Entertainment Local

Newfoundland musician drawing on several influences to create his sound

By Susan Doolan, Special to Postmedia Network

Ian Foster will perform at Utopia Hall on Thursday, May 25.  CHRIS LEDREW/PHOTO

Ian Foster will perform at Utopia Hall on Thursday, May 25. CHRIS LEDREW/PHOTO

Darn that Ian Foster and his film-making skills.

His first foray into directing a music video for his new album draws you in and leaves you wanting more. What is at the end of that red ribbon behind the door of a multi-roomed character-driven house that seems to go on forever?

He laughed, but won’t elaborate.

Leaving the ending up to the imagination was exactly what he wanted to do.

It’s the storyteller in him, whether he’s creating his own music, producing albums for other artists, or making short films. His last one, Keystone, was called one of the top 10 short films of the year by the Calgary International Film Festival.

“I enjoy the variety,” said Foster, who is based in Newfoundland.

Music is at the centre of all of his activities and it is the reason he is back in the Barrie area.

Foster is touring in support of his newest album Sleeper Years, which was released earlier this month. He plays the Utopia Hall on Thursday, May 25.

“It was a good time last year, got a nice response from the audience, including a few people who saw me in Midland,” he said in reference to his earlier work with kids through the Stellula Music in Schools program; he also performed with them in the evenings.

It’s been three years since Foster released his last album, a multi-music Newfoundland award nominated record called The Great Wave.

In between, he did more film work and produced records for other artists and all of it influenced Sleeper Years, his seventh album. Five were solo singer-songwriter records and two were band-centred.

“The idea of Sleeper Years (is) looking back on a certain period (and thinking) ‘wow, I had no idea that was leading me in a particular direction’,” he said, adding that it could be any period in time throughout life. “The songs are pretty broad themes and many are inspired by a good story although not all songs are story songs.”

Some can be inspired by a conversation or people he sees, often while travelling. He says touring helps in the cycle of writing. Even though he’s out of his comfort zone, he enjoys exploring new places and meeting new people.

He’s been into music from the time he was a child. At the age of 10, he walked into a Radio Shack store in the mall and started playing the keyboard until they told him to stop.

Still, he took a somewhat circuitous route to it because he was very shy growing up. He took 10 years of piano lessons, some voice lessons and learned the basics of guitar from a high-school credit program.

In university, he did a degree in history and English, and was thinking going into journalism, until he realized at the school newspaper he was involved in, he assigned out all the topics except music stories, which he kept for himself.

Even the term papers he wrote, all of it was about music.

“I was nervous about taking the step. For me it was huge, zero to 60,” said Foster, who began performing near the end of his university years at open mics and he continued to learn about music and cut some demos. “I wanted to focus on original music. I felt if I was going to go for it I might as well do it.”

Since then he’s changed genres; his first record was rock and he has moved into modern folk. It aligns more to the stories he tells through his music and at his live shows. His music encompasses a lot of different influences, including film soundscapes.

The first music video he directed was for his first single, Feels Like It Wants To Rain. See it at ianfoster.ca.

He is planning on releasing videos for the majority of songs on the new album but he is planning on having a different director for each one.

Foster plays the Utopia Hall, 8396 6th Line, Utopia, May 25. There is a dinner buffet at 7 p.m. The concert starts at 8 p.m.

Advance tickets are $25 until May 23 available at www.utopiahall.ca or call 1-877-499-4255.

Tickets at the door are $30. 

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