Singer Danny Foster rose to fame in 2001, when he appeared on landmark reality singing programme Popstars. After impressing the judges, he was selected to be in the pop group Hear’say, Britain’s first ever reality music combo. The band’s debut single broke records for the fastest selling single of all time and resulted in a number 1 album too. After the band split, Danny has been performing as part of his own live act, Danny Foster & The Big Soul Corporation. The act consists of live performances of mainly Motown and Soul covers, with Foster performing as lead singer of the group.
Harry Harland got the chance to catch up with Danny and lay down a few truths, pure and simple, for our readers.
1. When you won Popstars, did you realise how popular the reality band format would prove to be?
I think the major success of Hear’say and Popstars was a welcomed surprise for all of us including Granada / ITV and Universal Music. There was a feeling that we were all working on something new, format wise, but the record breaking success surpassed all expectation.
2. Have you watched any of the subsequent series of reality shows like X Factor? Who is your favourite artist that they have produced?
I do watch TV talent shows like the X’factor but I mainly catch up at the Live shows stage rather than the audition stages. I find the “bad” auditions really uncomfortable to watch, when the singer thinks she is Mariah Carey but the audience hear different and completely boo the act off stage! I just can’t watch!
My favourite artist from the shows would be Leona Lewis because we both grew up in the same area ( Hackney, London).
3. Do you see Cheryl Cole performing at the Jubilee concert, Will Young playing Glastonbury or Leona Lewis doing the Olympics and think “That could have been me”?
That’s not really something that would enter my mind to be honest. It’s not the way I work. I think every person has their own goals that they want to achieve in their career. I was lucky enough to achieve most of my goals by the time I was 25 so everything I do now are all bonuses.
I have always been extremely grateful for all the career milestones I have made so I am pleased when I see others achieving theirs.
4. Did anyone in Hear’Say ever attempt to write songs for the band? Did any get recorded?
We all co – wrote for both albums and the tracks made both albums which was a great achievement for the group.
We were all great pals back then and still stay in touch. I had lunch with Kym last week and chatted to suzanne on the phone yesterday.
6. Did anyone in the band get a bit too big for their boots?
We were Popstars! of course! – Everyone had their moments.
7. Was there a genuine rivalry with Liberty X? Do you think you won that “battle”?
We all auditioned for the show to make the final group so I do think we won the battle. We “won” Popstars and we also secured the major TV and record deal that came with that but to be honest, there was never any rivalry between us, in fact, we all won in the end because we all came from nothing and both groups had careers. That doesn’t always happen now.
8. Are you glad that you appear to have done your own thing since Hear’Say, rather than clinging onto fame through programmes like I’m a celebrity, etc?
I really enjoy making and watching TV shows. I’m a great fan of TV entertainment but my real passion is music and singing, it always has been.
I auditioned for Popstars because it was a music based project. I now perform with my live band Danny Foster & The Big Soul Corporation and LOVE IT! but I also enjoy the TV appearances I do make so don’t rule out that – one day I may be skating on ice, in the jungle while laughing at Bruce Forsyth’s old skool jokes!!
9. You sold three million records, how much of the royalties trickled down to the band members?
Let’s say; I was very happy with my share.
10. What’s the weirdest piece of fan mail that you have been sent?
I once received a very passionate and detailed love letter from a fan’s mum. I think it was safe to say she was a fan too….
I also once received a letter through the post and the envelope just read ”Danny from hearsay” with a stamp attached, nothing else ( I remember thinking Royal Mail – What an amazing sevice!)
11. Your tourbus once got held up by a man armed with a gun. What were his demands?
It was a legal matter so I wont go into details but it was definitely an education for me on the “flip side” of fame.
12. Were you ever tempted/approached to do Eurovision?
13. You’re currently touring with Danny Foster & The Big Soul Corporation, singing Motown covers. Is this more the sort of music that you enjoy singing? What are your favorite tunes to sing?
I have always listen to Soul and Motown, it was played in my house when I was growing up so my vocal style is heavily influenced by that genre.
After singing with a Live band on the Hear’say Arena Tour, I knew working with a Live band was what I loved doing.
Danny Foster and The Big Soul Corporation started out as a hobby and developed from there really. I now work with anything from a 9 piece to a 13 piece band and sing Soul to people who love to have a good time. I love performing songs by Earth, Wind and Fire because our Horn section is fantastic and you really hear the scope of the band. Old classics such as Dock of the bay (Otis Redding), It’s a Man’s world ( James Brown) and Land of1000 dances ( Wilson Pickett) are always a treat to perform because these songs are timeless.
I am also developing Danny Foster & The Big Soul Corporation by working on original material with a classic old skool – pop – soul feel. It is very exciting!
14. Is a Hear’Say reunion on the cards?
I think we are all very happy on our own individual paths so there are definitely no plans whatsoever to reform.
Funnily enough, I worked with Faye Tozer (from Steps) 18 months ago and we both had this same conversation. 18 months later – look at Steps and what they have achieved by reforming – The moral of the story: Never say Never.
15. Where would you rank Hear’Say against the other Popstars creations: Liberty X, Girls Aloud, One True Voice… And the Cheeky Girls?
No 1. of course, as we were the first and started The Reality Revolution.
Danny passes on his best wishes to all our readers and Trivial Pursuits would like to thank him for participating in the questionnaire. Danny is touring with The Big Soul Corporation at the moment, find out more here: www.dannyfosteronline.com