Nine years after his first North American concert tour, composer-producer David Foster has plans for a different kind of show.
“When I did it in 2009 it was a really good experience, but the one problem was it was called The Hitman Tour, after my PBS show (2008’s Hitman: David Foster and Friends),” Foster, who kicks things off March 27 in Palm Desert, Calif., tells Billboard. “I think a lot of people thought I was going to have Celine Dion and Josh Groban and Michael Buble and all those people on tour with me, and of course I didn’t, so I think that led to some disappointment. This is clearly titled ‘An Intimate Evening with David Foster,’ and I’ve worked a lot harder on this one to make it a real show as opposed to just me getting up there and doing some good songs.”
Foster says that will include plenty of video content and lots of stories about his four-decade career, which has included 16 Grammy Awards and a Songwriters Hall of Fame induction. Meanwhile, three vocalist — Shelea Frazier, American Idol alumnus Pia Toscano and Fernando Varela — will help Foster recreate his hit parade, which also includes hits for Whitney Houston, Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire and many more. Foster himself will sing a bit, though he’ll mostly act as the creator presenting his works.
“Pulling the curtain back is kind of cool,” he says. “I’ll give people the stories behind the songs, without drilling down too deep or getting too detailed. The audience doesn’t care who played bass on a song, or drums. But how I first met Celine, how I met Chicago — and was turned down the first time — how I saw Michael Buble at a wedding and brought him to L.A….those kinds of things are interesting to people.
“And I like seeing the faces of people that know and like my music.”
Foster is working on more of that music, too. He and Buble are making a new album together, and Foster, who continues to serve as a judge on Asia’s Got Talent, is in the midst of two stage musicals. He’s been working on a Betty Boop production for seven years but is confident that a creative team is in place that will bring it to fruition. Meanwhile, he and Jewel are collaborating on an adaptation of the Amy Bloom novel Lucky Us that Foster says is in the “embryonic” stages, with just two songs so far. “I’m really excited about that,” Foster notes. “(Jewel) obviously takes a lot of pressure off me; She, in a way, can do it herself because she can play and writes lyrics and melody, but I think together we’re going to come up with some very interesting music and I think I’ll learn a thing or two from her.”
“The good thing about (musicals) is you don’t have to write a hit song — you just have to write a good song,” Foster adds. “I’m still capable of doing that.”
Meanwhile, and not surprisingly, Foster has been approached by a theatrical team about turning his song catalog into a musical. “That’s really intriguing,” he says. “They came up with a really interesting story. I don’t think of myself as ABBA or Frankie Valli or Burt Bacharach or anything, but I have done a lot of music and I’ve had a lot of hits that could work for something like that. It’s very embryonic but they pitched the hell out of it, and it seemed like a great idea so we’ll see what happens.”