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Questions and Answers for "Listen to David Foster"

 

David speaks about past and present works on this exclusive interview for "Listen to David Foster" web site.
Questions come from two among the hugest Foster's fans: Anders Bernstrom (Norway) and Tomi M. (Finland). Thanks a bunch, David !

Anders: A David Foster production is normally a signature brand, which music lovers can easily recognize. 143 records holds a variety of music styles not normally connected to David Foster. What is the 143-Records strategy when signing a new artist? "I do love a lot of rap music and heavy metal, but I don't know how to make that kind of music," was one of your quotes. But you do recognize talents in most sorts of music?

David: I think for any successful label, you have to be able to recognize and release all different kinds of music. I always seem to do best when I "stay in my own lane " as the saying goes but my dream would be to have every kind of music on 143. Our newest signing is two 18 year old twins named Tay and Ty. They are urban pop, they are making a great record but of course, I'm not producing it.

Tomi: What is your secret? I mean, you are one of the very few people who has survived in this business for a very long time. Producers come and go but you always seem to rise and have another success?Have you though on how you manage to do it, time after time?

David: My good friend Ronnie Hawkins (canadian rockabilly singer, I was in his band when I was 20, his main band became "the band" ) told me you always have to retreat and attack in another direction. At the end of the 80's my career went downhill, I did the Natalie and Nat record, that propelled me into the 90's ("Unforgettable" was definitely a different direction) at the end of the 90's: same problem. I couldn't fit in with the swedish sound...soooo...Josh Groban and Michael Buble!!!

Anders: There is so many of your songs and albums we've heard about that was never released. The music business is not always so easy to understand from the outside (and maybe not from the inside either:-) Please feel free to comment or not on the following artists/albums:
- Mya's "Where The Dream Takes You". Mentioned in the Asian best of CD, but this version was never released.
- Youth Asylum. (Went as long as an enhanced CD)
- (New) Millennium. (A group with Warren Wiebe, Joey Diggs, Will Wheaton, Nita Whitaker and Suzette Charles that was scheduled around 1995?)
- Janet Gretzky (Jones) solo works.
- Brenda Russell (demo album?)
- Deniece Williams' 1992 songs

David: All of those projects you talk about I remember very clearly. Every one always talks about the hits but never the misses. Good detective work on your part. I had very high hopes for New Millenium, sort of a modern day fifth dimension but Atlantic Records (143 parent company ) choose not to release it. When I finished Mya's song I loved it but her A&R person Ron Fair didn't like it so he redid it. Janet Gretzky is a good friend as is her husband Wayne...we tried to get something going for her but couldn't. Now her 14 year old daughter Paulina sings so maybe we'll see her soon. I did 3 songs with Denise at that time and none of them were released. One was an old Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers' song called "Does your mama know about me"...another was a Beach Boys song and the third one was...can't remember. Also I don't remember about the Brenda Russell stuff.

Tomi: As a musician I'm often nowadays required to "kill my darlings"?I have to give up using some chords, arrangements etc. because of outside demands. Do you often face that?

David: I do pretty much what I want but of course, you wouldn't use Al Jarreau chords these days nor could you ever have imagined using some of the sloppy drum beats back then that are used now. Time has a way of taking care of everything. By the way, I just saw an article about me in Canadian Time Magazine...pretty good in there with Oscar Peterson and Joni Mitchell !!

Anders: You were known as Dr./Mr. Fixit sometimes without getting any credit on the record. Is there any special work you wished you were officially credited for? And is there any artist you wished you have worked with? What would you have made different then?

David: When I was doing sessions in the 70's I would always jump in when the producer didn't know what to do: make up intros, tell the drummer what to play, write a brigde etc...no credit but it's okay, I just consider it part of my training. I learned just as much from the bad producers as I did from the good ones. I've always wanted to work with Sting...problem is he doesn't need me. I might have messed his career up, like Janet Jackson: her record company really wanted me to produce the album that Jam and Lewis eventually did. Thank God I said no, she would have missed out on one of the all time great collaborations of all time. I think her and Jam and Lewis are a killer combination.

Anders: Josh Groban mentioned that you still work on your "Scream" musical. One friend is almost certain that he saw pre-announcements for the musical on a L.A theatre back in 1993. Was the musical ever performed live? Do you still plan for a complete musical? If not "Tears For Fears" could have been the perfect song to put Chicago back on Top 20! Who was the original female vocalist? Could you explain why Arthur Janov's book inspired you to write the musical and several musical artist to take their band names from this book? You made me read that book as well:-)

David: Arthur brought out something in my writing that was different than anyone else. I love all 24 songs that we wrote for "Scream" (one of them we gave to Celine, "The color of my love"). In his innocence he wrote some great lyrics but the story was never able to be right...we performed it a couple of different times for a week at a time, workshop sort of. He's a brilliant guy but not a good playwright. Problem is every time I tryed to get someone else to write the screenplay he would say no problem but then he would work with the guy and we would be right back where we started...he couldn't let go (strange considering that's what his book is all about).

Tomi: Is there any chance for you doing similar stuff as "nothing you can do about it" or those wonderful Jarreau style songs? :-) Any solo stuff? How about doing a music product with all your friends and people with who you have played during the years? Maurice White, all LA studio cats, todays favourites, some great vocalists?like those Quincy Jones records. And some contemporary artists too...

David: No plans for any of that but you never know.

(Anders Bernstrom - Tomi M. - 2003)