“It’s all about timing,” out singer-songwriter Jen Foster said, “and I think it’s really time to drive home the message of love and tolerance.” With several new projects lining up, if you are not familiar with Jen Foster (and you should be, she played Nashville Pride just last year), you’ll undoubtedly know her by year’s end.
Growing up in a conservative, Houston, Texas family, Foster’s sexuality was an impetus to writing. “It was challenging being a kid and realizing I was gay. I definitely got the vibe from my parents that this wasn’t okay. They put me right into therapy and wanted to hopefully change me. I was really sensitive to it and it really worked on me as a kid. Writing was the way I dealt with it.”
With her past in tow, Foster is reaching back for the new chapter ahead in her career. An unreleased song written about coming out to her parents, “This is Me,” is poised to take center stage not only as the audio centerpiece to Tapestry an exciting, new storytelling campaign, but also with an official audio and video release later this summer as well.
Foster has always known the power of “This is Me.” She shared the story of time, when performing at a house party, she encouraged those listening to share their coming out stories. “We went around the circle and there was laughing, there was crying, there were memories that brought up emotions that would spark a story for someone else. It was like a gay A.A. meeting for those telling their coming out stories. Then I played that song and it was just a powerful experience to have everyone engaged on that one topic.”
From a house party to the hub of the nation, Foster’s partnership with Tapestry’s Otessa Ghadar, whose wildly successful web series Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden has been recognized by the HRC for its contributions to the GLBT community, is just the first step in delivering her message to a larger audience.
In early June, the Tapestry project was on hand in Washington, D.C. for the Capital Pride Parade interviewing influential members of the GLBT community for the interactive media campaign. The project is set to not only allow a forum for GLBT youth to connect and tell their stories but will also focus on minorities, women and more.
And that is not all Foster has coming up. She’s also reaching back into her catalog to a song that has touched many fans’ lives and giving it new life.
“[‘She’] is a song that keeps coming back,” Foster shared. “I get letters from all over the world, women that have hired me to come play at their commitment ceremonies, their wedding ceremonies—depending on where they are—or a lot of times they’ll play it for their wedding song. So it occurred to me to do a dance remix of it.”
Remixed by Eve Nelson, whose latest work includes Donna Summer and Chaka Kahn, Foster is excitedly in the initial stages of partnering with another GLBT rights organization for the song’s release.
While fans have long loved what Foster refers to as the “ballad version,” she admittedly favors the dance remix. “The song lends itself to being an upbeat song,” Foster said.
While fans await the release of both of these projects, they should check out Foster’s 2012 EP You Stayed. Working with famed Nashville singer-songwriter Jeffery Steele (LeAnn Rimes, Rascal Flatts and Tim McGraw) on the title track, Foster described the experience as “intense and amazing.”
Having lived in Music City for close to 13 years, Foster is experiencing a “new era” not only in her career but also with acceptance in the Nashville music scene. “It’s been an ebb and a flow honestly. There are pockets of Nashville that are very conservative. In some ways I feel very comfortable in this environment because I am used to being around very conservative people. It’s familiar to me but I find that Nashville has come a long way since I’ve been here. It’s opening up.”
In her career, Foster pointed to not only being one of a handful of women on the board of the Nashville Songwriter’s Association Board as a part of Nashville’s progress but also Nashville’s progression in accepting sexuality.
“When I first moved I knew writers that couldn’t be out of the closet and told me ‘you shouldn’t be out of the closet either’ and now they’re out of the closet. So I’ve definitely seen a lot of growth.”
How does Foster do it all? After years of doing everything herself, Foster has assembled a small team to help with branding and publicity that is helping bring about this “new era” in her career. “I feel like we’re jumping into this new stratosphere and [everyone] is instrumental in that.”
Foster is shooting for the stars and whether she knows it or not, she already is one and we are all along for the ride.
Get more information about Jen Foster at her website, ‘like’ her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.
Also visit the Tapestry Project online