David Foster Talks About "Closer"
CFAX-FM Radio Interview
November 10, 2003
INTERVIEWER: Victoria’s David Foster is the producer of Josh Groban’s latest CD, “Closer,” which is finally in record stores as of today, and he joins us live from Malibu, California.
FOSTER: Al, can I interrupt you for one second?
INTERVIEWER: You can.
FOSTER: The most important thing first: happy birthday last week to you.
INTERVIEWER: (Laughs) Thanks!
FOSTER: Just a few days ago?
FOSTER: Well, happy birthday, and my birthday was Saturday, so uh, last Saturday. So, there you go.
INTERVIEWER: Get out!
INTERVIEWER: Well, happy birthday to you!
FOSTER: Well, thanks, man.
INTERVIEWER: It’s good to be 40, isn’t it? Yeah…
FOSTER: Yeah, right!
INTERVIEWER: (Laughs) Hey, listen, tell me just a little thumbnail sketch of the process in going into Josh’s second CD and how you guys selected the songs.
FOSTER: Well, we tried, Al, not to over think it. You know that sophomore jinx is alive and well with many artists, and I’ve been victim to it myself too in my productions and taken my share of artists down the tubes on their second albums. But I think we’ve done it right. We tried not to over think it. Josh was much more involved this time, as you can imagine after selling almost 6 million records of his first album.
FOSTER: He was three years older, two years older. He plays piano on one song. He co wrote three songs, and he co wrote them not just to be on the album but truly because he really has something to say. You know, he’s a really gifted musician, and I told him during the making of this album, I said, “You know, one day you’re going to be producing your own albums because you’ve got that kind of talent.” He has that attention to detail and he has that concentration. So, I think we did good. Warner Bros. seems to think so. They printed up 2 million albums to starts, so let’s hope!
INTERVIEWER: (Laughs) Was there a big difference between in Josh as far as his development that you saw from the first disc to the second disc?
FOSTER: Well, he’s classically Josh. You know, he reminds me a lot of Barbra Streisand in that she’s somebody that doesn’t love singing, doesn’t love performing live, doesn’t want to just walk in a room and sing. You know, like Michael Bublé, he’ll come into a room and he’ll sing at the drop of a hat. “Hey, sing this song!” “Ah, no problem!” Josh always needs to be prepared; he needs to be warmed up, not unlike Barbra or even Celine for that matter. He takes it very seriously. What I noticed this album, Al, was that as I was listening to him on the mic I was just thinking, you know, there really are not, there’s no accidents. I mean this kid has sold 6 million records for a reason.
FOSTER: He is so gifted. And my job is so incredible, I get to, you know people pay me to listen to them sing; it’s just, it’s pretty phenomenal. But he’s so far above just the average person that has a good voice.
FOSTER: You know, in every way. And I think as his albums progress, and as his career progresses, as he produces more and plays drums and writes more and plays piano, I think people are going to see every side of Josh and it’s all good. There’s no bad news.
INTERVIEWER: We’re going to have a little taste of the first single, which is “You Raise Me Up.” Tell me a little bit about that song from your point of view.
FOSTER: Well, this is a great story which I’ll make quick. My friend, Michael Nouri who’s an actor and singer came by the studio and he said I’ve just got to play you this song that I just heard. I think it would be perfect for Josh. He said I’m not an A & R person, I’m not a music person per se, but you know he played me this song…I freaked! Loved it! The very next day, my own publisher, Peer Music, Frank Petrone from Peer Music, came out to play me some songs for Josh. The very first song he played was this song. And I thought that’s just got to be a sign, and I said to Frank, “You’re going to be able to tell a publishing story that very few people have been able to tell ever. Sit here on this sofa because right while you’re sitting here I am going to cut this song. I am going to make a track of this song right now, and by tonight Josh is going to be singing this song. That’s how much I love it. So, from a publisher’s point of view it was like heaven sent. You never get that kind of response.
FOSTER: So, we love the song, and I think the choir was a great addition. It’s just a great song, and he sounds amazing on it.
INTERVIEWER: Hey, David, thanks so much for taking the time. And, man, I know this is going to be just an exciting CD for not only fans but for you and for Josh and for everybody else that was involved in the project.
FOSTER: And you guys were there first, man! You remember he came up there three years ago.
INTERVIEWER: We so remember that! And you know what I remember most about that is the genuineness of Josh. I remember him coming into the studio and him, like, thanking us for putting him on the radio. Well, now…
FOSTER: Yeah, well, he won’t do that now!
FOSTER: Of course, he will. He’s been raised right. He’s a good kid. Well, he’s not a kid now; he’s an adult now. But he’s a, really, he’s a good human being, and he appreciates everything, and you know, I’m sure you’ll get him on the phone at some point during this album.
INTERVIEWER: Hey, David, thanks! Enjoy!
FOSTER: You’re welcome. Thanks, Al.