thirdstory. The producer, performer, songwriter, musician and composer explains, “Music is my life, and it inspires me everyday. I love discovering new artists such as Thirdstory who are very relevant today.”  

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Foster has a knack for spotting talent, the latest being American band Thirdstory—“A new amazing vocal ensemble that I discovered recently who’s making it big in the US and Europe.” 

So what exactly does this hit maker consider to be central to the success of a music star in this age of social media and reality talents shows? “It’s all in the music, and as I’ve always said, it has to be great! Good is the enemy of great—that’s my motto in everything that I do. Of course, it also takes dedication and laser-like focus.”

These same qualities were probably what he saw in Thirdstory, who has captured hearts with its sublime vocal harmonies. The up-and-coming American group joins Foster for his Hitman: David Foster & Friends series at the fourth Singapore International Jazz Festival (Sing Jazz), which takes place from March 31 to April 2, at Marina Bay Sands. 

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R&B legend Brian McKnight joins Foster at this year’s Sing Jazz 
for his
Hitman: David Foster & Friends concert on April 2.

Even though the stage is not Foster’s main domain, the Hitman series is a retrospective of songs he has written and/or produced, and features iconic artists—both old and new—he has worked with. “I like to bring together a variety of artists, and touch upon the different styles and genres I have worked in,” says Foster.

Joining him in Singapore are music powerhouses Brian McKnight and Chaka Khan, as well as Indonesian songbird Dira Sugandi. He adds, “I love to include local and regional artists in the line-up to showcase the talent of the city I am visiting.” So expect a few local surprises! 

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“She’s an impressive powerhouse singer,” says Foster of Indonesian songbird Dira Sugandi,
who also performs with him in Singapore.

“We have a lot of fun musically when we are on tour. It can be an eclectic group of artists from different genres, which always makes it interesting, especially when they collaborate on stage—they are all stars in their own right,” enthuses Foster.

While he can always count on his superstar friends to deliver an electric music stage, some stages might remain a dream—for now. “I would love to be on stage with Sting, John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, with an all-star rhythm section such as Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Nathan East on bass and someone like James Taylor’s keyboard player Larry Goldings. Let’s throw in a little Celine Dion to make it interesting, and then cap it off with Matthew Bellamy from Muse for extra cred and Gene Simmons for spectacle! And Kim Burrell to bring you to your knees with her gospel singing—I dare anyone to put that show together!” Hitman David Foster & Friends_Image 2_David Foster.jpg

Few others have had their hand on more major moments in all of popular music than Foster.

For a man who has had 16 Grammys, an Emmy, a Golden Globe and three Oscar nominations, what’s next for David Foster? “I would like to win an Oscar and a Tony! But seriously, it’s not about the awards, even though it’s nice to be acknowledged formally by your peers and the industry. I would love to produce an album with a big Asian artist. I have yet to do that and it’s something I would love to do. Any suggestions? Broadway is also my new focus—so watch this space.”

Images: Singapore International Jazz Festival