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Friday, August 27, 2010

David Foster eager to meet more Pinoy singers

When he comes to Manila for the first time to hold a show dubbed Hitman David Foster and Friends at the Araneta Coliseum on Oct. 23, 8 p.m., the other thing he wants to do, aside from visiting Charice’s house is to meet other Filipino talents.

“I want to see local talents because I know there’s a lot of great Filipino singers,” he says.

Decades before he discovered Charice via YouTube, a Filipino talent already caught the discriminating Foster’s fancy.

“Way back in the ’70s when I was still in a band,” he recalls, “We had a Filipino singer whose name was Flip. He was great!”

His list of talented Filipino singers has since become longer,

Foster calls Lea Salonga “a wonderful singer.” Neither can he forget “the kid in Journey” (Arnel Pineda), whose success story has touched him so much Foster thinks it would make good material for a movie script.

Singers, for him, are not the only great thing about Filipino music.

“I know there’s a lot of great indigenous music in the Philippines. And I’m interested to use them,” the singer-songwriter states.

Foster sounds more like a fan than the top star maker we know him to be when he talks about Charice, his goddaughter.

“I liken the day I saw her to the first time I saw Celine Dion. All I can see back then was this young French girl singing onstage. I saw Charice and everything melted away. I can only see this powerful little child with a huge voice. It was a phenomenon for me,” he recalls.

Foster predicts that Charice “will be an international superstar and all of Asia will be proud of her.”

So close is Charice and her American godfather Foster even knows about the furor that erupted over her Botox treatment.

“When you’re young and impressionable, people are just pulling you to just do this and that,” he observes. “You don’t know exactly what you’re doing and I think that’s what happened here.”

Charice is one of the artists Foster will be performing with in Manila. The others are his friends, Natalie Cole, Peter Cetera, Ruben Studdard and the Canadian Tenors.

And while many expect it to be an evening of Foster’s songs (e.g.The Prayer, Hard to Say I’m Sorry, The Glory of Love ,Man in Motion, etc.), the musician is not about to hog the spotlight all by himself.

“Natalie and I only had one big hit together so I want her to do some of her music, too,” he relates.

Foster has some of the other numbers figured out, too.

“Peter Cetera and I will do all the songs we worked on together for Chicago. Ruben Studdard will cover some of my R&B kind of stuff. We’re gonna have fun!”

By fun, he means not just standing there on stage and performing his hit after hit. Foster promises to let the audience feel his show all the more by “going to the audience and picking out somebody to sing just randomly for 30 seconds.”

Thus, his advice to concertgoers: “If there’s any singer out there who wants to get my attention, this could be your big moment. I’m gonna try to pick somebody who is actually a singer.”

Who knows, Foster might even take the new singer under his wing and turn him/her into a superstar? The list of top singers Foster’s unerring eye for talent turned into superstars is long and familiar. It includes, besides Celine Dion and Natalie Cole, Andrea Bocelli, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Josh Groban, Kenny Rogers, Sheena Easton, Michael Bolton, Prince, Donna Summer, The Corrs, Bee Gees, Neil Diamond, Kenny G and others.

“I do have a feeling about people,” Foster admits. When I heard Andrea Bocelli for the first time, When I saw Celine for the first time, you do get to sense that you’re around greatness.”

So how do you sense greatness? How can Foster predict that this newbie standing before him will someday be somebody?

His answer is surprisingly simple: “I have to think like the average person. If I like what I see, other people will like it, too.”

Of course, no one is perfect. Foster did have misses along the way. Foster admits the public didn’t accept some of the artists he thought had incredible talent the first time he saw them.

But he just shrugs them off as one of the pitfalls of the business.

“I’m just happy I’ve survived in this business for 40 years. I’m still making music people want to hear,” he says.

Yes, Foster’s music shows no sign of fading away. In fact, it can even link two generations — the old and the new. That’s a feat, especially in this age of free downloads and digital music.

(For tickets to Hitman David Foster and Friends, call Ticketnet at 911-5555).

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