Jen Foster Shifts from On-Stage Performer to Writer/Collaborator
Nashville Industry Showcase Confirmed for 10/13 at The Rutledge Singer-songwriter Jen Foster has entered a promising new phase in her career as an independent artist. Praised for her straightforward lyrics and ‘everywoman’ themes in her writing, Foster has enjoyed five years of nationwide touring behind her acclaimed CDs ‘Everybody’s Girl,’ ‘The Underdogs’ and ‘Thirty-Nine’. Along the way, she has earned numerous awards, has had her songs placed on television and in films, and built strong relationships with her fans and within the industry.
But now, Foster has shifted gears, redirecting her spotlight from on-stage performer to behind-the-scenes collaborator. She has already been warmly embraced by the community of songwriters/producers in Nashville – in fact, Garth Fundis (Trisha Yearwood) recently commented:
"I've only recently discovered what a lot of folks already knew: That Jen Foster is a first-rate songwriter, a gifted expressive singer who has a soulful instinct for describing the beauty and anguish of the human condition."
Foster will be heading into the studio with Fundis soon, and she anticipates stripped-down production and work with incredible players. More details on Foster’s emerging relationship with Fundis will be announced soon.
On October 13th, Foster will officially ‘announce’ her transition, to a Who’s Who of music industry VIPS, with a showcase at The Rutledge in Nashville. This will be an intimate evening of music, featuring Foster and some of the musicians (including Peter Stroud, Sheryl Crow’s guitar player,) and writers she’s been working with in recent months. A limited number of tickets will be available to the public. Visit http://www.therutledgelmv.com/ for more details.
Foster has built up her Nashville ‘cred’ via years of collaboration with some of the town’s top acts. Her "Thirty-Nine" CD was produced by Nashville engineer/producer Greg Droman, who won a CMA for Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance" – Droman’s background in rock and country was an ideal match for Foster’s pop/rock sound. He helped Jen put an all-star band together, including Peter Stroud (Sheryl Crow), Rami Jaffee (Wallflowers, Foo Fighters), Sean Hurley (John Mayer, Vertical Horizon), and Fred Eltringham (Dixie Chicks, Wreckers, Wallflowers). In addition, she has written recently with Bridgette Tatum (of Jason Aldean’s #1 hit - "She's Country",) Liz Rose (of Taylor Swift fame,) Bart Allmand, Jennifer Adan, Natalie Hemby, Eric Paslay, Alyssa Moreno, Tyler Hayes, Troy Johnson, Bonnie Bishop, and others.
“THE WRITER’S SHARE” "The Writer's Share" is Jen Foster's new songwriter series at the Bluebird Café in Nashville. After losing her mother last year to endometrial cancer, Jen felt compelled to bring songwriters together help the cause to cure cancer. All proceeds from the events go directly to the TJ Martell Foundation for Cancer, Leukemia, and AIDS research. The debut event on June 18 featured Grammy award-winner Richard Marx, along with Lari White, Chuck Cannon, and Mike Reid.
The second Writer's Share event will be combined with another TJ Martell Fundraiser, called The End of the Row Party, on September 10. Gordie Sampson, Chris Tompkins and Michael Garvin will be the featured performers. This particular Writer’s Share event will not be held at Bluebird. See address below.
Upcoming Appearances: 9/10/09 The Writer’s Share Nashville, TN End of the Row Writer’s Share Party - corner of Wedgewood & 18th Ave. S. 9/13/09 Magoo’s, with Jill King Chattanooga, TN 9/18/09 The Evening Muse, with Sarah Bettens Charlotte, NC 9/19/09 The Handlebar, with Sarah Bettens Greenville, SC 9/25/09 Unity Church, w Deanna Bryant & Bonnie Baker Old Hickory, TN 10/13/09 The Rutledge – Many Special Guests TBA! Nashville, TN 11/8-15/09 Sweet Cruise to Caribbean New Orleans, LA
WINNER International Songwriting Competition International Acoustic Music Awards John Lennon Songwriting Contest Independent Singer/Songwriter Awards LOGO Channel - Best of 2008 Out Music Awards Stand Out Awards USA Songwriting Contest Nashville Song & Lyric Contest
ORIGINAL MUSIC FEATURED IN: MTV's "The Hills" ABC's "All My Children" "American Pie - Beta House" movie HBO short film "Happenstance" "Girlplay" movie
BIO, by Jen Foster: Ever since I was a little girl, growing up in a suburban neighborhood in Houston, TX, I've always had a vivid imagination. Movie scenes played out in my head, and I was always in the leading role. I remember sneaking into my parents' closets and putting on mismatched items of clothes and creating characters. The family dog, Spot, became my sidekick, and it seemed he needed a real, respectable name. So I called him Spot Raymond Foster. I never lost that imagination. When I began playing guitar at age 8, music became the soundtrack for the movies in my head. I absorbed all the music I could, mostly from the radio and from the records my brothers played. I loved pop, rock, and singer/songwriter music. I was instantly attracted to catchy melodies, and by the time I wrote my first song at 16, I was a fan of thought-provoking lyrics. James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Brown, and Bob Dylan were just some of the artists that inspired me. I began winning talent contests at the Catholic all-girls high school I attended, and I decided I was going to be a rock star. (That imagination was still hard at work!). I loved the attention I was getting, but even more than that, I felt like I had something important to say. You see, I was having an experience that I was quite certain nobody else in the whole world was having: I was falling in love with another girl. It was the eighties, and since nobody I knew spoke openly about such things, I felt isolated with my feelings. Broken hearts, constant turmoil, people's judgmental stares, my parents' rejection. These are just some of the things that colored my world at this point and gave me material to write about. The theme of feeling like an outsider permeates my music, largely because of that struggle in those early years. I always related intensely to the people everyone else made fun of . "The Underdogs" project that I released in 2006 is about that, and that theme will always live on in my music, because it's such a part of who I am. I went to Los Angeles for college (and mainly to become a rock star). But alas, my dreams were to be crushed. The much-coveted Major Record Label Deal was always elusive. I played coffee-houses and even well-known rock clubs like the Whiskey-A-Go-Go and the Troubadour, but nothing panned out and I ended up working as a receptionist at a luggage company called Ricardo of Beverly Hills. (You probably have one of their duffel bags). I quickly decided that when it came to becoming a rock star, LA was a big city and I was a little fish. That imagination of mine was longing for more. So I had a yard sale and moved to Nashville, where I had the sneaking suspicion I could possibly grow into a big fish in that relatively little pond. I felt that I had some great music inside of me and that my calling was to share that with as many people as possible. Nashville was exactly where I needed to land. It was a little big town. Small enough to make a name for myself and big enough to keep me interested and connected. It has a tight-knit network of songwriters and business people. It was somehow familiar to me, being a Texan and relating well to country folk :). In 2003, I recorded my first official cd release, "Everybody's Girl". With the help of an investor and a small team of industry pros, I put together the first incarnation of my record label, called American Garage Records, and I began to tour all over the country. I played colleges, clubs, and radio stations to promote my music, and I got a really nice "buzz" going. We incorporated a street team, mobilizing my fans to help promote my music in all kinds of ways. I've always felt that without the fans, I don't have a career, so it's always been important to me to be give them their due respect. My fan base has always been largely centered in the gay community, and when this community embraces an artist, they will spread the word about you to the ends of the earth. I feel a sense of indebtedness to them for the help they've given me along the way. In 2006, "The Underdogs" cd came out, and was even more well-received than the first one. On that project, I had worked with Jeff Trott, who is best known for his extensive work with Sheryl Crow, as her guitar player, co-writer, and co-producer. Several songs on that project won some respectable songwriting awards (you can see the full list of my awards below), and opportunities for Film/TV placements (also below) were coming in as well. I continued to tour and nurture my fan base. In 2008, I put together a slimmer and trimmer version of my label. There had been a lot of overhead expenses with American Garage, and I knew that to really keep going, we had to spend far less. I was on my own now - no investor. I named the label Fosterchild Records, as it felt more personal and meaningful to me and also signified a new beginning. I released an EP, featuring the single "Closer To Nowhere", and filmed the video for the song, which quickly went to #1 on the LOGO channel and stayed on their Top 10 list for nearly 6 months. I've been finishing up the full project on that EP (produced by Greg Droman) for quite a while, because my mother's battle with cancer over the last few years called me to spend a lot of time with her and my family. I wouldn't have missed that experience for the world, since my career means nothing without my family, but this is why it's taken a long time to finish the "Thirty-Nine" project. But I am proud of this project. It features some of my favorite musicians: Peter Stroud (Sheryl Crow's guitar player), Rami Jaffee (Keyboard player for the Foo Fighters and The Wallflowers), Sean Hurley (Bass for John Mayer, Vertical Horizon), and Fred Eltringham (The Wallflowers, Dixie Chicks, Wreckers). In the meantime, I've been writing and co-writing songs like crazy, and I am recording some of those new songs as well. I am demo-ing country songs in Nashville to pitch to other artists, and I just went to LA to record a few new songs for Film/TV. While there, I also ended up recording a song I wrote in response to Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" - and I think something amazing is around the corner for that song. One other thing I'm excited about is the quarterly songwriters' series I'm launching, called "The Writer's Share", to benefit the TJ Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer, and AIDS Research. This event will be at the Bluebird Cafe, and the first one is on June 18. It will feature Richard Marx, and also Mike Reid, Chuck Cannon, and Lari White. If you Google these writers, you will see all the amazing songs among them. I am honored to be hosting these writers for a cause that is dear to my heart. I am deeply grateful to be at this point in my life. It was not an easy journey to get here, but I wouldn't trade it. I had to find my own way, mobilize the people along the way who believed in me (and who wanted to help), and just keep pushing and prying doors open. That experience made me stronger and built my character and got me prepared for what is happening now. My initial dream was simply to be a rock star on a major label. As it is now, I have managed to hold on to nearly all of my publishing (with the exception of one single-song deal), thus giving me complete creative independence and freedom. I've also managed to build a large and loyal fan base through touring and online marketing. And I am now writing with writers I have admired for years. Maybe NOT getting that deal I always wanted was not such a bad thing. As wild as an imagination as I have, I never imagined my life would turn out quite like this.
WHO ELSE IS BLOGGING
‘Why I Left Muncie’ by Sedgwick Clark
'Law and Disorder’ by GG Arts Law
'Career Advice' by Legendary Manager Edna Landau
'The New Classical' by Christian B. Carey
‘An American in Paris by Frank Cadenhead
‘Berlin Times’ by Rebecca Schmid
‘Munich Times by Andrew Powell
‘The Torn Tutu’ by Rachel Straus
‘A Rich Possession’ by James Conlon
Interviews with musicians who have successfully created their own opportunities.Read more about this video
RENT A PHOTO
Search Musical America's archive of photos from 1900-1992.