-Brad Blanks/Scott Shannon in the Morning
I once made it to David Foster’s house in Malibu in 2005, for a party, his step-son’s Brodie and Brandon Jenner were throwing, for their new reality show, The Princes of Malibu on FOX. It was a crazy night and I drank a full beer out of the Grammy he won for "I Will Always Love You." But I never got to meet David until this interview!
I zoomed into his creative space, dominated by 30 Grammy Awards sitting on a piano, to chat about a documentary on his career and life on Netflix; OFF THE RECORD. I opened up asking him about the level of arrogance he had when he made the big move to Hollywood as a young man with stars in his eyes. David replied, “It's kind of in reverse, right? Because you should be humble when you're starting out and then you grow into being arrogant. Right? And I'm probably still a little bit arrogant, but I sort of started hard. And then as the success came, I lightened up on myself, which made me sort of an easier person to deal with.”
If you love music and the behind-the-scenes stories of musicians you will enjoy this documentary. His ability to combine his own ego and arrogance but be so giving to his talent while seeking perfection is amazing. To have him back you, as he did with a 17-year-old Josh Groban, was to have a music god on your side. David said about Josh, “I willed him to be a star. I willed it. Every single thing I did every day, I manipulated whoever I was around to take a shot on him, put him on a TV show, put him on the commercial, do this, do that. The record company. I willed it. Now I call it Grobaning somebody. I Grobaned him.”
To come up with his own verb, to be “Grobaned”, underlines the showmanship and sense of humor Foster has. However, his attempts at joking could be misconstrued when aimed at some of the superstars that he worked with while seeking perfection. I asked him if he hurt the feelings of Celine Dion and he quickly replied, “I did hurt her feelings. I really did. And I didn't mean to, it was just that aggressive ambush sort of ambush humor that I use. You mean when I said like, "Hey if you can't get this, know Whitney's down the hall. She'll do it worse." And Whitney was down the hall. Of course, she wouldn't have done the note for us, but it was just humor.”
The documentary also explores his 5 marriages, his 5 daughters, and the fallout from him playing a part in the breakup of the band CHICAGO.
I asked him, “Has your humor got you in a bit of trouble over the years?”
He bluntly replied, “It certainly has, Brad.”
OFF THE RECORD: David Foster is now on NETFLIX.