Working on Plan A
Sometimes finding a calling means leaving behind the fallback plan
After over five decades on this spinning planet, and being an introspective person, I do spend the odd time marveling at the twists and turns life takes. While it can all appear to be random at time, it you peer closely enough at any past event you will see that whatever spot you’re sitting in at any particular moment, you wound up there due to some decision you made even if, at the time, you didn’t know where it would lead.
When I spoke to singer-songwriter Ian Foster recently, I learned that unlike many of us, he carefully considered his pathway in life at a very early age.
After graduating from MUN with an English degree, journalism was the next choice. From early on in his education he was on track to move into that career. Still in his early 20s, he paused and took a hard look at his options and decided that it wasn’t what he wanted to do.
He says it felt like he was doing the “fallback plan” and he realized that everything he was doing in his journalism focused on music.
So instead of the path he’d intended, he started doing open mics.
“I would go into the Radio Shack at the Avalon Mall and play all the keyboards until they kicked me out,” he said of his childhood.
Then one Christmas his parents gave him one of those keyboards. Foster was enamoured and taught himself the songs in the manual. His parents saw his interest and got him into lessons.
“My whole world, did not look like music and I kind of had to insert myself into it,” he said. “Looking back over the 15 years, I think about the number of friends of mine and it’s never a straight line for anybody no matter what career they go into.” Creativity never gets easy, he says. “It’s a moving target forever and that’s part of the frustration and part of the elation.”
The Christmas album is a collaborative effort with singer Nancy Hynes called “A Week in December”.
“Sitting down and actively working on these old songs, you get the full experience, you discover it’s a great story with a great lyric,” he said. “It reminds you why they’ve lasted.”
In addition to well-loved Christmas songs, there are two originals penned by Foster during the process of making the record.
It’s probably a tad cliche to quote Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”, but the line I love is “And both that morning equally lay/In leaves no step had trodden black.”
It indicates to me that whatever choice before you, all the avenues are of equal value but that you must take the one that you’re called, by your heart, to travel and that this is what makes “all the difference.”
Ian Foster and Nancy Hynes’ album is available now and they’ll be touring the province beginning Nov. 25. More information about the tour can be found at www. ianfoster.ca
A full interview with Ian Foster will air on the Bridges Radio program available on podcasts on all major platforms and at https://www.spreaker.com/show/bridgesradios-show