JEN FOSTER – Artist Biography – 2008

JEN FOSTER

If Jen Foster’s music and lyrics sound familiar it’s because her songs are about you. In sharing her emotions and life struggles, Jen Foster’s songs and stories give voice to your own and the shared experiences that connect us with one another.

Foster speaks in a vocabulary of direct and honest words and in a tenor equal parts strong and tender which resonates with the listener. She speaks because this is who she is and what she was meant to do.

“Making music has always been this churning need in me,” Foster confesses. Willing to wear her heart on her lyrics and bare her soul in her songs, she says, “I feel as if I’m compelled to share myself. I need to make music and to connect with people.”

The critically-acclaimed, award-winning* singer/songwriter/guitarist has released a four-song sampler CD as the appetizer to the highly anticipated, full-length album due this Spring. Foster has spent the past several months in a Nashville recording studio working on her upcoming third album which aims to tighten the bond with listeners through her frank and sincere storytelling. A blend of sounds ranging from soft, lazy-day melodies to more raucous guitar-driven tracks, the forthcoming new collection includes two compositions, “Closer To Nowhere” and “Venice Beach,” both of which have garnered nominations in the International Songwriters Competition and have been embraced by Foster’s fan base.

“I’ve always had this inner drive, this feeling that I needed to communicate with an audience, a sense of destiny that I had something to say.” Yet Foster fundamentally knows that her message is better left discovered than preached. “I want to touch my audience with my music but I prefer a subtle approach. I want to invite and embrace people, not isolate them. ”

Growing up in the suburbs of Dallas, Foster followed her own muse and felt a bit of an outsider until she began to express those feelings through song. After graduating from a small all-girl Catholic high school, foster left her native Texas for Los Angeles, where she attended Whittier College. Her musical education came through the recordings of The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles and she developed her live presence while playing at clubs and coffee houses throughout the L.A. region. Lo and behold, Foster realized she wasn’t an outsider after all. Her songs resonated with fans who’d shared similar experiences and feelings and a community of fans emerged connected by her message and no longer alone.
Fosters sophomore CD, 2006’s ‘The Underdogs’, was a heartfelt collection of award-winning songs that weaved messages of love, tolerance, isolation and redemption while blending musical elements of pop, gospel and alternative rock. Foster gave voice to these universal themes through her direct, honest lyrics and melancholic, melodic compositions. The album’s producer, Jeff Trott (Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks) admits, “Most songwriters hide behind oblique imagery; Jen revels in baring her heart.”

Foster’s debut CD, 2003’s ‘Everybody’s Girl’ was met with a warm reception and positive reviews, praising her no-frills, unfiltered lyrics.

With the release of both album’s, Foster’s fostered the belief that her songs come to life and are best shared in a live setting. She builds her fan base the old-fashioned way… on the road. .Foster has performed in clubs and at festivals from coast to coast over the years, headlining and opening for artists as diverse as Sophie B. Hawkins, Lisa Loeb and Crash Test .

Foster’s concert performances are renowned for their exuberance and spontaneity. On stage, Foster’s raw energy and genuine rapport with her fans is mirrored through their interaction and kinship with her through the music. “I love touring and performing and actually witnessing that connection happen. That moment on stage when you realize you’ve moved someone… it’s real and it’s magic.”

Foster intends to take to the road right away to promote the new CD, part of a full schedule of efforts underway to get her music to the masses. In addition to the hats she wears as songwriter and touring artist, she’s a full-time hands-on member of the team marketing, promoting and developing her music. Noticing the outdated practices of the shape-shifting music business changing rapidly, Foster, in part inspired by the Ani DeFranco’s Righteous Babe business model, created her own label and is intrinsically involved in every decision that affects her music and her career.

“I’ve created a fairly unique situation. I’ve built a team of people I trust and have been running my own independent record label,” Foster proudly notes. “ I think it’s an accomplishment as a strong woman running her own business but also in starting a business and aiming to accomplish the same goals by working outside the standard record industry framework.”
When questioned about potential criticism that art and commerce shouldn’t mix, Foster considers that notion antiquated. Noting that the old rules of the music business no longer apply, Foster explains, “Once upon a time, people would dismiss this dynamic saying art and commerce shouldn’t merge. Leave the music to the artists and the business unrecognizable and changing so rapidly – and the future, especially for me as an artist, is a big unknown.”

Clearly infused with inspiration and passion discussing the label’s vision, Foster believes “with all the ideas we can employ to get my music into the hands and ears and hearts of new listeners, this has become a very imaginative challenge. What was business is now absolutely a creative outlet to explore and discover unique ways of exposing your art to the public.”

“I am a songwriter and an artist and I need to share myself and my message. And I’ll do whatever I need to do to make sure I reach as many people as I can.”

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