David Foster hopes to find the next singing superstar in Asia

Karen Valeza
Composer David Foster arrives at the 2014 Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar Party in West Hollywood, California March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES TAGS: ENTERTAINMENT) (OSCARS-PARTIES)

Grammy award winning music producer David Foster, who has launched the careers and produced music for international singers such as Celine Dion, Michael Buble, Josh Groban and Whitney Houston hopes to find the next superstar in Asia.

He also discovered and guided Charice Pempengco during the early stages of her career.

 It was easy for David to  be one of the coaches in AXN’s “Asia’s Got Talent,” billed as “the biggest talent competition in the world,” because he likes discovering new talents.


Tough competition

“I have arrived at a 'yes' very quickly because I’ve always been reinventing myself and not staying stagnant in one place for too long. I like the challenge of discovering the next superstar. I’ve said so many years now that I think we can get the next superstar in Asia,” David said in a phone interview with the press.

While the Philippines is known for great singers, David revealed that competition is tough because other countries have many talented performers as well.

David added that the hundreds of acts who made it to the auditions are diverse.

“You know that the Philippines is very famous for singers, right? But we have some great singers from a lot of countries as well, like India, Mongolia. It wasn’t just the Philippines who have good singers but I think there was a great selection from each country. They auditioned thousands of acts before we saw the finals, hundreds of acts in those 14 days. By the time those hundreds got to us, they were very diversified, very spread out.”


Challenging job

David admits judging different talents is very challenging for a musician like him. He is thankful to fellow coach and former F4 member Vanness Wu for giving him tips on judging dance acts.

Other coaches are former Spice Girls member Melanie C. and Indonesian icon Anggun.

“As you know, judging a singer is my expertise. I really have to be in a fast-learning curve, in terms of the dancers. One of my co-coaches is a great dancer and gave me a quick lesson in educating me on the difference between good and great dancing. On other acts, like traditional talents, local acts, I have to decide very quickly on world-class talents. It was a very difficult challenge to navigate. But as the days went on, we got more comfortable on learning what is good and great.”

What kind of judge will he be?

“Hopefully I'm not like Mariah Carey, although she’s very knowledgeable,” David replied.


Adjusting his style

Judging Asian talents made David adjust the way he expresses his opinion.

“I can be quite honest and maybe a little bit like Simon. Simon is totally unique and there’s nobody like Simon Cowell. Nobody can equal him. But I try to be honest, truthful and strict. But in Asian culture, which is not as accepting of direct criticisms as maybe Americans are, I think I’m coming a little bit softer than when I guested on American Idol.”

David describes the qualities he is looking for in a contestant.

“We’re not just talking about singers. In the singing category, the qualities have to be they have to be a great singer and they must have a great stage presence. They should make me want to listen to them. As for other acts, I just want to be impressed by the way anybody would be impressed. If you pay a hundred dollars to go see a show in Vegas, you know when the show is good or bad. I don’t mean just singing, but acrobats, circus acts, dancing acts, you know what’s good or if you got your hundred dollars worth or not. The same is true here, most of the acts we saw here, we knew whether they’re good or not. We saw some spectacular dancers and acrobats which I probably haven’t seen before.”

What does he advise those who want to make it big in the industry?

“My answer to that is if you wanna make it big, you really should never ask that question (advice) because you cannot put it into words. It’s like Nike, you just do it. I don’t have any advice for you because you have to figure it out on your own,” David replied.