meta-script5 Essential David Foster Productions: Earth, Wind & Fire, Chicago, & More |
David Foster productions
David Foster

Photo Courtesy of Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame


5 Essential David Foster Productions: Earth, Wind & Fire, Chicago, & More

Sixteen-time GRAMMY winning musician, composer/arranger and producer David Foster was recently inducted into the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. Before being feted by his peers, Foster spoke with about his career-defining hits.

GRAMMYs/Oct 3, 2022 - 02:59 pm

David Foster was born in Victoria, British Columbia. The son of a blue-collar worker and homemaker, Foster started playing — and studying — piano at age four. One morning his mom was dusting the family piano when she hit a key by accident and David said, "That's an E!" naming the correct note.

"It sounds cliché, but it's true," says the 72-year-old, reflecting on a life spent searching for the right notes. "When I go to the doctor's office, still to this day, when they ask me my occupation, I always reply musician."

After studying music at the University of Washington at 13, the prodigy moved to Edmonton, Alberta where he led a nightclub band in a joint owned by jazz piano player and arranger Tommy Banks. The impresario took Foster under his wing and encouraged the teenager to write. "As a songwriter, I bloomed late," Foster says. "In my early 20s I wrote some songs and some got recorded, but looking back they were just awful."

Thanks to Banks' tutelage on the art of arranging — and the hard work of gigging in bands throughout the early-to mid 1970s — Foster's songs kept getting better. In his CSHF acceptance speech, Foster shared some simple advice another mentor, Quincy Jones, once gave: "The three ingredients to a hit record are: the song, the song and the song."

As a keyboardist during this early chapter of his career, Foster kept searching for those key ingredients. He played on a pair of George Harrison records (Extra Texture and Thirty Three & 1/3) and also lent overdubbed piano to Lynyrd Skynyrd's third studio album Nuthin' Fancy (1975). One of his early production credits was Alice Cooper's fourth studio record From the Inside. The 1978 concept album chronicled Cooper's time inside a New York sanatorium during a rehab stint for alcoholism. Reflecting back, Foster says this project was not one of his best.

"I don't think that album holds up. Not because of Alice, but more due to my ineptness at producing that kind of music. I believe I took him a little too far to my side," he recalls. "Still, I loved making that record. The same goes for the Tubes, who I co-wrote 'She's a Beauty,' with. They were so inventive and creative.

"Most people, who know me, know that when I lay my hands on the keys what comes back is not rock 'n roll," he adds. "Even though rock is not what I'm known for producing, I listen to all kinds of music."

Foster admits during his prime production years he rarely listened to music for fear he might unintentionally copy something he heard on the radio. These days, he has rediscovered the joy of listening for pleasure. Some music Foster is currently digging includes Big Thief and Miles Davis.

As the decade came to a close, the first major milestone for the songwriter-turned producer — and first GRAMMY — came after co-writing the song, "After the Love Has Gone." Four decades later, the 16-time GRAMMY winner was inducted into Canadian Songwriter's Hall of Fame (CSHF) along with Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance, Alanis Morissette and Daniel Lavoie, became the five newest inductees into the Canadian Songwriter's Hall of Fame (CSHF).

Before being feted by his peers, the legendary musician, composer/arranger and producer, took time to chat about career-defining moments — the hits and the misses — along with the joys of touring the The Kat & Dave Show.

Earth, Wind & Fire - "After The Love Has Gone" (1979) 

"After the Love Has Gone," the top track off Earth, Wind & Fire's 1979 album I Am, peaked at No. 2 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B charts. The song was nominated for three GRAMMY Awards: Record Of The Year, Song Of TheYear and Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo Or Group — winning the GRAMMY in this category; Foster also won his first GRAMMY (Best R&B Song) for this co-write. The beautiful ballad became the winning formula and sound Foster became known for throughout the 1980s.

"I wrote 'After the Love Has Gone' with my friends Bill Champlin and Jay Graydon," Foster recalls. "I took the song to another friend, Carole Childs, who introduced me to Earth, Wind & Fire's leader Maurice White. He loved the song and wanted to record it. This led to me co-writing with Maurice most of the songs on I Am. He was another mentor."

Foster's admiration for the band remains to this day. "I love Earth, Wind & Fire so much. Every R&B band and artist all the way up to Drake owes a debt to Maurice White and his band. There are so many genres hidden in their music: from rock to jazz; R&B to country."

Chicago - "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" (1982)

During the early-to mid-1980s, Foster collaborated with jazz-rock band Chicago on three albums: Chicago 16, Chicago 17 and Chicago 18. The producer arrived at a time when the band was in flux. Columbia had dropped them after underwhelming sales and they had recently signed with Warner Bros. Chicago 16 was the band's comeback and included the power ballad: "Hard to Say I'm Sorry." Foster co-wrote the No.1 hit with Chicago's singer/bassist Peter Cetera.

"Anytime you are working with a band it is difficult. Chicago had seven very powerful members and they all had an opinion on what they thought should go on their records," Foster says. "To get the best results in the studio, it can't be a democracy. That is why a producer is there … to say 'yes' to this and 'no' to that. Even a band as famous as Chicago needs direction.

"They didn't believe in all the decisions I made and they struggled with me, but they appreciated the success we had," he continues. "Over the years, slowly, I've talked to all the guys. They've reflected and grown and we are now good."

The trio of Chicago albums was also great for Foster professionally, as a songwriter. A successful writing partnership was formed with Peter Cetera. The pair went on to write "You're the Inspiration" for Chicago 17. The 1984 album was nominated for three GRAMMY Awards and Foster won Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal (s). This was Cetera's last record with the band. Despite Chicago's commercial success in the 1980s, Cetera and Foster's close-knit relationship was one of the reasons the rest of the band were not happy during this period.

"They had lost their way," recalls Foster. "I did my best to remind them of their greatness and try to recapture some of the magic of their early albums in the 1970s; these were phenomenal records when they had the tiger by the tail and were running on all eight cylinders."

Whitney Houston -  "I Will Always Love You" (1992)

Foster worked with Whitney Houston on The Bodyguard soundtrack — taking the Dolly Parton-penned "I Will Always Love You" and making it into a GRAMMY-winning hit.

In their first collaboration, Foster chose to include the third verse to the song — which had not made it into Linda Ronstadt's 1975 cover — after Parton herself pointed out that she would love to hear it. In a 2013 interview remembering Houston one year after her death, Foster spoke of how much he loved working with her because she always surprised him and brought something different to every recording. "Ninety-nine percentof the time Whitney gave me something better than what I asked for," he said.

Céline Dion - "The Power Of Love" (1993)

This ballad topped the Billboard charts in 1993 and remained there for four weeks. In the documentary David Foster: Off the Record, the producer recalls the first time he saw Céline Dion.

After getting a tip about the young singer, who was already a star in her province, Foster flew to Montreal and then drove 100 miles in the rain to hear Céline perform in a tent in rural Quebec. Her voice hit him immediately and Foster ended up producing her English-language debut, Unison (1990). He is credited with bringing her music to an audience outside the Francophone world.

"Céline's the best singer I've ever worked with,"  Foster says of the five-time GRAMMY winner, with whom he notched another one of his 16 golden gramophones for Falling into You (1986). "She was also incredible at taking direction. She knew her job, which was to sing. When it came to everything else, she just let others take care of it. Céline was the perfect artist. She had opinions, but she would try anything asked of her and that was golden."

Michael Bublé - "Home" (2005)

Another fortuitous Canadian discovery was Michael Buble, whom Foster first heard at a wedding when the unknown singer delivered an original version of the oft-covered popular standard "Mack the Knife."

As with his first listen of Céline, Foster heard something in Bublé's delivery. Eventually, the pair convened in Los Angeles to record. The crooner's self-titled debut arrived in 2003 on Foster's label 143 Records and cracked the Top 10 in Canada. The following year, Bublé won New Artist Of The Year at The Junos [Canada's equivalent to the GRAMMY Awards]. From there, the rise to stardom for the artist was steady. It's Time, his fourth studio album was released in 2005 and reached No.1 in Canada, Italy and Japan; it also spent 104 weeks on Billboard Top Jazz chart, including a record-breaking 78 weeks at No.1.

It's Time featured Bublé's first megahit, "Home." The original song, co-written with Foster's daughter Amy Foster-Gillies, won the Juno for Single Of The Year and went to No.1 in 10 countries. While Bob Rock produced It's Time, Foster was heavily involved in overseeing his young protégé and arranging many of the songs.

For The Love Of Live  

After spending 40 years in what he calls "dark studios," Foster decided to take a hiatus from the producer's chair and return to his first love of playing piano and performing.

Currently, Foster is on tour with his wife, singer, songwriter and actress, Katherine McPhee. "I love performing live," he says. "For so many years I was in a submarine environment: air-tight studios with no windows. I would make a record and then whoever I was working with, they would get to leave the studio and go out into the world and play these songs we had written and recorded and see the reaction from people. I never got to experience that. Now I do."

Before hanging up, Foster reveals he is returning to the studio with Chris Botti, to help produce a live album for the former trumpeter in Sting's band. "He's just phenomenal!" Foster says describing his admiration for Botti. "Chris called me late one night and pleaded with me to produce for him. 'All I need you to do is come in for one week,' he said. 'I want to make a live album.' I thought, One week sounds like fun … And, I want to win another GRAMMY!"

5 Essential D'Mile Productions: Silk Sonic, H.E.R. & Others

boygenius, Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff at 2024 GRAMMYs
(L-R) boygenius, Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff at the 2024 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


10 Must-See Moments From The 2024 GRAMMYs: Taylor Swift Makes History, Billy Joel & Tracy Chapman Return, Boygenius Manifest Childhood Dreams

The 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards wrote another monumental chapter in music history with returns from legends like Celine Dion and wins by a promising new generation of artists like Victoria Monét.

GRAMMYs/Feb 5, 2024 - 08:35 pm

Just like that, another GRAMMYs has come and gone — but the 2024 telecast brought many moments that will be immortalized in pop culture history.

It was the evening of legends, as Billy Joel and Tracy Chapman returned to the stage for the first time in decades and Joni Mitchell made her debut with a performance of her 1966 classic, "Both Sides, Now." Stevie Wonder and Celine Dion honored greats, both those we've lost and those who are dominating today. And Meryl Streep had two memorable moments at the show, making a fashionably late entrance and getting a hilarious GRAMMY lesson from Mark Ronson.

But it was the younger generation of artists who ultimately dominated the show. Boygenius — the supergroup of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker — won numerous awards in the Rock, Metal & Alternative Music Field. Billie Eilish and SZA scooped up a couple more golden gramophones, respectively, and Best New Artist winner Victoria Monét celebrated three wins in total, also winning Best R&B Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.

Taylor Swift built on the momentum of her colossal year with more GRAMMY records and an unexpected announcement of her next studio album.

Check out the full list of winners here, and take a look at our top 10 highlights from another show-stopping installment of the GRAMMYs below.

Boygenius Run To Accept Their First GRAMMY Award

Boygenius won the first trophy of their careers during the Premiere Ceremony, and they were so ecstatic they sprinted through the crowds to get to the stage.

"Oh my God, I want to throw up," Lucy Dacus said as the group accepted their Best Rock Performance trophy for "Not Strong Enough."

Even though the trio was over the moon, they weren't entirely shocked by their win: "We were delusional enough as kids to think this would happen to us one day," she continued. Phoebe Bridgers would sing at a local Guitar Center "in hopes of getting discovered," while Julien Baker dreamed of performing in stadiums as she played in multiple bands, and Dacus has been perfecting her acceptance speech for years.

Their hard work was manifested three times over, as the trio also won Best Rock Song for "Not Strong Enough" and Best Alternative Music Album for the record.

Killer Mike Makes A Clean Sweep

Killer Mike had the largest GRAMMY night of his career, winning all three of the Rap Categories for which he was nominated: Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for "SCIENTISTS & ENGINEERS," and Best Rap Album for MICHAEL.

"I'm from the Southeast, like DJ Paul, and I'm a Black man in America. As a kid, I had a dream to become a part of music, and that 9-year-old is very excited right now," he cheered. "I want to thank everyone who dares to believe art can change the world."

Minutes after his sweep, the LAPD detained the Run the Jewels rapper. However, he was released and still able to celebrate his achievements, Killer Mike's lawyer told Variety.

Miley Cyrus Finally Receives Her "Flowers"

Miley Cyrus entered the GRAMMYs with six nominations for her eighth studio album, Endless Summer Vacation. After she won Best Pop Solo Performance for "Flowers," she delivered a jubilant performance in celebration. "Started to cry, but then remembered, I just won my first GRAMMY!" she exclaimed at the song's bridge, throwing her hands in the air and joyfully jumping around the stage.

Cyrus' excitement brought a tangible energy to the performance, making for one of the night's most dynamic — and apparently one of Oprah Winfrey's favorites, as the camera caught the mogul dancing and singing along.

"Flowers" earned Cyrus a second GRAMMY later in the night, when the No. 1 hit was awarded Record Of The Year. 

Tracy Chapman Makes A Rare Appearance

Luke Combs breathed a second life into Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" when he released a cover of the track in April 2023. He quickly climbed to the top of the Billboard charts and received a nomination for Best Country Solo Performance at this year's show. Of course, it called for a special celebration — one that was meaningful for both Combs and GRAMMYs viewers.

Chapman joined the country star on stage for her first televised performance since 2015, trading off verses with Combs as he adoringly mouthed the words. The duet also marked Chapman's first appearance on the GRAMMY stage in 20 years, as she last performed "Give Me One Reason" at the 2004 GRAMMYs. (It also marked her second time singing "Fast Car" on the GRAMMYs stage; she performed it in 1989, the same year the song won Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female and Chapman took home three awards total, including Best New Artist.)

Naturally, Chapman's return earned a standing ovation from the crowd. As Combs fittingly put it in an Instagram post thanking the Recording Academy for the opportunity, it was a "truly remarkable moment."

Read More: 2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Winners & Nominees List

Joni Mitchell Takes The GRAMMY Stage For The First Time At 80

In one of the most emotional parts of the night, Joni Mitchell performed on the GRAMMYs stage for the first time in her nearly 60-year career.

Accompanied by Brandi Carlile — who referred to Mitchell as "the matriarch of imagination" before the performance — Lucius, SistaStrings, Allison Russell, Blake Mills, and Jacob Collier, Mitchell sang a touching rendition of "Both Sides Now."

"Joni is one of the most influential and emotionally generous creators in human history," Carlile  added in her introduction. "Joni just turned 80, my friends, but we all know she's timeless!"

Mitchell also won her 10th golden gramophone at the 2024 GRAMMYs, as her live album Joni Mitchell at Newport was awarded Best Folk Album at the Premiere Ceremony.

Stevie Wonder Salutes The Late Tony Bennett, Duetted By His Hologram

Another heartfelt moment came during this year's In Memoriam segment, when Stevie Wonder memorialized his friend, Tony Bennett, who passed away from Alzheimer's disease in 2023.

"Tony, I'm going to miss you forever. I love you always, and God bless that He allowed us to have you in this time and space in our lives," Wonder proclaimed. Thanks to a hologram of Bennett, the two singers could duet "For Once in My Life" one last time.

This year's tribute also saw Annie Lennox covering Sinéad O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U," Jon Batiste's medley of Bill Withers' hits, and Fantasia's reimagining of Tina Turner's "Proud Mary."

Meryl Streep Gets Educated On Album Vs. Record And Single

Meryl Streep joined Mark Ronson — who happens to be her son-in-law — to announce the Record Of The Year winner, which sparked a funny interaction between the two when Streep thought she was announcing Album Of The Year.

"A record is an album!" Streep confidently declared, only for Ronson to give a quick 101 on the difference between Record, Song, and Album Of The Year.

"It's a really important award, and it's an award that recognizes everything that goes into making a great record — the producers, the recording engineer, and the artist, and all their contributions," Ronson explained of Record Of The Year.

"It's the Everything Award! It's the best," Streep smiled.

Celine Dion Surprises The World With A Special Cameo

Before the GRAMMYs commenced, producer Ben Winston told viewers they would be in for a treat because of a surprise presenter for the final award of the night, Album Of The Year. "They are an absolute global icon. I think jaws will drop to the floor. People will be on their feet," he shared.

It was none other than Celine Dion, who has largely been out of the limelight after her stiff person syndrome diagnosis.

"When I say that I'm happy to be here, I really mean it with my heart," Dion said. "It gives me great joy to present a GRAMMY award that two legends, Diana Ross and Sting, presented to me 27 years ago."

Dion is referring to her Album Of The Year win at the 39th GRAMMY Awards in 1997, when her smash LP Falling Into You won the honor. 

Taylor Swift Breaks The Record For Most AOTY Wins

It was a historic night for Taylor Swift in more ways than one.

She began the evening by winning her 13th GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Album for Midnights. To commemorate the milestone (13 is her lucky number), Swift announced her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, arriving on April 19.

She ended the evening with a coveted fourth Album Of The Year win, which made Swift the artist with the most AOTY nods in GRAMMY history.

"I would love to tell you this is the best moment of my life, but I feel this happy when I finish a song or crack the code to a bridge that I love or when I'm shot listing a music video or when I'm rehearsing with my dancers or my band or getting ready to go to Tokyo to play a show," she said. "The award is the work. All I want to do is keep being able to do this."

Billy Joel Serves Double GRAMMY Duty

After Swift's momentous win, Billy Joel ended the ceremony with a feel-good performance of his 1980 single, "You May Be Right." Along with being a rousing show closer, it was also his second performance of the night; Joel performed his newest offering, "Turn the Lights Back On," before Album Of The Year was announced.

Joel's performances included three firsts: It was the debut live rendition of "Turn the Lights Back On," his first release since 2007, and the performances marked his first time playing on the GRAMMYs stage in more than two decades. It was a fitting finale for a history-making show, one that beautifully celebrated icons of the past, present and future.

A Timeline Of Taylor Swift's GRAMMYs History, From Skipping Senior Prom To Setting A Record With 'Midnights'

Celine Dion performs in London's Hyde Park in July 2019.

Photo: Simone Joyner/Getty Images


Celine Dion's Biggest Songs: 15 Tracks That Showcase Her Unforgettably Powerful Voice

As Celine Dion's breakthrough album 'The Colour of My Love' turns 30, listen to 15 of the Canadian icon's most stunning performances, from "The Power of Love" to "Taking Chances."

GRAMMYs/Nov 9, 2023 - 07:24 pm

When Rolling Stone published their 200 Best Singers of All Time list at the top of the year, one thing became abundantly clear straight away: Celine Dion was robbed.

"Leaving her off ... has to be an honest and regrettable mistake… because doing it intentionally would be criminal," one fan wrote on Twitter. Another called the omission "borderline treasonous"; the decision even led to a small group of fans picketing the magazine's office.

While Rolling Stone had their reasons for the decision, there's no denying that Dion is one of music's all-time greats. Alongside fellow divas Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, she essentially shaped a generation of performers with her octave-spanning technique.

The Queen of Adult Contemporary (21 Top 10 hits and 11 No.1s on Billboard's AC chart) has also won everything from the Eurovision Song Contest to the Album of the Year GRAMMY during her decades-spanning career. Then there's the multiple blockbuster themes (she even recently appeared on the big screen herself), diamond certifications, and record-breaking Vegas residencies. And let's not forget the fact she's enjoyed unprecedented success with material in both English and her native French.

Dion has sadly been absent from the music scene since being diagnosed with the neurological disease known as stiff-person syndrome in 2022. But as her international breakthrough album, The Colour of My Love, turns 30 on Nov. 9, what better time to remind everyone of her remarkable back catalog?

From titanic ballads to Gallic rockers, here's a look at 15 songs that best encapsulate her talents.

"Where Does My Heart Beat Now?" Unison (1990)

Though Dion had enjoyed success in her Canadian homeland from the age of just 13, she had to wait until her early twenties to break stateside. The third single from her English-language debut Unison, "Where Does My Heart Beat Now?" became Dion's first U.S. Top 10 hit in the spring of 1991 and essentially set the template for her international chart career.

The track has all the makings of a Celine classic: Soft rock-tinged production, melodramatic lyrics, and the kind of powerhouse vocals that could shatter an entire mirror showroom. First performed during her victory lap at the Eurovision Song Contest, "Where Does My Heart Beat Now?" served as the perfect introduction to her talents on a global scale.

"The Power of Love," The Colour of My Love (1993)

"The Power of Love" had already charted three times over in the mid-1980s, with covers by Air Supply and Laura Branigan alongside Jennifer Rush's original all enjoying middling Billboard Hot 100 success. It was Dion's faithful 1994 rendition, however, that truly put the karaoke favorite into the American consciousness.

The GRAMMY-nominated single became the first of her four U.S. No. 1s and ultimately powered parent album The Colour of My Love to blockbuster sales of over 20 million copies, firmly establishing Dion as a global power ballad icon.

"Think Twice," The Colour of My Love (1994)

"Think Twice" barely made a ripple in the States (No. 97), but remains one of Dion's signature hits across the other side of the Atlantic. The song reigned for seven weeks on the Top 40 singles chart CHART, becoming one of the U.K.'s biggest-selling solo female songs of all time.

Co-written by Peter Sinfield, the founder of prog rock pioneers King Crimson, The Colour of My Love cut is something of a slow burner. But its lovelorn first third — with ghostly synths, occasional twangy guitars, and unusually restrained vocals — gradually builds up to a steamrolling finale, where Dion essentially battles with a soft rock wall of sound. It's all enjoyably overblown, with her speaker-blasting "NO NO NO NO" a particularly impressive feat in vocal histrionics.

"To Love You More," The Colour of My Love (1995)

"To Love You More" could be described as something of a nomad. It first appeared on the Japanese reissue of The Colour of My Love, then the Asian release of Falling Into You, and then finally the Stateside version of Let's Talk About Love.

The Colour of My Love can perhaps lay claim to being its true home — Dion specifically recorded the track for Japanese drama Koibito yo in 1995, while the synths and sweeping strings are provided by Tokyo-based outfit Kryzler and Kompany. But whichever album you hear "To Love You More" on, the soaring power ballad is sure to be a highlight, as it's arguably one of the most impassioned vocal performances of her career.

"Pour que tu m'aimes encore," D'eux (1995)

Dion had become such a sensation by the mid-1990s that even her French-sung material started to make waves in countries typically averse to the true language of love. Penned by one of Paris' most celebrated troubadours, Jean-Jacques Goldman, "Pour que tu m'aimes" remains the crowning glory in her native tongue.

Lifted from the record-breaking D'eux, the 1995 single allows Dion to show her more sensual side with an opening verse that harks back to the chansons of yesteryear. But even when the beats kick in, the star keeps things relatively calm and collected. "Pour que tu m'aimes encore" was given the English treatment on 1996's Falling Into You, but it's undeniably the original that remains the most magnifique.

"Because You Loved Me," Falling Into You (1996)

With two power-ballad titans at the helm — producer David Foster and songwriter Diane Warren — "Because You Loved Me" was perhaps always destined to become Dion's second U.S. chart-topper. Even more so considering it also served as the theme to Up, Close and Personal at a time when an intergenerational romantic drama could make $100 million at the box office.

Like most of Dion's biggest hits, this emotional tour-de-force starts small before reaching the kind of vocal crescendo you could imagine breaking the cinema speakers. Though "Because You Loved Me" didn't win any of the three awards for which it was nominated at the 1997 GRAMMYs, The song was undoubtedly instrumental in parent LP Falling Into You's wins for the Best Pop Album and the coveted Album Of The Year.

"It's All Coming Back To Me Now," Falling Into You (1996)

"Heathcliff digging up Cathy's corpse and dancing with it in the cold moonlight." That's how songwriter Jim Steinman vividly described the Wuthering Heights-inspired mini-rock opera that is "It's All Coming Back To Me Now." And its backstory is almost as dramatic.

Indeed, Steinman had to go to court to prevent the track falling into the hands of Meat Loaf, his regular collaborator who'd wanted it to be the centerpiece of Bat Out of Hell III. And it was offered to Bonnie Tyler, and then recorded by short-lived girl group Pandora's Box, before finally making its way to Dion in time for 1996's Falling Into You. As you'd expect, the Quebecer instantly puts her own stamp on the seven-minute Wagnerian epic Andrew Lloyd Webber hailed as the "greatest love song ever written."

"Tell Him," Let's Talk About Love (1997)

Having previously shared the mic with Billy Newton-Davis, Peabo Bryson, and Clive Griffin, Dion hit the duet jackpot in 1997 when she entered the studio with her musical idol. The French-Canadian had been a last-minute fill-in for the inimitable Barbra Streisand earlier that year at the Academy Awards, and her performance of The Mirror Has Two Faces' "I Finally Found Someone" was so impressive that Babs insisted on a collaboration. Dion certainly doesn't sound fazed, going toe to toe against the Broadway legend on a GRAMMY-nominated piece of romantic advice which, for fans of theatrical pop, is the diva dream.

"My Heart Will Go On," Let's Talk About Love (1997)

"My Heart Will Go On" is arguably just as pivotal to Titanic's monumental success (and endurance) as Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet's tear-jerking performances, the breathtaking special effects, and that age-old question, "Couldn't Jack just fit on the door?"

But like many of Dion's biggest hits, it had a tricky inception. James Cameron initially wanted the theme to be entirely instrumental. Norwegian soprano Sissel had been the first choice to lay the vocals once the director relented. And concerned at the number of soundtracks she'd previously graced, Dion needed some persuading to put herself in the frame.

Luckily, her trust in composer James Horner paid off. "My Heart Will Go On" not only won Best Original Song at the Academy Awards, it picked up both Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Record Of The Year at the GRAMMYs. And with nearly 500 million streams, it's by far her most-played track on Spotify, too.

"That's The Way It Is," All the Way… A Decade of Song (1999)

What's this? Celine Dion, the queen of uber-dramatic power ballads, taking on a breezy dance-pop anthem produced by the man who guided Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and *NSYNC to teenybopper dominance? The singer had occasionally flirted with the uptempo: see "Misled," "Treat Her Like A Lady," but "That's The Way It Is" was the first time she appeared to aim for the TRL crowd.

It's to her and producer Max Martin's credit that the lead single from retrospective All the Way is far from the bandwagon-jumping embarrassment you might expect. In fact, Dion sounds so at ease with such carefree, if still resolutely tasteful, material that you wish the pair had worked together more often.

"A New Day Has Come," A New Day Has Come (2002)

After a two-year break to welcome her first child with husband René Angélil, Dion returned in graceful style with a song dedicated to their son ("Where there was weakness I've found my strength/ All in the eyes of a boy"). The fact the star was now singing about maternal, instead of romantic, love is also reflected in how she keeps her usual vocal acrobatics at bay. The title track from 2002's A New Day Has Come isn't quite a lullaby, but its dreamy melodies, shuffling beats, and gentle acoustics provide the kind of calming backdrop that could sing anyone to sleep.

"Ne Bouge Pas," 1 Fille & 4 Types (2003)

Dion surprised everyone in 2003 when she joined forces with four veteran French singer/songwriters — including regular cohort Jean-Jacques Goldman — to form a short-lived supergroup that specialized in good, old-fashioned Gallic rock and roll. Fully committing herself to the project, the diva even rocked a spiky bleached blonde hairdo and sporty T-shirt for their album's front cover.

1 Fille & 4 Types (which translates as 1 girl & 4 guys) is packed with guitar-led ditties worlds away from Dion's usual polished sheen. But it's the stomping saloon sing-along of "Ne Bouge Pas" (which translates as "Don't Change") that best fits the back-to-basics brief.

"Taking Chances," Taking Chances (2007)

Following various French-language efforts, hits collections, and concept albums dedicated to the joys of babies, Dion rediscovered her adult contemporary pop mojo for 2007's Taking Chances. The title track — written by Eurythmics founder Dave Stewart and prolific hitmaker Kara DioGuardi for their meta side project Platinum Weird — is an uplifting soft rocker that eventually found its way to the French-Canadian who tackled it with her signature gusto.

"Taking Chances" the song is, remarkably, the last time Dion graced the Hot 100 (No. 54) on her own (2008's "The Prayer" was a duet with Josh Groban). But it proved she still had relevance nearly three decades into her international career.

"Loved Me Back to Life," Loved Me Back to Life (2013)

Dion proved that she still had one finger on the pop pulse in 2013 when she bagged a song from the era's most potent hitmaker. Arriving around the same time as Rihanna's "Diamonds," Ne-Yo's "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself)," and Beyoncé's "Pretty Hurts," "Loved Me Back to Life" was another example of how Sia's songwriting talents were as striking as her lampshade-styled hair.

While the song — the title track to Dion's 11th English-language studio effort — may have been in her power ballad wheelhouse, its flashes of dubstep and stuttering vocal hooks brought the superstar further to the cutting edge than ever before.

"Imperfections," Courage (2019)

The lead single from Dion's 27th studio effort, Courage, scored the icon her first Top 15 hit on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart in over a decade. But far from the traditional skyscraping ballads of her previous entries, "Imperfections" is a sleek, slickly-produced mid-tempo which showed that the French-Canadian didn't always need to belt things out to be emotionally affecting.

Beyond its chart and critical success, the tale of self-reflection ("I try to give all of myself to you/ But before I can get there/ I've got parts of me I'm trying to lose") was co-written by contemporary pop hitmakers Lauv, Michael Polachek and DallasK — proving that Dion’s voice is truly timeless.

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Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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Janelle Monae and dancers at 2023 Outside Lands
Janelle Monáe performs at the 2023 Outside Lands Festival

Photo: Steve Jennings/WireImage


7 Unforgettable Sets From Outside Lands 2023: Foo Fighters' Special Guests, Lana Del Rey's Return & A Superhero DJ Shaq

The 15th edition of San Francisco’s foggy summer festival brought the musical heat — and lots of wild surprises.

GRAMMYs/Aug 15, 2023 - 01:57 pm

On Aug. 11-13, Outside Lands returned to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park for the 15th time. The city's premiere multi-day music and food festival attracted approximately 75,000 daily attendees, and promoter Another Planet says that about half of the 225,000 ticket holders live outside the Bay Area. 

Though it takes place in the peak of summer, San Francisco in August is relatively cold and nicknamed "Fogust," which may have shocked any of the out of towners who showed up in shorts and barely-there tops.

The mild weather conditions meant that the true heat was left up to the performers  to generate, and the more than 90 acts happily delivered. Below, we recount seven of the sets that were worth braving the summer cold to witness.

Shaq Takes Day One Championship

Moonlighting as DJ Diesel, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal apologized for starting his incredibly surprising set a few minutes late.

"Sorry I’m late, I was just hanging with Steph Curry and Draymond Green," he said, name checking the Golden State Warriors’ star players. He laced his banter with basketball metaphors and later brought out Warriors guard Gary Payton II to play Queen’s "We Are The Champions" in the team’s honor.

After dropping jaws by firing up aggressively, atonal EDM beats, he invited the crush of fans to come up on stage and "party with Diesel" one at a time. His set veered from Guns N Roses to Imogen Heap and he has to be the first DJ to call for a "ladies only mosh pit" while playing Aqua’s "Barbie World." 

When he threw a young blonde boy on his shoulders and they both pumped their fists in unison, it was everything — and that’s how a superhero DJs.

Janelle Monáe Celebrates The Fam

With a towering stack of Jamaican sound system-styled speakers, giant beach balls, a towel-waisted band and swimsuited dancers, Janelle Monáe brought the sexy "Black Sugar Beach" and "Lipstick Lover" vibes of her new album The Age of Pleasure to the Lands End main stage, which she last graced in 2018. 

Monáe has since come out as nonbinary and greatly expanded her fanbase; at Outside Lands, she dedicated her performance to "my community, the LGBTQIA+ community," saying, "I love you so much. To be Black, to be queer, to be nonbinary, to evolve and to have family like you is a blessing."

Monáe’s natural charisma has only gotten sharper over time, and her dance moves are more infused with the quick steps of the Godfather of Soul James Brown and Prince. Her almost Rockettes-level line choreography with her dancers has leveled up as well.

This year’s Outside Lands also saw the debut of the LGBTQIA+-centric Dolores’ stage, which was powered all weekend by local party crews such as Hard French, Fake and Gay and Oasis. A highlight was Reparations, an all-Black drag show hosted by the incomparable Nicki Jizz, San Francisco’s serial Drag Queen of the Year (according to local publication 48 Hills) who wore a large penis hat that she claimed was true to her actual size. The most overtly queer-friendly edition of Outside Lands was something beautiful to continue and build on in the future.

Kendrick Lamar Brings The Friday Night Light

Last seen rapping to a small but rapturous crowd on a secondary stage at Outside Lands in 2015, Kendrick Lamar has grown immeasurably as a recording artist and live performer. Lamar commanded the Lands End stage, closing the festival’s first night with quietly assertive control and grace in a performance that felt like a rightful graduation. This veritable elder statesman slot has been previously held by major acts like Radiohead, Neil Young With Crazy Horse and Paul McCartney.

His 2022 album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers featured prominently in the 21-song set, which included leftfield covers of Pusha T’s "Nosetalgia" and The Weeknd’s "Sidewalks." But Lamar knows that people still want to yell their lungs out to earlier cuts like "Swimming Pools (Drank)," "Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe," "m.A.A.d city," "HUMBLE." and "Alright" and he obliged.

Lana Del Rey Swings Back To Twin Peaks

Flower crowns were all the rage when Lana Del Rey made her Outside Lands debut in 2016 at Twin Peaks, the festival’s second largest stage. A new generation has since discovered the singer’s outsize character and vibe, and as the gates opened on Saturday, giddy groups of teenage girls rushed to park themselves at the edge of that very same stage to catch Del Rey’s big return to Golden Gate Park.

This time, Del Rey’s set included a projection that said "God Bless You San Francisco" and a giant swing woven with flowers that flung her into the air while she sang. Her set spanned her classics, like "Video Games" from 2012’s Born To Die, current hits, such as the title track from this year’s album Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd., and a loving cover of Tammy Wynette’s 1968 country hit "Stand By Your Man." 

Though she’s revered as an almost otherworldly figure and was an angelic vision in white, Del Rey doesn’t act untouchable in 2023 — in fact, she literally came down and touched some of those fans who waited all day for her.

Foo Fighters Come Out Crooning

"We’ve gotta fit 28 years into two f—ing hours!" Dave Grohl explained early in the Foo Fighters' set. It was a towering goal that they tackled with consummate ease, reaching back to hits such as "Times Like These" and "The Pretender" and showing the continuum through to recent songs like "Rescue."

After playing a few choice riffs of "Enter Sandman," it would have been less of a surprise to see a member of two-time Outside Lands headliner (and Bay Area natives) Metallica join them on stage than who actually came out for a cameo. After flying in from Argentina, Michael Bublé initially pretended to be a regular audience member before going onstage to sing his hit "Haven’t Met You Yet." 

The Foo-Bublé connection is fun and surprising: New drummer Josh Freese has also played for the Canadian crooner, and "Haven’t Met You Yet" is part of a medley that the Foo Fighters are doing on tour that is comprised of other bands Freese has supported (including Devo’s "Whip It" and Nine Inch Nails’ "March of the Pigs").

Of course, the late drummer Taylor Hawkins will always be a prominent part of the Foo Fighters and their shows, and they played "Aurora" in his memory. As the park’s Polo Field lit up in violet-colored lights, Grohl’s 17-year-old daughter Violet Grohl also joined to sing three songs with her father, which he said was his absolute favorite thing in the world to do. 

"I’m sure I’m embarrassing her right now!" he said.

Gabriels Tributes Tina Turner

"We’re California boys, but this is our first time in San Francisco," shared Gabriels singer Jacob Lusk before turning the Sutro stage into the Church of Outside Lands, and instructing everyone to share some neighborly love.

The Los Angeles band has some meteoric fans: Elton John invited Lusk, whose early resume includes being a former "American Idol" contestant who was in a gospel group with the late Nate Dogg, to sing with him on stage at this year’s Glastonbury. Lusk’s incredible vocal range flexes from baritone to falsetto on a dime, and he frequently takes a step back from the microphone while singing, as if not to overwhelm it.

In a particularly touching moment, Gabriels performed Tina Turner’s "Private Dancer" while a montage of footage of Turner filled the screen.

Megan Thee Stallion Triumphs Over Tragedy

Fog flooded the park as a super snatched Megan Thee Stallion took to the stage in a hot Barbie pink outfit and long red hair, but she blazed through the haze with ground-sweeping twerking and saucy tracks like "Body," "Her," "WAP" and "Big Ole Freak." It was her first performance since Tory Lanez was sentenced to 10 years for shooting her, and she was feeling noticeably buoyant.

"F— all my haters!" she said in the middle of the set. "None of the s— you was doing or saying broke me." 

She received nothing but love from the crowd, and she was delighted by a big pocket of "boys" that she saw. Meg truly loves her "Hotties," and even stopped in between songs to sign someone’s graduation cap. A recent grad herself, she is proud of her fans who follow suit.

"Real college girl s—!" she exclaimed.

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