Billboard.biz reported way back in June that David Foster would be joining Universal Music Group (and in August that he'd be heading up Verve), and finally on Thursday morning, the news was made official: the Grammy Award-winning and Oscar nominated producer, songwriter, arranger, artist and executive will be chairman of Verve Music Group. The announcement was made today by UMG's Chairman & CEO Lucian Grainge, to whom he reports.
Foster, based in Los Angeles, will lead the creative operations of Verve, with a focus on identifying new talent and further developing UMG's roster of adult music and pop artists, according to a press release. The release goes on to note that "Over the last several years, the adult contemporary music market has grown dramatically with increasing sales and a nationwide radio audience that has swelled to over 70 million, with Mr. Foster being a key driver of that growth." Billboard celebrated the 50th anniversary of its AC chart in July.
"We are committed to expanding our A&R investment in all areas of music on a global basis, and the adult music, pop and jazz genres are very important to me," Grainge said in the statement. "With artists like Andrea Bocelli, Diana Krall and Jamie Cullum, among many others, UMG already has one of the finest rosters in this area. With David at the helm, we're now uniquely positioned for even more dramatic growth. He is one of music's most versatile and prolific hit-makers, and one of the industry's most gifted developers of talent."
Also joining Foster at the label are Jay Landers (Senior Vice President of A&R, formerly with Columbia, EMI and Walt Disney Records), Jaymes Foster (Senior Vice President of A&R, sister and longtime associate of David Foster's and former publishing exec at Qwest and Geffen Music) and producer/engineer/musician Jochem van der Saag. The creative team will also include Dahlia Ambach Caplin, who currently serves as Vice President of A&R at Verve Music Group.
"Jay, Jaymes, Dahlia and Jochem represent the very best in creative leadership and business management," Foster added. "Each possesses a wealth of experience and a real track record of success and innovation. I'm looking forward to working with them and the entire Verve team as we rapidly ramp up our operations."
Over the course of his career, Foster has produced songs by a wide range of artists including Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Mariah Carey, Seal, Gloria Estefan, 'NSYNC, Neil Diamond, Whitney Houston, Cher, Chicago, Earth Wind and Fire, Chaka Khan, Barbra Streisand, Donna Summer, Kenny Rogers, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Beyonce and Christina Aguilera, among others. He has earned 16 Grammy Awards, an Emmy and Golden Globe, as well as three Academy Award nominations for his music. He was presented with BMI's Icon Award earlier this year.
During the 1990s, Foster founded 143 Records, which launched the career of the Corrs, among others. Earlier this year, Foster produced 10-year old 'America's Got Talent' star Jackie Evancho's platinum debut album.