There are few Canadian producers more decorated than David Foster. And as of this weekend, David can add a very key JUNO to his awards collection. The Golden Globe and 16-time Grammy Award winner was given the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award at the JUNO Awards by a Canadian who has a pile of his own trophies at home: Michael Bublé.
Michael appeared at the Saturday gala – which was not televised – to hand David the prize, which recognizes important philanthrophic work done by Canadians in the music industry. He surprised the London, Ont. audience when he came out on stage to introduce David, who he said is “a man whose heart is as big as the sun.”
“He has inspired me to be a better man and embrace the importance of giving back however I can,” Michael said, according to The Canadian Press.
Michael and David have known each other since 2000, when they met at the wedding of Caroline Mulroney, former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney’s daughter. Brian had been given a copy of one of Michael’s recordings by one of his aides, and invited Michael to sing at the ceremony.
While David was initially reluctant to sign Michael, saying he wasn’t sure how to market his music, Michael won him over. David produced Michael’s self-titled album, which was released in 2003, and later went on to helm the boards for five more of Michael’s LPs, including 2018’s Love (stylized with a heart emoji).
In an exclusive interview with HELLO! Canada in 2018, Michael called David “the greatest living musician in the world.” He went on to say: “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone in my life who exudes that kind of experience and greatness and musicality. And more than that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more generous human being with young talent, with kids who are looking for support and in an environment where they can learn. He’s just a really beautiful human being that way.
“So it’s just always an honour [to work with him],” Michael continued. “I wrote him yesterday and I just told him how much he means to me and how proud I am. And I tell him all the time that it doesn’t matter what the record sells, it doesn’t matter what numbers or things like that, what matters is that he helped me to make the record of my dreams. And as a producer that’s the greatest thing that you can do, is to love an artist and to try to help them make their vision into reality. And there is no one in the world like David Foster.”
David’s most well-known humanitarian work dates back to 1986, when he met a girl needing a liver transplant who had incurred non-medical expenses related to her hospitalization and decided to help out, according to CBC News . This experience led to him creating the David Foster Foundation. The charity’s website says it has since helped 1,100 families of children who have needed organ transplants.
David’s philanthropy dates back even further, though. In 1985, he produced the song “Tears are Not Enough,” which featured a veritable cornucopia of Canadian stars such as Gordon Lightfoot, Burton Cummings , Anne Murray, Joni Mitchell, Dan Hill, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Corey Hart, Bruce Cockburn and Geddy Lee of Rush, among others. The track was featured on We Are the World, which raised money for Ethiopian famine relief, and all the musicians were credited as Northern Lights.
As for Michael, he picked up his fourteenth JUNO Award on Saturday night when Love won Adult Contemporary Album of the Year.