Foster, David Walter

  David Walter Foster, musician, songwriter, arranger, producer (b at Victoria 1 Nov 1949). After piano studies, David Foster moved to England in 1966 to pursue a Beatles-influenced pop music career. He resettled briefly in Toronto in 1967, playing with Ronnie HAWKINS, and Edmonton in 1969, before returning to Vancouver to form the band Skylark with vocalist BJ Cook and guitarist Doug Edwards, among others. The Edwards/Dave Richardson co-write "Wildflower" was a top-10 North American hit for Skylark in 1972; the song became a pop standard through covers by the Neville Brothers, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Mathis, Hong Kong superstar Sandy Lam and close to 50 other artists. Such is the song's continuing appeal that in 2005 it was sampled on chart-topping US albums by rappers Kanye West and Paul Wall.

Following Skylark's break-up in Los Angeles, he stayed in Los Angeles and began working as a producer and songwriter. He wrote the music for such films as Urban Cowboy and St Elmo's Fire while establishing a trademark sound tailor-made for mainstream pop radio and featuring multi-tracked vocals, lush orchestration and swelling musical climaxes. The first of dozens of hit records as a producer and/or writer was the Earth, Wind & Fire smash "After the Love Is Gone" (1979); international #1 singles of the 1990s are Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You," Natalie Cole's "Unforgettable" and Celine DION's "Because You Loved Me." In 1985, Foster co-wrote and produced "Tears Are Not Enough," performed by Northern Lights, Canada's contribution to African famine relief. A who's who of pop stars have used Foster's services, including Madonna, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Kenny G, Paul McCartney, Michael Bolton, Cher, Chicago, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond and Toni Braxton. In the words of a 1995 Time magazine article, Foster is "the real king of pop."

David Foster has been nominated for more than 40 (US) Grammy awards, winning 15 while also taking home seven JUNO awards. He was nominated for a Juno Award in the category Jack Richardson Producer of the Year. Foster began a new phase of his career as a Warner Brothers executive by launching his own label, 143 Records, in the late 1990s. He signed young artists like Vancouver crooner Michael BUBLÉ, the singer Josh Groban and Irish quartet The Corrs, then guided them onwards to multi-platinum success. In recent years he has also produced and/or written for Dion, Andrea Bocelli, actress Nicole Kidman (for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack), Lara Fabian and Katharine McPhee. His private life was made public on the Fox Network reality show The Princes of Malibu (2005), though he's better known outside of music circles for the David Foster Foundation - a fundraising organization for children in need of organ transplants. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006, inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.