“Gone are the days that an artist could simply be an artist. If I truly believe in my music, I have to be as creative in marketing my songs as I am in writing my songs. And I truly believe in my music.” - Jen Foster
Jen Foster wants you to hear her music. Whether she’s singing about the time her lover moved out and took everything she owned in “Taking Bob Dylan” – or about our jaded American culture in “Closer to Nowhere” – she has something she needs to share with you.
An award-winning singer/songwriter who regularly sells out shows all over the country, Jen draws a devoted following to her live shows, but her largest fan base resides in the southeast. Her bond with fans creates a captive audience, anxious to hear her stories and take in her unique sense of humor. Foster always delivers, making her audience laugh, even if it’s at her own expense.
Influenced heavily by classic artists such as the Rolling Stones, U2, and Bob Dylan, Foster has spent the last several months in a Nashville recording studio working on her upcoming third album (tentatively titled Thirty-Nine), which aims to tighten that bond with listeners through frank and sincere storytelling. Foster, along with co-producer, Greg Droman, put together an all-star group of musicians, including Peter Stroud (Sheryl Crow), Rami Jaffee (The Wallflowers), Sean Hurley (Vertical Horizon), and Fred Eltringham (The Wallflowers, Dixie Chicks, The Wreckers). Embodying a blend of sounds which range from soft, lazy-day melodies to more raucous guitar-driven tracks, the forthcoming new collection includes two tracks (“Closer To Nowhere” and “Venice Beach”) which have recently garnered nominations in the International Songwriting Competition.
Always independent, Foster is no stranger to marketing her own music. She started her own label – now called Fosterchild Records - in 2003. Her debut release, Everybody’s Girl, garnered national radio success at the Triple A format, as well as positive reviews, praising her no-frills, unfiltered lyrics. Songwriting awards followed, and Jen hit the road and started building what is now a formidable fan base. She has also secured some impressive Film/TV placements, with songs placed in the popular television soap opera All My Children as well as a recent placement in an American Pie movie sequel.
Foster’s close relationship with her fans has been key to her success. “I always say that if the fans aren’t there, it’s just a rehearsal. They give meaning and life to what I do, and I want them to know how much I appreciate them.” Foster cares so deeply for her fans that she returns every email from them, no matter how long it takes.
Foster’s 2006 sophomore CD, The Underdogs, was in many ways a powerful tribute to her supporters. The title track evoked such a strong reaction, that it won “Song of the Year” at the Out Music Awards. “To this day, people approach me after shows to share with me how deeply they relate to that song. I think it’s a strong memory many of us have – that feeling of being an outsider.”
Foster definitely knows what it feels like being an outsider. Growing up in a very conservative, Houston, TX, suburb, she never quite felt like she fit in to that world. Singing and writing songs quickly became Jen’s way of expressing feelings she couldn’t otherwise express.
Foster credits another outsider, Ani DiFranco, for inspiration in her business model. “Ani did it her way, and she inspired me to do it my way. I’ve created a fairly unique situation. I’ve built a team of people I trust at my label and also, a community of fans,” Foster proudly notes. “It’s always challenging to take off the artist hat and put on the business hat, but it’s a challenge I embrace. My music means too much to me to blindly put it in someone else’s hands.”
Foster’s new album, Thirty-Nine, is slated for a summer 2008 release, with a four-song EP, "Songs from Thirty-Nine," is available now.