I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Works of David Foster

In Toronto, there is a 24-hour news station called CP24, and on the morning show yesterday there, the one-and-only David Foster, Canadian musician, songwriter and arranger, appeared to announce his upcoming concert tour. The interview ended a bit awkwardly since the reporter, a person that I do enjoy usually, asked a question that really didn't go anywhere with Foster, but otherwise, it was good hearing from him.

The first time I had heard about Foster was in the 1980s as a university student when he came up with a couple of famous instrumental tunes, one being the love theme from the Brat Pack classic "St. Elmo's Fire" and the boisterous "Winter Games", the theme for the 1988 Calgary Olympics. But as time went on, I found out that he'd contributed his talents to a number of other acts including Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire and Boz Scaggs and subsequently he's also helped on works by Josh Groban, Nelly Furtado and Michael Buble.

I only heard very recently that he had been involved in a musical partnership with Jay Graydon in the duo Airplay (earlier in the 1970s, Foster was the keyboardist in the band Skylark), which came up with one of my new earworms "Nothin' You Can Do About It" from 1980. It had originally been recorded by The Manhattan Transfer the year before. And yes, I did buy "Airplay" lickety-split!

1. Mariya Takeuchi -- Secret Love (1980)

But of course, the title of this blog is "Kayo Kyoku Plus", and not "North American Pop Plus", so on seeing Foster show up as genki as ever on the telly yesterday, I figured that perhaps I could give a summary of his contributions to a few of the Japanese artists over the past few decades. This article will actually become the 10th under the David Foster label which goes to show how much he's contributed.

Moreover, I would like to emphasize that this is more of a summary since the majority of what I'm going to introduce here has already been covered in previous articles. For example, "Secret Love" by Mariya Takeuchi(竹内まりや)has its own article (in fact, there are two articles by me on the same song because of my forgetfulness...but hey, I like being whimsical!) as well as its originating album "Miss M", a Mariya release so AOR/City Pop, I was bleeding Perrier! In fact, the thumbnail photo at the top is from the booklet for this particular album with Airplay and Chicago band member Bill Champlin. As I've mentioned in both articles, Airplay and Marc Jordan were behind the creation of the song and were also instrumental as backing vocals and musicians.

2. Junko Yagami -- Purpletown (1980)

Foster was also responsible (partially...somewhat? the 2016 update in the original article) for one of my favourites by Yagami(八神純子). It may have been about New York City but it still resonates with me as a classic City Pop number.

3. Ami Ozaki -- Wanderer In Love (1981)

A track on Ami Ozaki's(尾崎亜美)May 1981 album "Hot Baby", this time it was Foster and members of TOTO helping out on this synthesis of Ozaki and West Coast AOR. Loved it enough that I pulled the trigger on the credit card to get the album.

4. Naoko Kawai & David Foster -- Live Inside Your Love (1984)

As I mentioned in the original article, it was with some surprise that this really smooth and mellow mid-tempo number welcomed me since Foster was performing a duet with a bona fide Japanese aidoru of the 1980s in Naoko Kawai(河合奈保子). However, coming across "Live Inside Your Love" for the first time many many years since it had been first recorded, I realized that Foster was wise since Kawai, for me, had one of the strongest vocals among the aidoru from the early 1980s. Listening to this one, I just went "Ahhhhh....summer!"

5. Seiko Matsuda -- Blue (1988)

This is the first time that "Blue", the opening track for Seiko Matsuda's(松田聖子)15th album, "Citron" is being showcased here on KKP but since I've already got its trackmate "Daite..."(抱いて…)on tap, I decided to go with this other Foster creation. The song was composed by Foster, Tom Keane and Michael Landau with Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆)providing the lyrics. Y''s been years since I've listened to "Citron", so hearing "Blue" in one way has been a new experience all over again. It's got a bit more West Coast drama, and according to the J-Wiki article on the album, this was seen as the opening salvo in the emergence of Matsuda the mature pop singer rather than Seiko-chan the aidoru. I'm not quite sure if I would agree totally with that since I think that she's recorded previous songs that took things above the aidoru/pop line, but "Blue" definitely has that pop touch from another world.

6. Katharine McPhee -- I Will Be There With You (2008)

I discovered last night that over a decade ago, Foster had created a campaign song for Japan Air Lines titled "I Will Be There With You" in 2008 with actress-singer Katharine McPhee behind the microphone. Incidentally, McPhee became engaged to Foster in June 2018.

7. Misia -- Life In Harmony (2010)

A couple of years later in 2010, Foster arranged a digital download single recorded by Misia titled "Life In Harmony". Written by the singer and composed by yellowRobato, listening to it, I just remarked that Foster and Misia should collaborate with each other more often. From the interview below, it certainly looked promising. "Life In Harmony" was also a track on her 10th original album, "Soul Quest", released in July 2011 which peaked at No. 7 on Oricon.

8. James Ingram -- Whatever We Imagine (1983)

I'd like to leave off with one more Foster creation along with songwriters Paul Gordon and Jeremy Lubbock since "Whatever We Imagine" by the late James Ingram was a song that I enjoyed hearing over the radio back in high school. It's magical and very Foster.

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