David Foster Brings Seal, Charice and More Stars to His Second 'Hit Man' Concert Special
By David Chiu Posted Feb 24th 2011 01:30PM
When you are as successful in the music business as Grammy-winning composer and producer David Foster, you pretty much have the clout to rope in big musical stars for your event. That was the case a few years ago for Foster when he put on 'Hit Man: David Foster and Friends,' a concert special that featured artists such as Celine Dion, Josh Groban and Peter Cetera whose hit songs were composed, produced and/or performed by Foster.
Now Foster is back with 'Hit Man Returns,' a new special that will air March 1 on PBS and features an all-star group of performers including Earth, Wind and Fire, Martina McBride, Seal, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Donna Summer, Kenny Loggins, Michael Bolton and Ne-Yo.
As Foster tells PopEater, the success of the first 'Hit Man' caught him off-guard. "I think it aired 7,800 times," he says. "It proved to be such a big fundraiser for PBS, and it ran for over a two-year period. There were lots of singers and artists that I had worked with in my career that were not available on that first show. There was really enough there to make a second show."
The concert, which was taped last year at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay, also showcased emerging artists such as singer Charice, who appeared on 'Glee.' Foster recalls getting phone calls about Charice from his sister Jaymes and Perry Watts-Russell of Capitol Records. "They both said, 'You've got to see this video,'" says Foster, "and I think Charice was maybe 13 at the time. It kind of snowballed, and I thought 'Loved it.' She was coming to do the the 'Ellen' show. Oprah [Winfrey] got a hold of it and then called me. Oprah has been so good to her, and now she's on 'Glee,' as it should be."
Another young artist featured on the special is child singer Jackie Evancho. When asked about the first time he heard Evancho, Foster -- who is currently producing her album -- says that it defies all logic. "It's like an adult on the microphone," he claims. "The depth of how she understands the concept of what she is supposed to be doing is just amazing. When she sings to the music, she literally glues herself to the music. This is a child that will have a major, major career."
Aside from producing Evancho's album, Foster has other things on his plate at the moment. In addition to touring, he's producing Michael Bublé's Christmas album, collaborating on Seal's upcoming sequel to his 'Soul' record and composing for a Broadway musical about Betty Boop. Foster is also currently working on a project for his foundation, which assists families whose children need organ transplants.
"We just recently hooked up with the Indy 500 and Chevrolet," he says, "and we are getting the pace car from the 100th anniversary of Indy to auction off for our foundation. Right before they say 'Gentleman, start your engines,' we have that four-minute slot, [so] I will put together something extraordinary musically for those four minutes."
As for the upcoming special, Foster tells a story that demonstrates the wide popularity of the first 'Hit Man' special. "I was walking through Home Depot," he says, "and this biker guy comes up to me -- and I said, 'No, you're not going to rob me, not right here in Home Depot.' He goes, 'Dude, you're the hit man.' He called [over] this biker chick [and said], 'I told you it's the hit man.' Again, you never know who you're reaching. The power of television is incredible. He's obviously a guy that likes my music."
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