Alex Henry Foster

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alex Henry Foster
Ahf windowsinthesky office.jpg
Background information
BornMontreal, Quebec, Canada
Occupation(s)Singer, musician, writer
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar
LabelsHopeful TragedySony Music / The Orchard

Alex Henry Foster is a Canadian artist, singer, musician, writer and activist, best known for being the singer and frontman of the Montreal band Your Favorite Enemies.[1] The band was founded in 2006 and nominated for a Juno Award for their album Between Illness and Migration in 2015.[2] In 2018, Foster announced the release of a first solo project, Windows in the Sky, through Hopeful Tragedy Records and Sony Music / The Orchard. His first solo album reached number 6 on the Billboard Canadian Albums Chart[3] on the second week of its release.[4] Alex Henry Foster was nominated at ADISQ for the first time in 2019 with his first solo effort "Windows in the Sky" for Anglophone album of the year.[5]

In 2020, Alex Henry Foster and his band The Long Shadows went on their first tour, alongside ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, playing concerts all across Europe.

On May 1, 2020, his first solo record entitled Windows in the Sky was released worldwide, with the launching event taking place on the online portal of Prog, through the broadcast of a 60-minute concert, live from Alex Henry Foster's studio established in a former Catholic church near Montreal city.[6] He was also interviewed by Rolling Stone France upon his album release and was featured on the front page of the magazine.[7]

On April 16, 2021, he released his first live album, Standing Under Bright Lights, taken from his live performance at the 40th Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. His sold-out concert was one of the most anticipated and successful shows of the festival.[8] The album was given a 4.5/5 stars review by Le Devoir[9] and 5/5 star reviews and got acclaimed in worldwide press coverage.[10]

The week following its release, it made its Australian charts debut at No. 6 on the ARIA Top 50 Albums charts[11] and reached the 4th position of the "Top 20" of UK's Official Independent Album Breakers Chart,[12] No. 13 in the "Top 50" of the Official Independent Albums Chart,[13] and No. 32 in the Top 100 "Official Albums Sales Chart".[14]

The live album charted at No. 4 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart,[15] No. 18 in the Emerging Artists chart[16] No. 31 in the Current Album Sales chart[17] and No. 55 of the Album Sales chart,[18] with FYI Music news confirming that the album scored the highest album sales for the week.[19] In the week of April 30, 2021 to May 6, 2021, it made its entry in the Irish Albums Chart at No. 17 of the Top 50[20] and was the most downloaded album of the week.[21]

In August 2021, Foster became the owner of the Moroccan boutique hotel "La Maison de Tanger", an oasis in the heart of the old city of Tangier and sought for by an international clientele for more than two decades.[22]

On September 22, 2021, his live album "Standing Under Bright Lights" received an ADISQ nomination in the category "Sound Engineer of the Year", rewarding Ben Lemelin's work, Foster's longtime creative partner.[23]

Career[edit]

Foster was born in Montreal, Canada and moved around Montreal and its suburbs during his childhood.[24] After graduating from l'Université de Montréal as a social worker, he met Sef Lemelin with whom, along with Ben Lemelin and Miss Isabel, he started a band called The Riddlers, which became Your Favorite Enemies after Jeff Beaulieu and Charles "Moose" Allicie officially joined.[25]

Foster co-founded the record label Hopeful Tragedy Records which set their studios and headquarters in a former Catholic church in Drummondville, Quebec in 2009.[26] The facilities host music and multimedia studios, as well as The Fabrik, a creative group with spaces and equipments to screen-print, craft merchandising and press & cut vinyls on site.[27]

Following the loss of his father, Foster decided to leave for Tangier, Morocco in 2016, where he spent two years working on what has become his debut album Windows in the Sky, launching his solo career.[28] His entire band joined him to work on new musical projects, setting a professional music studio in the heart of Tangier.[29][30] He released Windows in the Sky on November 9, 2018, which was premiered in Tokyo, Japan, prior to its release.

In 2017, Foster released the book A Journey Beyond Ourselves, revisiting the story behind the making of Your Favorite Enemies' album "Tokyo Sessions".[31]

In 2018, Alex Henry Foster released his first solo album Windows in the Sky in Canada. It reached and remained at the top of the charts[32] for multiple weeks after its release.[33] In July 2019, he performed live for the first time as a solo act at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, and his album Windows in the Sky was nominated for "Anglophone Album of the Year" at ADISQ in the fall of the same year.[34]

In 2020, Alex Henry Foster and his band members "The Long Shadows" toured across Europe with ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, to critical acclaim.[35][36][37]

In January 2020, he released an EP and lyric video for the song "Summertime Departures", followed by the release of a videoclip featuring his live performance at his first ever concert at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal in front of a sold out venue. In March 2020, he released the EP for the song "The Hunter (By the Seaside Window)" as well as a short film for the 15-minute song made in collaboration with French producer and friend Jessie Nottola, who also worked with Tinariwen, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Arthur H. This short film, in the likes of David Lynch, was filmed near Montreal, Canada and got more than 150,000 views on YouTube a few days after its release.[38]

On May 1, 2020, his album Windows in the Sky was released worldwide through a live concert from his studio-church broadcast on the online portal of the British Prog. It was preceded by the broadcast of a live rehearsal of Alex Henry Foster's band via ADISQ's portal, which had nominated his album in the category "Album of the Year - Anglophone" in 2019.[39]

On June 9, 2020, Alex and his bandmates broadcast a live performance of the song "Lavender Sky" from their studio-church, and cut it on vinyl, turning it into their first direct-to-vinyl creation, crafted in-house, in their own creative atelier.[40][41]

On June 26, 2020, Alex Henry Foster released a music video for the 4th single from his solo record Windows in the Sky, which was filmed in Iceland. The clip for the song "Lavender Sky" was premiered and acclaimed by BrooklynVegan:[42]

The video itself is no less cinematic, having been gorgeously filmed in Iceland and featuring high floating landscape shots that are peppered with grainy (stretched) super 8mm film shots and bit of handheld shaky cam moments. The photography is pristine, and like the music goes from feeling grounded on earth to soaring high above our heads.

The British magazine NME[43] qualified it as: "a cinematic new video and a dreamy blast of post-rock all about 'the acceptance of things we don't know and can't control'".

On August 7, 2020, Alex Henry Foster released the EP Snowflakes in July marking the end of the Windows in the Sky series. The EP consists of three versions of the song, one that was performed live from his studio-church and broadcast on BrooklynVegan on July 26, 2020.[44] The live performance of the song was also turned into a direct-to-vinyl crafted in Foster's independent record label's facilities.

Windows in the Sky[edit]

Windows in the Sky is Alex Henry Foster's first solo record. Written in a time of isolation in Tangier, Morocco in 2016. What was supposed to be a three-week residency to write the new album of his former band Your Favorite Enemies turned into a two-year journey during which the album was written.[45] It explores grief and hope through despair as Foster wrote it following the death of his father to cancer. It was released in Canada 2018 through his independent record label, Hopeful Tragedy Records and reached the top charts upon release, remaining in the Top 40 Billboard Canadian Albums Chart for a full year after its release.[46] It was nominated in 2019 for Anglophone album of the year by L'ADISQ[5] and was released internationally in May 2020.

Standing Under Bright Lights[edit]

Standing Under Bright Lights is Foster's first live album, released internationally on April 16, 2021 through Hopeful Tragedy Records. This album features the entirety of Foster's first concert at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal held on July 5, 2019. It includes the live rendition of every song from his album Windows in the Sky, performed by an 11-piece band.

This live moment took place approximately 6 months after the release of Foster's first solo album Windows in the Sky, that debuted at number 3 on the Canadian top 200, right behind Imagine Dragons and Muse, and also stayed on the top 40 for a year after its initial release, and got nominated for "Best album of the year" in Canada by l'ADISQ.[5]

The concert was to be a one-off happening as an homage to Foster's late father, who had passed 5 years prior to cancer. The concert took place in a sold-out venue as part of the 40th Festival International de Jazz de Montréal and consisted of the performance of the entire album Windows in the Sky, by an 11-piece band and was accompanied by a movie projection produced by Foster.[47]

Originally set to be released on October 8, 2020, his late father's birthday, Foster took time to produce the album Standing Under Bright Lights featuring the never-released song "The Son of Hannah", during the 2020-2021 pandemic.[48]

Alex Henry Foster's performance was highlighted amongst 5 performances not to miss at the Festival International de Jazz by Radio-Canada.[49] This 2h30 concert is considered amongst the best concerts ever performed at the Festival International de Jazz. Le Devoir gave a 4.5/5 stars review to the live album Standing Under Bright Lights upon release day.[9]

In September 2021, Standing Under Bright Lights granted a ADISQ nomination in the category "Sound Engineer of the Year".[23]

Weekly charts[edit]

One week after its release, Standing Under Bright Lights made its Australian charts debut at No. 6 in the ARIA Top 50 Albums for the week of April 23, 2021.[50]

In the UK, it reached No. 4 in the "Top 20" of the Official Independent Album Breakers Chart,[12] No. 13 in the "Top 50" of the Official Independent Albums Chart,[13] and No. 32 in the Top 100 "Official Albums Sales Chart"[14] in the week of April 23, 2021 to April 29, 2021.

On the week of May 1, 2021, Standing Under Bright Lights entered the Billboard charts at No. 4 of the Canadian Albums chart,[32] No. 6 of the Australian albums chart,[51] No. 18 of the Emerging Artists chart,[52] No. 31 of the Current Albums Sales chart[53] and No. 55 of the Album Sales chart.[54]

In the week of April 30, 2021 to May 6, 2021, Standing Under Bright Lights made its Irish charts debut at No. 17 in the "Top 50" of the Official Irish Albums Chart,[20] and was the most downloaded album of the week.[21]

Chart (2021) Peak
position
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[55] 4
Australian Albums (ARIA)[56] 6
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[57] 13
UK Albums (OCC)[58] 32
Irish Albums Chart (Top 50) 17
Billboard Emerging Artists 18
Billboard Current Album Sales 31
Billboard Album Sales 55

Influences[edit]

Foster cites Fugazi, Sonic Youth, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine (band) and Mars Volta,[59] Radiohead, Mogwai, Swans (band)[60] and Nick Cave as recent influences and Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Ramones, Ministry (band), Skinny Puppy and The Cure[31] as some of his early musical influences.

Poets and writers such as Leo Tolstoy, Khalil Gibran, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Baudelaire, Rainer Maria Rilke, Octavio Paz, Jack Kerouac, Paul Bowles, Ernest Hemingway, and Allen Ginsberg are also part of his influences and inspirations.[61] Excerpts of the poem "Song" by Allen Ginsberg are featured on the track "Shadows of Our Evening Tides" on Alex Henry Foster's first solo album Windows in the Sky[62]

Activism[edit]

Alex Henry Foster is also a former social worker and active human rights advocate. He has been spokesperson for Amnesty International and collaborated in campaigns for several years.[63] He founded "Rock N Rights" in 2005, a non-profit spreading human rights awareness. He also appeared on the Canadian talk show Tout le monde en parle[64] and CBC Radio show "Medium Large"[65] to talk about his past in gangs and his views on social justice.

Social involvement[edit]

Foster has been involved with Amnesty International for several years. He acts as an official spokesperson, a conference speaker in Canada and has hosted the Annual Youth Congress of Amnesty International, and has written a song for the release of Fred M'membe. His band Your Favorite Enemies participated to Amnesty International's 30th anniversary (2007), to the 35th anniversary of Give Peace A Chance, to Imagine (2004), Marche des femmes vers l'an 2000, and performed at the concert on behalf of the 51st anniversary of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. Your Favorite Enemies also did an exclusive interview about human rights with the American band Anti-Flag during the Vans Warped Tour (2007).[66]

In 2005, he co-founded "Rock N Rights", a non-profit organization focusing on human rights' promotion and education.

Following the tsunami in Japan in 2011, Foster and his bandmates from Your Favorite Enemies launched "The Hope Project" in partnership with the Red Cross and schools. This campaign consisted in gathering messages of support, empathy, and encouragement, and deliver them to survivors as personal postcards.[67]

Rock N Rights took part in campaigns to support Saudi blogger Raif Badawi and freedom of speech[68] as well as women's rights in collaboration with 100% Mamans in Tangier, Morocco.

In June 2020, Alex Henry Foster launched a campaigned called "Silence Is Murder", in the face of the racial and social injustices and violence outbreaks happening around the world. He crafted a t-shirt, for which all the profits were given to Amnesty International.

In September 2020, following the loss of a friend in France to suicide, Foster launched the campaign and masks collection "Alive. Never Alone." to raise awareness about suicide and mental health issues. As part of the initiative, he created a masks collection for which profits were given to the Montreal organisation Suicide Action Montréal.[69]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums

Live albums

  • Standing Under Bright Lights (Hopeful Tragedy Records, 2021)

EPs

  • Summertime Departures - EP (Hopeful Tragedy Records, 2020)
  • The Hunter (By the Seaside Window) - EP (Hopeful Tragedy Records, 2020)
  • Lavender Sky - EP (Hopeful Tragedy Records, 2020)
  • Snowflakes in July - EP (Hopeful Tragedy Records, 2020)

Awards and nominations[edit]

ADISQ[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2019 Windows in the Sky Anglophone Album of the Year Nominated
2021 Standing Under Bright Lights Sound Engineer of the Year Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Five Questions With Your Favorite Enemies – Canadian Beats Media". canadianbeats.ca. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  2. ^ "2015 – Rock Album of the Year (Sponsored by SiriusXM Canada) – Your Favorite Enemies". junoawards.ca. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  3. ^ "Billboard Canadian Albums: Top Albums Chart". Billboard. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  4. ^ Stuart Derdeyn (November 27, 2018). "Vancouver Sun music reviews Dec. 1, 2018". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Les nominations du Premier gala de l'ADISQ 2019". Le Canal Auditif. September 17, 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  6. ^ Jerry Ewing24 (April 2020). "Alex Henry Foster joins Prog for live session in May". Prog Magazine. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  7. ^ "Le numéro 2 de Rolling Stone Hebdo est en ligne !". May 1, 2020. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  8. ^ "Alex Henry Foster Confronts Grief with Improvisation in Montreal". American Songwriter. April 6, 2021. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Standing Under Bright Lights, Alex Henry Foster". Le Devoir. April 16, 2021. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  10. ^ Friswell, Sean (April 15, 2021). "Alex Henry Foster and the Long Shadows - 'Standing Under Bright Lights' Album Review". 3songsandout. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  11. ^ "Lil Nas X's 'Montero' Climbs to Australian Chart Summit". Billboard. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Official Independent Album Breakers Chart Top 20 | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50 | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  14. ^ a b "Official Albums Sales Chart Top 100 | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  15. ^ "Alex Henry Foster". Billboard. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  16. ^ "Alex Henry Foster". Billboard. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  17. ^ "Alex Henry Foster". Billboard. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  18. ^ "Alex Henry Foster". Billboard. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  19. ^ "Justin Bieber Is Back at No. 1". FYIMusicNews. April 26, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  20. ^ a b "Official Irish Albums Chart Top 50 | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  21. ^ a b "Dermot Kennedy reclaims Irish Number 1 album with Without Fear". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  22. ^ https://www.tanger-experience.com/dossier/belles-maisons-dossiers/la-maison-de-tanger-le-charme-des-annees-30/
  23. ^ a b "PalmarèsADISQ - Alex Henry Foster - Album: Standing Under Bright Lights (Live from Festival International de Jazz de Montréal)".
  24. ^ "Your Favorite Enemies : épopée rock". selection.ca. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  25. ^ "Une fenêtre grande ouverte sur la mémoire de ses vents". daily-rock.ca. December 8, 2018. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  26. ^ Poisson, Yanick. "Une église transformée en studio d'enregistrement". journaldemontreal.com. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  27. ^ Your Favorite Enemies (January 8, 2018). "Your Favorite Enemies in documentary 'Le retour du vinyle' [Canal D] (excerpt)". Retrieved November 27, 2018 – via YouTube.
  28. ^ "Un voyage salutaire pour Alex Henry Foster". journalexpress.ca. November 27, 2018. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  29. ^ "Week-end à Tanger". lci.fr. July 21, 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  30. ^ "Your Favorite Enemies making friends (and music) in Morocco and relying on Radial gear". guitargirlmag.com. July 13, 2018. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  31. ^ a b "Five Questions With… Your Favorite Enemies' Alex Foster". FYIMusicNews. September 19, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  32. ^ a b "Alex Henry Foster". Billboard. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  33. ^ "Alex Henry Foster Breaks Big With Solo Debut". FYIMusicNews. November 23, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  34. ^ "PalmarèsADISQ - Alex Henry Foster - Album: Windows in the Sky". PalmarèsADISQ. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  35. ^ "'Trail Of Dead' Brighton gig report". March 4, 2020. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  36. ^ "...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead/Alex Henry Foster – Manchester, Night & Day Café – 4 March 2020". March 5, 2020.
  37. ^ Ainscoe, Mike (March 9, 2020). "…Trail Of Dead, Alex Henry Foster – Night & Day Cafe, Manchester: Live Review At The Barrier". At The Barrier. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  38. ^ "Alex Henry Foster Shares Video for 'The Hunter (By the Seaside Window)'". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  39. ^ "Le Drummondvillois Alex Henry Foster lance son album solo virtuellement | Coronavirus". Radio Canada. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  40. ^ "StackPath". www.ccmmagazine.com. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  41. ^ "Attention Vinyl Collectors - Alex Henry Foster - Direct-to-Vinyl Performance". Montreal Rocks. June 10, 2020. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  42. ^ "Alex Henry Foster & The Long Shadows debut 'Lavender Sky' video". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  43. ^ "Watch Alex Henry Foster's new video for 'Lavender Sky'". NME. July 1, 2020. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  44. ^ "Alex Henry Foster livestreaming direct-to-vinyl again in July". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  45. ^ "Alex Henry Foster se livre à cœur ouvert dans l'album Standing Under Bright Light". April 16, 2021. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  46. ^ "Alex Henry Foster Releases 'Standing Under Bright Lights' Triple-Vinyl / Double-CD, Concert Film Today". www.jesusfreakhideout.com. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  47. ^ "Alex Henry Foster Reveals 'The Son of Hannah', off Upcoming Live Album and Film 'Standing Under Bright Lights'". American Songwriter. February 4, 2021. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  48. ^ Jerry Ewing (February 11, 2021). "Alex Henry Foster releases video for The Son Of Hannah from the Montreal Jazz Festival". Prog Magazine. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  49. ^ "5 vedettes à (re)voir et 5 artistes à découvrir au 40 e Festival de jazz de Montréal". Radio Canada. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  50. ^ "ARIA Top 50 Albums Chart". www.aria.com.au. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  51. ^ "Alex Henry Foster". Billboard. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  52. ^ "Alex Henry Foster". Billboard. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  53. ^ "Alex Henry Foster". Billboard. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  54. ^ "Alex Henry Foster". Billboard. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  55. ^ "Alex Henry Foster Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  56. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Alex Henry Foster – Standing Under Bright Lights". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  57. ^ 23, 2021/131/ "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  58. ^ "Alex Henry Foster | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  59. ^ "Five Questions With... Alex Foster of Your Favorite Enemies". FYIMusicNews. June 28, 2016. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  60. ^ "Alex Foster de Your Favourite Enemies en 13 questions – Entrevue exclusive HollywoodPQ". Hollywoodpq.com. August 19, 2016. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  61. ^ Interview excerpts from Beeast69, also translated into English:
  62. ^ Masse, Muriel. "A.H. Foster, Windows analysé – Pop Rock.ca". poprock.ca. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  63. ^ "Alexandre Foster/ Your Favorite Enemies". amnistie.ca. Archived from the original on November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  64. ^ "De la haine à l'amour – Segment – Tout le monde en parle – ICI Radio-Canada.ca". CBC/Radio-Canada. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  65. ^ "De néonazi à vedette du rock en Asie : le parcours atypique d'Alex Foster". Radio Canada. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  66. ^ Ricco2007 (October 19, 2006). An Interview of Pat Thetic by Jeff of Rock N Rights (Part1). Retrieved November 27, 2018 – via YouTube.
  67. ^ "Billboard Music Awards 2012? 'We'll Bring It Back Next Year'". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. April 2, 2011. Retrieved November 27, 2018 – via Google Books.
  68. ^ Haidar, Ensaf (May 31, 2016). "The Hour of Truth". HuffPost. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  69. ^ Ewing, Jerry (September 17, 2020). "Alex Henry Foster launches Alive. Never Alone. initiative". Prog Magazine. Retrieved May 14, 2021.

External links[edit]