Video interview: David Foster On Whitney, Madonna, and Finding the Next Big Thing


David Foster



We meet a lot of fascinating people at PopEater, but we’re rarely so in awe of our guests as we were when legendary composer and music producer David Foster dropped by. As a producer, Foster has guided the songs (and careers) of Celine Dion, Madonna, Michael Jackson – among dozens of other household names – and he’s put his stamp on one of the tracks on Whitney Houston’s highly anticipated comeback album. Foster is setting off on a North American tour with a handful of the acts he’s produced – and he’ll feature surprise guests in each city, chosen through his talent contest on

Foster explains his work, his tour, and whom he’s loved best in the studio. Watch the video:



On being a music producer: “A lot of today’s music is very producer driven. Basically the record producer is like a film director, only with one-tenth the cost and responsibility. You know, if the artist is weak and doesn’t know who or what they want to be, we jump in and put our musical stamp all over it. We arrange it, we make the music, we pick the musicians, we pick the song, we tell them how to sing it, we mix it, they come in, they leave. If the artist is strong … he kind of tells me what he wants, he plays the piano, he directs the drums, he’s sort of doing everything, and I’m just the objective view that in the end can go, ‘Oh, you know, I think that chorus there can be cut in half, or why don’t you change keys there, or that note doesn’t sound good.’ But, basically we are responsible for the final product, and everything that it entails.”

On working with Madonna: “Working with Madonna was an amazing experience for me. She is such a professional, always on time, her work ethic is unbelievable. I had a great time with her, and we had a hit together that together that we wrote called ‘You’ll See,’ which was on her Greatest Hits album.”

On Whitney Houston’s upcoming album: “I was involved in one song called ‘I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,’ which is a really good song written by Diane Warren, produced by me, and Whitney sang it great. The thing about Whitney is that the expectation is absolutely too high for her, because nobody can live up to the hype of – you know, everybody – she’s been gone for so long, and everybody wants that ‘Bodyguard’ voice. Everybody wants that feeling, and when you’re 18 and when you’re 46, or 45, or however old – you can’t be that same person. Nobody can be. You know, Barbara Streisand at 18 was not Barbara Streisand at 45. Celine at 40 is not who she was at 18. It’s just different now, and I think she’s made a really good record … Does the album stand out as being one of the great Whitney albums? I guess only time will tell. I mean, she just kind of ruined it for all of us, and for herself too, ’cause she made such good records, consistently. And she’s led most of her life, now she’s following a bit.”

On the singing contest: “I know it sounds kind of corny, but I love to discover new talent, and to just be around new talent. And there’s talent in every nook and cranny of this planet. So all you gotta do is go on – you enter the contest … you can be young, you can be old, you can be black, you can be white, you can be male, you can be female, I don’t care. But I’m going to listen to the final 25 entries in each city, and the winner is gonna come on stage and be part of the show. And I think it’s a really, really cool idea. And who knows. I mean people always say to me, ‘you know, well, how will I find you?’ I mean, here’s my CD, what if you like it? I say, ‘if I like your CD a lot, believe me. I will track you down like a bloodhound. You won’t have to worry about me trying to find you, ’cause I will find you.'”