David Foster

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David Foster
Foster at a ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in May 2013
Background information
Birth nameDavid Walter Foster
Born(1949-11-01) November 1, 1949 (age 65)
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
GenresPop, pop rock, classical, gospel, R&B
Occupation(s)Music executive, record producer, musician, composer, songwriter, arranger
InstrumentsPiano, keyboards, French horn, synthesizer
Years active1971–present
LabelsVerve, Reprise, 143, Atlantic
Associated actsSkylark, Attitudes, Airplay, Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks
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For other people named David Foster, see David Foster (disambiguation).
David Foster
Foster at a ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in May 2013
Background information
Birth nameDavid Walter Foster
Born(1949-11-01) November 1, 1949 (age 65)
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
GenresPop, pop rock, classical, gospel, R&B
Occupation(s)Music executive, record producer, musician, composer, songwriter, arranger
InstrumentsPiano, keyboards, French horn, synthesizer
Years active1971–present
LabelsVerve, Reprise, 143, Atlantic
Associated actsSkylark, Attitudes, Airplay, Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks

David Walter Foster, OC, OBC (born November 1, 1949), is a Canadian musician, record producer, composer, songwriter, and arranger.[1] He has been a producer for such successful musical artists as Christina Aguilera, the Bee Gees, Dionne Warwick, Andrea Bocelli, Céline Dion, Brandy, Mariah Carey, Chicago, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Prince, Rod Stewart, Westlife,[2] Barbra Streisand, Jackie Evancho, and many others. Foster has won 16 Grammy Awards from 47 nominations. Foster is the current Chairman of Verve Music Group.[3]



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. 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 33 1/3 a year later.

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 co-writer on six of the album's tracks. The most noteworthy being the song “After the Love Has Gone” for which Foster, and his co-writers 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: the 1981 album The Completion Backward Principle, and the 1983 album, Outside Inside. Foster helped to co-write 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 co-write 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 also a major contributor to the band Chicago's resurgence in the early and middle 1980s, working as the band’s producer on their 1982 album Chicago 16, their biggest-selling multi-platinum album Chicago 17 (1984), and the 1986 follow-up album Chicago 18. As was typical of his producing projects from this time period, Foster was a co-writer 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 co-written with the band’s lead vocalist Peter Cetera. Foster also helped Cetera co-write (along with Cetera's wife Diane Nini) his US No. 1 solo hit "Glory of Love" in 1986. (Another contributor to the band’s resurgence was Foster’s friend Bill Champlin, who was brought in as a member, vocalist and keyboardist, of the band prior to recording album 16.)

Foster also helped Kenny Loggins to co-write the songs “Forever” (US No. 40), from the 1985 album Vox Humana, and “Heart to Heart” (US No. 15), from the 1982 album High Adventure.

In 1985, Rolling Stone magazine named Foster the "master of ... bombastic pop kitsch".[4] That year, Foster composed the score for the film St. Elmo's Fire,[5] 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 the Michael J. Fox comedy The Secret of My Success (1987) of 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 Oscars conductor and an Academy member. They were nominated for a Grammy Award and an Academy Award for Best Song for the song.[citation needed]

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[6] and Sea World Orlando in Florida, and for the awards ceremonies at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.[citation needed]

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.[7] Foster gave the responsibility for running the label to then manager Brian Avnet.[7] 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.[7] 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.[7]

Foster, along with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, composed "The Power of the Dream", the official song of the 1996 Summer Olympics; Foster's then-wife Thompson provided the lyrics (sung by Céline Dion).[citation needed]


Foster produced major-label debut albums for Josh Groban (2001), Michael Bublé (2003),[8] 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), is being 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 (Chapter 12), was composed by David Foster (together with his daughter Amy Foster-Gilles), and was used in the film courtesy of the Verve Music Group.[9]

In 2005, Foster, his daughter Amy Foster-Gillies, and Beyonce Knowles 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 past three years, more than $50 million has been raised to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities and other children's organizations. Destiny's Child lent their voices and support as global ambassadors for the 2005 program.[citation needed]

Foster speaking in a ceremony for Andrea Bocelli at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 2010

In 2009, it was revealed[by whom?] 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".[10]

2010s & Verve Music Group[edit]

On December 15, 2011, it was confirmed that Foster would become the Chairman of Verve Music Group.[11]

Foster produced Andrea Bocelli's 14th studio album, Passione, released in January 2013. The album is a collection of Mediterranean love songs featuring duets with Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Nelly Furtado, and a virtual duet with Edith Piaf.[citation needed]

In 2013, Foster also 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, Barbara Streisand and Chris Botti.

Television appearances[edit]

In early 1993, Foster went to Indonesia to tape 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.[12]

In 2005, his and Linda Thompson's home life was featured in a Fox-staged[13] 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 Bruce Jenner), to straighten their lives up and earn their own way.

In late April 2005, he appeared as a special guest on both American Idol (as a mentor) and Nashville Star (as a judge), two weeks apart.[14] In 2006, he was a judge on Celebrity Duets, a FOX TV show and appeared on Star Tomorrow, for which auditions were held in Los Angeles and New York for undiscovered talent. Star Tomorrow aired only one (July 31, 2006) episode on NBC.[15]

Foster in September 2012

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", which aired on CBS and was later released in CD/DVD format. Also in 2006, Foster was also 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 Oprah's annual "Favorite Things" episode, performing with Josh Groban.[16]

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".[17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

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.[20]

Christmas album productions[edit]

Foster has produced multiple best-selling Christmas albums. He produced Celine Dion's These Are Special Times (1998), Josh Groban's Noël (2007), Andrea Boccelli'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).

Personal life[edit]

Foster has been married four times and has five biological daughters and six grandchildren. His first child, Allison, is from a previous relationship.[21][citation needed] His first marriage was to singer/writer B.J. Cook, who already had a daughter, Tamre Winger, whom he raised. Cook and Foster had one daughter together, Amy, a songwriter.[citation needed]

His second wife was model Rebecca Dyer; they have three daughters: Sara Foster (born in 1981), Erin Foster (born in 1982), and Jordan Foster (born in 1986).[citation needed]

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". Thompson filed for divorce in 2005.[citation needed]

Foster married model/interior designer Yolanda Hadid in Beverly Hills, California on November 11, 2011, in an 11/11/11-themed ceremony.[22]

His sister, producer Jaymes Foster, is the mother of Clay Aiken's son, Parker Foster Aiken.[23]

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.[24][25]

On September 23, 2012, Foster spoke at a private fundraising event in Beverly Hills, for Mitt Romney.[26]


In addition to the numerous albums he has produced, the following are Foster's own solo or group works:[citation needed]

Group discography
1977Good NewsAttitudes
1983The Best of Mesolo
1986David Fostersolo
1988The Symphony Sessionssolo
1989Time Passingsolo
1990River of Lovesolo
1993The Christmas Albumsolo
1994Love Lights The Worldsolo
2008Hit Man: David Foster & Friendssolo
2011Hit Man Returns: David Foster & Friendssolo




In 1985, Rolling Stone magazine named Foster the "master of ... bombastic pop kitsch".[4] Foster has won 16 Grammy Awards, including three Grammy Awards for Producer of the Year and has been nominated a total of 47 times.[32] 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".[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "David Foster Current Biography at Executive Visions". 
  2. ^ I Have a Dream (song)#Westlife version
  3. ^ "David Foster Named Chairman of Verve Music Group"
  4. ^ a b Shewey, Don (June 6, 1985). "Album Reviews: Kenny Loggins: Vox Humana". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 12, 2010. 
  5. ^ St. Elmo's Fire credits, Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ "Bellagio Fountains - Las Vegas". Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Interview with Brian Avnet". HitQuarters. February 16, 2004. Retrieved December 21, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Michael Bublé biography". Michaelbuble.com. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  9. ^ DVD (ending Credits), Universum Film GmbH & Co. KG., Constantin Films and BMG Video, Germany, 2005
  10. ^ "Dianne Warren Confirms Whitney's new single to VIBE magazine". Vibe.com. 2011-06-01. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  11. ^ "It's Official: David Foster Named Chairman of Verve Music Group". Billboard. December 15, 2011. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Promise Me-Lyrics". 
  13. ^ "Reality Blurred: "Princes of Malibu's fakeness 'was meant to play funny', producer says"". 
  14. ^ "Wet Paint". 
  15. ^ "Star Tomorrow/IMDB". 
  16. ^ "Nightline Playlist: Josh Groban". "In her recent "Favorite Things" show Winfrey named Groban's Christmas album, "Noel" as one of her favorite things of 2007." 
  17. ^ "Live with Faith Hill & David Foster". http://www.oprah.com. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  18. ^ "Hitman: David Foster & Friends". PBS. Retrieved March 11, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Andrea Bocelli Live in Central Park". "Bocelli was joined that rainy, windswept evening by pop stars Céline Dion, Tony Bennett, Chris Botti and David Foster, " 
  20. ^ Meet the New Housewives of Beverly Hills in Season 3 Sneak Peek!, USWeekly, September 20, 2012
  21. ^ "Foster Bio". 
  22. ^ Leach, Robin. "David Foster weds model Yolanda Hadid in fourth walk down the aisle", Las Vegas Sun, November 16, 2011
  23. ^ "Clay Aiken Welcomes A Son", People, August 8, 2008
  24. ^ "Music Producer Drove Car That Hit Vereen", The New York Times, June 11, 1992
  25. ^ "Review: David Foster's Hit Man -- Star Gazing in the Recording Studio", Huffington Post, December 2, 2008
  26. ^ "Mitt Romney pulls in $6 million at Beverly Hills fundraiser", "Los Angeles Times", September 23, 2012
  27. ^ "Sony Music Releases 'The Best Of Celine Dion And David Foster'", music.broadwayworld.com, October 25, 2012
  28. ^ Order of Canada citation
  29. ^ "2010 Award and Induction Ceremony". Songwritershalloffame.org. 2010-06-17. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  30. ^ Hollywood Walk of Fame official website
  31. ^ http://variety.com/2013/music/features/walkoffame-davidfoster-1200486513/
  32. ^ "David Foster eager to add to Grammy haul". CBC News. January 27, 2010. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  33. ^ David Foster. "Foster profile at Peermusic". Peermusic.com. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Tommy LiPuma
Chairman of Verve Music Group
December 15, 2011 - present
Succeeded by