DeeDee Foster, an American singer and songwriter, chats with Kevin Cooper about touring with Anastacia, working with Boy George and Culture Club, her ambition to record with Sting and the release of her debut album, The Light.

DeeDee Foster is an American singer and songwriter who was born in Cincinnati to a musical family. She later moved to Los Angeles in order to pursue a singing career. With her unique indie sound and powerful vocal range, she has since managed to successfully build a career as a solo artist and professional backing vocalist.

She has toured the world sharing the stage with many household names, such as Anastacia, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder and more recently, Boy George and Culture Club.

Her successful solo project was when she produced and co-wrote The DeeDee Foster E.P. and she has been working hard on the release of her album, The Light.

Whilst busy preparing for the launch of The Light, she took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper, and this is what she had to say.

Hi DeeDee how are you today?

Good morning Kevin I’m fine thanks. How are you today?

I’m very well thank you and let me firstly thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.

No thank you for being interested in what it is that I am doing, I really do appreciate it.

And just how is life treating you at the moment?

Everything is going really well thank you for asking.

Are you getting excited about getting the album out there to the public?

Yes I am, I am very excited and there seems to be some really positive interest in what I am doing from over there in the UK.

So what can you tell me about the album?

(Laughter) well I think that the album is really cool but then again I would say that because I have been involved with the writing of the songs that are on the album (laughter). After listening to the album a few times I began thinking to myself ‘hey, this is really cool, I really do like it’ (laughter). The album gives you what I would call classic DeeDee which is really fun music, enlightening and ecliptic music this time. I have delved into different genres and I am really excited about doing that. There are some ballads on there, a few of the songs have a gospel flavour together with a little soul and of course a few rock numbers. The album could be regarded as being rather alternative which makes me really excited at just what this record has to offer. Believe me it really is rather cool.

You mention writing, have you written or co-written all of the songs on the album?

Yes I have. I tried to get as many different co-writers as I could for each of the songs on the album. That way I could almost guarantee getting a different sound or at least a different take on something as opposed to me simply writing everything myself. But yes I most definitely co-wrote every song on the record.

I have to say that I love the single Go That Way, I can’t stop playing it.

I am so happy that you like it, thank you so much. It’s such a fun song and I love the message contained within it. It is when someone tells me that they love one of my songs that I then get inspired. It makes me smile and that is what it is all about for me.

Were you pleased with how well the single was received?

I was and it is so funny because whenever you write a song there is never any way of telling just how the people are going to react to it. But with Go That Way I have received so many warm and wonderful comments from my fans telling me just how much they really do appreciate the song. Everybody is receiving it so well and I am really excited about just how well it is being received.

You have worked with PledgeMusic on this your second album. How was that for you, was it a nice fit?

To be honest with you I found it to be very challenging. My manager put it all together and spearheaded the whole project which let me tell you was a huge undertaking to say the least. I think that what PledgeMusic offers is great as it gets the fans involved and they really do feel like they are a part of it. It was kind of cool and I am really glad that we chose PledgeMusic this time around. It was very interesting and challenging but well worth it I am sure.

So is working with PledgeMusic something that you would consider doing again?

Me personally, no (laughter). The problem for me was that it was so time consuming. I also feel that being an independent artist I really do need a structured team around me and not having that was very hard, very frustrating and very challenging for me. I also had a problem with the campaign because it really did make me feel like I was begging. So for me it was very interesting but it is not something that I will be doing again.

How did you get started in music?

Fortunately I got born into this stuff (laughter). Sometimes it really does happen that way. My mom was a singer songwriter so I grew up with a piano in the living room. She actually wrote a few songs for Gladys Knight a while ago now. My dad, Sandy Foster Jnr is the lead singer in a very popular quartet style gospel group here in the USA called The Five Blind Boys Of Jackson Mississippi. Dad has sung and recorded with them for years so as you can see music has always been a large part of my life. I majored in music at college studying classical voice and after college I move to Los Angeles and decided that I wanted to pursue a career in music professionally. I took the decision to try out as a backing singer and that is what I have been doing for many years now.

Did you have a plan B?

(Laughter) well I did have a plan B but like millions of other people you never really want plan B to happen. You have it but you never actually want it to happen (laughter). However, I do try to keep my teaching credential current just in case I ever do need it (laughter). I really do not want to be a full time teacher. Singing is most definitely what I want to do.

You have mentioned being a backing singer. You have toured the world sharing the stage with many household names, including Anastacia, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera, Stevie Wonder and more recently Boy George and Culture Club. Putting you on the spot who has given you the most pleasure?

That’s easy, it would have to be Boy George and Culture Club. I kept thinking to myself this cannot be happening but it was and I really did have so much fun with those guys. I sometimes wonder if I enjoyed it so much because it was the first time that I had sung with a band per se. They treat the backing band who are backing them as part of the family so for me to be a part of that was really enjoyable. And of course you have to remember that Boy George is hilarious (laughter). His laugh is so very infectious, he really is hilarious. I had a lot of fun with him, I really did.

Who were you listening to when you were growing up?

My mum would always be listening to a lot of old school music, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, to name but a few. So growing up I would be constantly listening to all of those guys. Then when I got a little older I would be listening to Whitney Houston and Maria Carey; I thought that they both really were amazing singers.

Who has musically inspired you along the way?

I like to think that I have taken bits and pieces from everywhere. I think that I got a lot of inspiration from gospel music, it is really cool and I really do like it. I think that a lot of singers who do what you would call the vocal acrobatics have also inspired me. I like The Clark Sisters who are an American gospel group; I tend to listen to them a lot. They are pretty amazing. And then along the way in an attempt to develop my vocal style I think that I was influenced by Sheryl Crow, India Irie and Sade, people like that kind of inspired me to get the sound that I have today. Those artists have influenced me along the way to develop into the artist that I am today. I listen to their songs together with their song writing and that has inspired me.

If I had to push you what would you say has been the highlight of your career so far?

Well I have to say that there have been lots of pretty amazing events along the way. I have sung with a lot of amazing people but as a backing singer I guess that I can say that the highlight of my career so far has been working with Anastacia. I have toured with her extensively and it was really great being over in Europe quite a lot. The European fans were so amazing, they really did embrace me. That was one of the highlights of my career, just being a part of that family. So I think that working with Anastacia has been one of the most amazing things that has influenced my career, because her fans are the ones that have encouraged me to do this new record.

They have been there for me consistently, they will hit me on Facebook, and all other means of social media and say “we are waiting, we really do want new music” (laughter). So basically I think that by being associated with Anastacia and working with her, touring with her and developing my own fan base has been one of the most amazing things in my career. I love Anastacia, she is amazing and I was with her for a very long time early in my career. It was amazing being able to work with her, to see how things happen, how she grew with it, it really was an amazing experience for sure.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?

That’s easy, I hope that in five years’ time I am continuing to sing as I am doing currently. I want to solely be able to do my music and tour for myself as opposed to being on a background tour making a couple of dollars (laughter). I would definitely like to be able to make a living, sing my own music, write for other artists, write with other people, develop young artists, discovering young talent, I would definitely love to do that. I would love to be into my career on a full time basis and be able to spend time with my family, which is totally what I want to do.

You say that you would like to write for other artists. What style would you like to write in?

Fortunately I have written in all different genres but I usually find myself writing what you would most probably call pop tunes. However, I think that I would love to write a few rock tunes together with alternative pop.

When you are writing what comes first, the lyrics or the melody?

It depends upon who I am writing with, but I think that my forte is most probably the melody because that usually comes first with me anytime. So it’s most definitely the melody I guess. However, you will sometimes meet a producer and they will have a track which they feel will compliment you or it sounds similar to the type of music that you are currently making. Fortunately I have a sound which producers know, which is kind of cool. They are always telling me “listen to this track because it has that DeeDee sound” (laughter).

Are you constantly writing?

Yes I am, I am always on the go. It’s funny because I was recently looking through boxes in my garage and I found one of my old note books that was literally full of lyrics (laughter). Most songwriters write down little things about everyday events that happen to them or what they have observed. These books are full of ideas and concepts but are a dying art because now we have mobile phones, small recording devices and the capability to record voice memos. I literally have hundreds of ideas for new songs on the desktop of my computer (laughter).

If you could have written one song in the entire world, which song would it have been?

That would have to be Emotions by The Bee Gees. I love that song; there is just something about it that makes me feel so good. I love The Bee Gees, they really are so amazing.

If you could record with any one artist, who would it be?

I would love to be in a position to record with Boy George and Culture Club because I simply love those guys and who knows, perhaps one day I may even get to record with Anastacia. However, I have to say that I think that to record with Sting would be the ultimate. If I could do a song with him then I will be happy.

What was the first record that you bought?

Wow, I’m pretty sure that it was a record by Mariah Carey. Thinking about it I am pretty sure that it was Vision Of Love.

Who did you first see performing live in concert?

I was lucky with my first live gig because my brother took me to see Prince. He was a big Prince fan and he always told me that you have to go to see Prince. And so my mom let him take me to see a Prince concert.

What was the last song or piece of music that made you cry?

Actually it was a while ago now but I was driving across country not really knowing where I was, going through the stations on the radio and I came across a song by Oleta Adams called I Just Had To Hear Your Voice. The song was telling a story and I remember listening to it, and yes it made me cry.

DeeDee on that note let me once again thank you for talking the time to speak to me, it’s been a pleasure. You take care.

Thank you so much Kevin and I hope that I will get the chance to meet you sometime in the future. Have a good day and bye for now.