David Foster admits that there was time when the future of charitable foundation bearing his name was uncertain.
The organization that collects funds for survivors of pediatric organ transplants has helped with the medical expenses of over 1,100 Canadian families to date. This weekend celebrates its 30th Gala and Concerto Anniversary in Vancouver with a line of stars, including Oprah Winfrey, Jay Leno, Goldie Hawn and Steven Tyler, to name a few.
The 16 award-winning producer and musician outlined the goals he has for the foundation, which he admits, was inadequate in the early 2000s.
“We hit a serious lull about 15 years ago when I took my eye off the ball and we were down to $49,000 in the bank,” said Foster. “So I decided to get fierce and we expanded across Canada and had a major shift in the board in 2010 that lead to making a $30 million dollar commitment, which will probably turn into $50 million by the end. The $49,000 was my fault and the $50 million will be due to a lot of others, not just me.”
The list of others is a true celebrity of entertainment and sports as well as corporate superstars such as Boston Pizza founder and Dragons’ Den member Jim Treliving. Foster is candid about what it takes to get the likes of Oprah to join you on stage.
“It’s begging, really,” he said. “We all do things for each other on occasion, as I appeared at Goldie’s fundraiser awhile back, and so on. Jay Leno, who I know but not well, just volunteered to be there because he’s one of those great guys who is very charitable. Steven Tyler did our event in Calgary which was a huge blowout and he donated money to the foundation that night.”
There have been numerous 250 events to support the foundation and have been able to bring in a very varied and A-list guest group at all. Like every show, you get to use your connections. Sometimes celebrities could be linked, like German Tommy Haas, who is Foster’s father-in-law. As always with this annual event, David Foster works on and promises that there will be some surprise names added to the already loaded roster.
“I always do my best to give the crowd a little something extra and they won’t be disappointed,” he said. “Honestly, I get star-struck myself being around people like Oprah. There is just something about her.”
Recently, Foster plied his producer chops with no less than a celebrity model and star singer Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. The newly released album, titled French Touch, is the first English version of the Franco-Italian vocalist. The cover song collection ranges from Highway to Hell AC / DC to Clash Jimmy Jazz and standards such as Stand By Your Man and Moon River that have given a distinctive cool jazz.
“To Carla’s credit, she lead me on this album because she didn’t want the David Foster sound even though she wanted to work with me,” he said. “She has a huge fan base, who probably prefer to hear her sing in French, and had very specific ideas of how to do this which included my string arrangements. I think we succeeded, mainly because of her keeping the album cool because she just reeks with coolness.”
This eclectic project falls beyond the popular pop kingdom of Foster. David Foster works on the project he thinks is humble enough and he hopes to help Bruni bring a broader fan base.
Surprisingly, Foster is taking his talent away from pop and heading to Broadway. He bought a home in New York and is working on three different projects, all destined for the musical theater stage. Among the projects is an adaptation of Amy Bloom’s Lucky Us novel, a project he can not name and – of all things – a musical based on the iconic Max Fleischer Betty Boop comic character. The first cartoon character to be ever profiled in A & E biography television series, the character featured by Mae Questel, appeared in over 100 cartoons from 1932 to 1939.
The show was fast for production next year, with readings in December. David Foster works writing musicals, explaining his interest comes from a love for form and a good song.
“The way to explain it, is that when I wrote all those hits in the 80s and 90s, I did it with abandonment and didn’t think about it,” he said. “But when you get older, you eventually start to go from leading to chasing to write for a particular artist or style. The thing about Broadway is that you don’t have to do that, because it’s about the song suiting the story, and I find myself behind the keyboard writing with abandonment again.”
They do not call it Hollywood North for nothing.
The starred guest list for the 30th Anniversary Gala and Concerto Miracle by David Foster continues to grow with the celebrities Oprah, Steve Tyler of Aerosmith and actress Goldie Hawn have confirmed to visit Vancouver later this month.
The Foundation’s David Foster Foundation’s annual event raises funds to support families who often have to travel to other cities so that their children can experience rescue organ transplants. The foundation has helped more than 1,100 Canadian families cover non-medical expenses, such as traveling to cities where pediatric facilities are located, mortgages or rental payments, car payments, and more.
This year’s event will also have Dr. Phil, Jay Leno, Bo Derek, Carly Rae Jepsen of B.C. and The Tenors. Concert performers include Tyler, Robin Thicke, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli and Laura Bretan.
Tickets for the event start at $ 49 and are available online at davidfostermiracleconcert.com. See the full list of celebrity guests below.
• Oprah Winfrey
• Steven Tyler
• Goldie Hawn
• Dr. Phil McGraw
• Jay Leno
• Bo Derek
• Carly Rae Jepsen
• The Tenors
• Matteo Bocelli
• Laura Bretan
• Terry David Mulligan
• Russ & Paris Courtnall
• Geoff Courtnall
• Michaela Pereira
• Jim Treliving
• Trevor Linden
• Andre Agassi
• Steffi Graf
• Melissa Peterman
• Rick Hansen
• Erin Foster
• Sara Foster
• Tommy Haas
• Ben Mulroney
• Brian and Mila Mulroney
• Ruben Studdard
• Pia Toscano
• Shelea Frazier
• Caroline Campbell
• William Joseph
Since it was founded in Victoria in 1986, David Foster has supported the non-medical expenses of over 1,100 Canadian families, such as food, mortgage or rent, and flights.
“For the past three decades, the David Foster Foundation has worked hard to raise the awareness of this cause and educate the public on the importance of becoming a registered organ donor,” said Michael Ravenhill, CEO of the David Foster Foundation.
E-zine Popmatters.com shares the interesting story about singer-songwriter Brenda Russell, written by Christian John Wikane.
“Counting the Stars: Treasured Singer-Songwriter Brenda Russell Shares Her Story” is an amazing review of Brenda Russell’s recordings since the 1970’s, when she worked with producers and renowned artists such as David Foster, Earth Wind & Fire, Andre Fischer, Greg Phillinganes, Steve Lukather and more.
David Foster says about her: “One of my favorite subjects, a triple threat. I was so blown away with her voice, her songwriting, her piano playing and everything about her when I first met her. She has written some of the best songs on the planet and she continues to be a driving force in the music business with no regard to boundaries. She doesn’t write R&B music. She doesn’t write jazz music. She doesn’t write pop music. She simply writes music, beautiful and melodic music for all ages and times.
She also has the most spectacular spirit, which only enhances all of her other wonderful abilities. I always have been and I always will be a Brenda Russell fan. I am so happy that I was just one of many that got to witness her talent up close and collaborate with her.”
David Foster recommend her to Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White. As the group prepared Faces (1980) at AIR Studios in Montserrat, White called Russell and asked her to contribute lyrics to a trio of songs for the album, “And Love Goes On”, “You”, and “Song In My Heart”. Russell’s association with Earth, Wind & Fire continued on Raise! (1981), which featured “I’ve Had Enough”, her collaboration with Philip Bailey and Greg Phillinganes.
Brenda and his husband Brian wrote a song in 1975, “Please pardon me”, lately recorded by Skylark band (the one with David Foster on keyboard and ex-wife B.J.Cook as the singer).
This is the link to the whole article: http://www.popmatters.com/
Carla Bruni ‘s “French Touch”, which is coming out Today October 6th, consists of covers only. The original artists vary considerably – Abba, AC / DC, The Clash and Lou Reed, among others – but Bruni turns everyone into a luxurious and retro style of pop standard with his breathing but raspy voice.
It is Bruni’s second English album after 2006 “No Promises”, in which he adapted poetry. Bruni makes music on the guitar but says he does not feel comfortable writing the lyrics in English.
Bruni thought of hiring a co-writer and talked with David Foster, the veteran musician who worked with soft-rock wonders like Chicago and Celine Dion. But after hearing the covers, Foster signed up to produce a full album value.
Bruni brings a sensuality slightly to the classic “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, with country legend Willie Nelson duet for a more twangy choir.
One surprise from Bruni’s album — a passion for country music, a genre not known for its European following.
“I love country music. To me it’s the white blues,” Bruni said.
And she sings Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” — controversial on its release in 1968 for its message, at a time of cultural tumult, of marital fidelity.
Bruni was once involved with Stoney’s frontman Mick Jagger but insisted there was no channeling him. “The Stones Are The Stones, They Are For Anyone,” he said.
Bruni said it was not so much offering an alternative interpretation of The Stones or The Clash as he was performing songs he loved.
“There is no logic and no reason,” she said on her album with a laugh. “All these covers have been made with a lot of fun – but also with a lot of modesty.”