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David Walter Foster

Birthplace: Victoria, Capital, British Columbia, Canada
Immediate Family:

Son of Morry Foster and Eleanor Foster
Husband of Katharine McPhee
Ex-husband of Private; Private; Linda Thompson and Yolanda Foster
Father of Private; Sara Foster; Private; Private and Private
Brother of Private; Private; Private; Private; Private and 1 other

Occupation: Musician, Record Producer, Composer, Songwriter and Arranger
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About David Foster

David Walter Foster, OC, OBC (born November 1, 1949), is a Canadian musician, composer, arranger, record producer, and music executive. He has been a producer for musicians including Christina Aguilera, Mary J. Blige, Andrea Bocelli, Toni Braxton, Michael Bublé, Peter Cetera, Chicago, John Parr, Natalie Cole, Alice Cooper, Celine Dion, Kenny G, Josh Groban, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Chaka Khan, Kenny Loggins, Jennifer Lopez, Cheryl Lynn, Madonna, Olivia Newton-John, Brandy Norwood, Kenny Rogers, Seal, Blake Shelton, Rod Stewart, Barbra Streisand, Jackie Evancho, Donna Summer, The Corrs, Slawomir Przyborowski and Jake Zyrus. Foster has won 16 Grammy Awards from 47 nominations. He was the chairman of Verve Records from 2012 to 2016.[1][2]

Foster was born in Victoria, British Columbia, the son of Maurice (Maury) Foster, a maintenance yard superintendent, and Eleanor May (Vantreight) Foster, a homemaker.[3][4][5] In 1963, at the age of 13, he enrolled in the University of Washington music program.[6] In 1965 he auditioned to lead the band in an Edmonton nightclub owned by well known jazz musician Tommy Banks. Tommy mentored David in jazz, producing records, and music business. After a year there, he decided to move to Toronto to play with Ronnie Hawkins. In 1966, he joined a backup band for Chuck Berry.[6][7] In 1974, he moved to Los Angeles with his band Skylark.[7]

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.[8] When the band disbanded, Foster remained in Los Angeles[6] and 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 Thirty Three & 1/3 a year later. In 1976 Foster joined Guthrie Thomas on Thomas' second Capitol Records album, Lies and Alibis, with Ringo Starr and a host of many other famed performers. Foster was a major contributor to the 1979 Earth, Wind and Fire album I Am, 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, 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: 1981's The Completion Backward Principle, and 1983's Outside Inside. Foster cowrote such songs as "Talk to Ya Later" co-written with Tubes and Steve Lukather from Toto, 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 cowrite 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 the film Urban Cowboy.

Foster was a major contributor to Chicago's career in the early and middle 1980s, having worked as the band's producer on Chicago 16 (1982), their biggest-selling multi-platinum album Chicago 17 (1984), and Chicago 18 (1986). As was typical of his producing projects from this time period, Foster was a cowriter 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 cowritten with the band's bassist 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. Foster cowrote Kenny Loggins's songs "Forever" (US No. 40), from the 1985 album Vox Humana, and "Heart to Heart" (US No. 15), from the 1982 album High Adventure. Foster also worked with country singer Kenny Rogers on the hit albums What About Me? (1984) and The Heart of the Matter (1985), the latter of which featured "The Best of Me" a song co-written by Richard Marx that was covered by Cliff Richard in 1989, resulting in a number-two UK hit.

In 1985, Rolling Stone magazine named Foster the "master of ... bombastic pop kitsch".[9] That year, Foster composed the score for the film St. Elmo's Fire, 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 for the Michael J. Fox comedy The Secret of My Success (1987), 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 conductor and an Academy member. In 1985 Foster also co-wrote and produced "Tears are Not Enough", which reached top 15 status. It was produced by Foster and recorded by a group of Canadian artists such as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bryan Adams and others in similar fashion to the UK's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and the US's "We are the World".

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.[10]

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.[11] Foster gave the responsibility for running the label to then manager Brian Avnet.[11] 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.[11] 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.[11] Foster, along with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, composed "The Power of the Dream", the official song of the 1996 Summer Olympics. Foster also produced the Diane Warren songs "Un-break My Heart" sung by Toni Braxton and "Because You Loved Me" sung by Celine Dion.

Foster produced major-label debut albums for Josh Groban (2001), Michael Bublé (2003),[12] Renee Olstead (2004), and Charice (2010), which were released under his 143 Records.[13]

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), has been 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, was composed by David Foster (together with his daughter Amy Foster-Gilles), and was used in the film.[14]

In 2005, Foster, his daughter Amy Foster-Gillies, and Beyoncé 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 years, more than $50 million has been raised to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities and other children's organizations.[citation needed]

In 2008, Foster held a one-night concert called Hitman: David Foster & Friends at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas featuring Foster presiding center stage at the keyboard, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, Katharine McPhee, Celine Dion, Blake Shelton, Brian McKnight, and Charice. Marking his incredible 35-year career, this offers spectacular performance of songs written by and/or produced by him. Other highlights range from early hits like St. Elmo's Fire Love Theme, recalled here by Kenny G; and “Man in Motion,” performed by American Idol hottie Michael Johns, through foot stompin’ disco with Cheryl Lynn's “Got to Be Real,” to the neo-jazz swing of Michael Bublé's “Feeling Good.”[15] The 16-year-old talented singer from Philippines, Charice who is known for her appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show has definitely stolen that evening by stunningly performing Houston's hit: "I Will Always Love You" and "I Have Nothing".

In 2009, it was revealed by songwriter Diane Warren that she had worked with Foster to produce tracks for Whitney Houston's upcoming album and the singer's comeback single would be the Foster-produced "I Didn't Know My Own Strength".[16]

On December 15, 2011, it was confirmed that Foster would become the Chairman of Verve Music Group.[17]

In 2013, Foster 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, Barbra Streisand, and Chris Botti. Foster produced Andrea Bocelli's album, Passione, released in January. The album is a collection of Mediterranean love songs featuring duets with Jennifer Lopez, Nelly Furtado, and a virtual duet with Edith Piaf.[18]

Foster also produced an album with Bryan Adams called Tracks of My Years released in 2014.[19]

Foster left Verve in 2016 in a label reorganization.[20]

Foster has been writing a musical about Betty Boop with Susan Birkenhead, along with a musical with Jewel, based on Amy Bloom's novel Lucky Us[21].

In early 1993, Foster went to Indonesia to record 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.[22]

In 2005, his and Linda Thompson's home life was featured in a Fox-staged[23] 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 [24] – to straighten their lives up and earn their own way.

In late April 2006, he appeared as a guest mentor on American Idol and as a guest judge on Nashville Star.[25] In 2006, he was a judge on the FOX TV show Celebrity Duets and appeared on Star Tomorrow, for which auditions were held in Los Angeles and New York for undiscovered talent.

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".[26] Also in 2006, Foster was 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 The Oprah Winfrey Show's annual "Favorite Things" episode, performing with Josh Groban.[27]

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".[28]

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.[29]

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.[30]

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.[31]

In 2015, Foster joined the panel of judges for Asia's Got Talent.[32] In 2017 and 2019, he returned as judge with Anggun, Mel C , and Vanness Wu for the second season and third season with Anggun and Jay Park.[33]

In 2019, PBS Hosted "An Intimate Evening with David Foster", which was also offered to viewers as a DVD, and available to the public on CD, and download. The show included his wife Katherine McPhee, tenor Fernando Varela, Pia Toscano, Loren Allred, and Shelea. [34]

Foster has produced multiple best-selling Christmas albums. He produced Celine Dion's These Are Special Times (1998), Josh Groban's Noël (2007), Andrea Bocelli's My Christmas (2009), Michael Bublé's Christmas (2011), Rod Stewart's Merry Christmas, Baby (2012), Mary J. Blige's A Mary Christmas (2013), and Jordan Smith's 'Tis the Season (2016). 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).

Foster created the David Foster Foundation, which supports children in need of medical transplants.[35] Foster is also an ardent supporter of Israel, raising money for their military at fundraisers as recently as 2018.[36]

In the Juno Awards 2019, David Foster was honoured for his philanthropic work due to his own foundation supplying money to charities and Canadian families in need of life saving transplants.[37]

Foster has been married five times and has five biological daughters and seven grandchildren. His first child, Allison Jones Foster (b.1970), was born when David was 20. He placed her for adoption and reconnected with her when she was 30.[38] His first marriage was to singer and writer B.J. Cook.[39] Cook and Foster had one daughter together, Amy Skylark (b. 1973) a songwriter and author.[39]

He married his second wife, Rebecca Dyer, on October 27, 1982, and they divorced in 1986.[40] They had three daughters: Sara (b.1981), Erin (born.1982), and Jordan. Foster is the father-in-law of former professional tennis player Tommy Haas, who is married to Sara.

He married his third wife, actress Linda Thompson, in 1991 and divorced in 2005.[41] 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".[42] Foster was stepfather to Brody and Brandon Jenner (Linda's sons with Bruce Jenner), who both grew up living in his Malibu home. Both Jenner boys did a short-lived TV reality show called The Princes of Malibu at Foster and Thompson's home, starring themselves, Thompson, and Foster.

In 1992, Foster was driving a Chevrolet Suburban on the Pacific Coast Highway when he struck actor and dancer Ben Vereen, who was walking along the highway near his Malibu home. Vereen was critically injured, but recovered after going through physical rehabilitation.[43][44]

Foster married his fourth wife, Dutch model Yolanda Hadid in Beverly Hills, California, on November 11, 2011.[45] David had three stepchildren from Yolanda Foster's previous marriage to Mohamed Hadid:, Gigi (b.1995), Bella (b.1996), and Anwar (b.1999). On December 1, 2015, Foster announced that after four years of marriage and nine years together, he and Yolanda had made the decision to divorce.[46] The divorce was finalized in May 2017.[47]

In June 2018, Foster became engaged to Katharine McPhee of American Idol fame.[48] On June 28, 2019, Foster and McPhee married at the Armenian Church of St Yeghiche, South Kensington in London.[49]

His sister, producer Jaymes Foster, is the mother of Clay Aiken's son, Parker Foster Aiken.[50] He is a cousin of race car driver Billy Foster.

The Best of Me (1983) David Foster (1986) The Symphony Sessions (1987) Time Passing (1989) River of Love (1990) Rechordings (1991) The Christmas Album (1993) Love Lights the World (1994) An Intimate Evening with David Foster (2019) Eleven Words (2020)

Order of British Columbia (1995) Hon. Doctorate University of Victoria (1995) Order of Canada (1998) Canadian Walk of Fame Inductee (2002) Hon. Doctorate of Music Berklee College of Music (2002)[51] Officer of the Order of Canada (2006)[52] Canadian Music Hall of Fame Inductee (2007) Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee (2010) Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee (2010)[53] Hollywood Walk of Fame Star (2013) (located near the Capitol Records Building)[54][55] In 1985, Rolling Stone magazine named Foster the "master of ... bombastic pop kitsch".[9] Foster has won 16 Grammy Awards, including three Grammy Awards for Producer of the Year and has been nominated a total of 47 times.[56] 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".[57]

He is the subject of Barry Avrich's 2019 documentary film David Foster: Off the Record.[58] The documentary was to be released in 2019 with the first airing at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2019. The film includes archival footage and interviews. Appearances by singers include Barbra Streisand, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, Celine Dion and others.[59]


1991 Grammy: Album of the Year - Winner

1993 Grammy: Album of the Year - Winner

1996 Grammy: Album of the Year - Winner

1982 Grammy: Best Cast Show Album - Winner

1984 Grammy: Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) - Winner

1997 Emmy: Outstanding Music and Lyrics - Nominee

2003 Emmy: Outstanding Music and Lyrics - Winner

2006 Emmy: Outstanding Music Direction - Nominee

1986 Grammy: Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) - Winner

1993 Grammy: Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) - Winner

1996 Grammy: Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) - Winner

1987 Golden Globe: Best Original Song - Motion Picture - Nominee

1988 Golden Globe: Best Original Song - Motion Picture - Nominee

1999 Golden Globe: Best Original Song - Motion Picture - Winner

1979 Grammy: Best R&B Song - Winner

1984 Grammy: Producer of the Year, Non-Classical - Winner

1991 Grammy: Producer of the Year, Non-Classical - Winner

1993 Grammy: Producer of the Year, Non-Classical - Winner

1991 Grammy: Record of the Year - Winner

1993 Grammy: Record of the Year - Winner

1986 Oscar: Best Original Song - Nominee

1992 Oscar: Best Original Song - Nominee

1998 Oscar: Best Original Song - Nominee

2007 Grammy: Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album - Winner

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David Foster's Timeline

November 1, 1949
Victoria, Capital, British Columbia, Canada
August 2, 1981
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States