"Not only is David a genius musician, he's a song guy. He’s the best vocal producer around. He'll take a singer further than they think they can go," said Diane Warren.
In a record-breaking evening that raised more than $1 million, the Grammy Museum honored superstar producer David Foster at its 3rd annual gala on Tuesday.
Held at The Nuvo in Los Angeles, the event's proceeds fund the Grammy Museum and its educational and musical preservation programs.
Calling Foster his “brother from a different mother” and “one of the most talented musicians in the world,” Quincy Jones -- one of the few musicians who can claim more Grammys than Foster (27 trophies to 16) -- presented Foster with the architects of sound award, recalling their long history back to working together on a Brothers Johnson record in the 1970s.
Foster accepted his award, addressing what he called a "real crisis" with music education in schools. He went on to laud one of his high school band teachers who encouraged him to learn a new instrument every three months to ensure that Foster had at least a cursory understanding of as many instruments as possible.
As a filmed piece noted, Foster has written, produced, arranged or played on songs that have cumulatively sold more than 500 million copies, including Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You,” Earth Wind & Fire’s “After the Love Is Gone,” Natalie Cole’s remake of “Unforgettable,” Celine Dion’s “Power of Love” and “All By Myself” cover, Josh Groban’s “The Prayer” and hundreds of others.
Diane Warren, who has had several of her songs produced by Foster, including Toni Braxton’s 1996 smash “Un-break My Heart,” told Billboard, “Not only is David a genius musician, he’s a song guy. He’s the best vocal producer around. He’ll take a singer further than they think they can go.”
That ability was evident as singer after singer, including Pia Toscano, Ruben Studdard and Katharine McPhee (Foster swore the American Idol connection was coincidental), flexed their impressive vocal muscles during an hour-long tribute to Foster’s work, that also included performers Shelea and Fernando Varela. Foster accompanied the artists on piano, while they recreated some of his biggest hits. “We debated about what to do and then, being a control freak, I decided to do it myself,” Foster joked of the evening’s entertainment.
In addition to revenue raised from tickets purchased for the event, a lively auction earned more than half a million, including two house concerts by Foster that went for $225,000 each.
The Grammy Museum also recognized Nathan Strayhorn, the recipient of the 2017 Jane Ortner Education Award, which honored K-12 academic teachers who use music in the classroom as an educational tool.