BMI’s President & CEO Mike O’Neill honors David Foster onstage at the 74th Annual BMI/NAB Dinner at Encore Las Vegas on April 16, 2024. Credit Lester Cohen for BMI.

BMI celebrated legendary songwriter, composer and producer David Foster at the 74th Annual BMI/NAB Dinner held last night at Encore Las Vegas. Foster was honored for a lifetime of extraordinary creativity over his illustrious career spanning more than 40 years, during which his music has sold more than 500 million copies and touched the lives of many around the world. The private event was sponsored by Xperi.

BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill presented Foster with the award, with O’Neill championing his “extraordinary creativity and the singular impact he’s made as a songwriter, a producer, an artist, a mentor and a philanthropist” and thanked Foster for being a longstanding member of the BMI family since joining in 1978.

Following a retrospective video of his many career highlights, Foster dazzled the audience with an incredible performance of music spanning his prolific songwriting and producing career. He was joined on stage by singer/actress Katharine McPhee and classically trained vocalist Daniel Emmet and opened the show with a rendition of the love theme from St Elmo’s Fire. He went on to perform a medley of his biggest songs including “After the Love Has Gone” (Earth, Wind & Fire), “Look What You’ve Done To Me” (Boz Skaggs), “Glory of Love” (Peter Cetera) and “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” (Chicago), among others. Throughout the evening McPhee mesmerized the crowd with beautiful versions of a number of Foster’s fan favorites, including Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” from The Bodyguard soundtrack and Donna Summer’s “Last Dance”.  McPhee and Emmet closed the night’s performances with Foster’s enduring hits “The Prayer,” originally performed by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, and “To Be Real” by Cheryl Lynn.

As one of the most successful composers of our time, David Foster has created hit songs for many world-renowned artists including Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Chicago, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Boz Scaggs and Gloria Estefan, to name a few. He’s also a celebrated performer in his own right with multiple acclaimed albums, including The Best of MeRechordings and Eleven Words, and lead the immensely popular PBS specials, Hitman: David Foster & Friends, which became the one of network’s highest-rated shows in decades. In 2018 Foster embarked on a worldwide tour titled, “An Intimate Evening with David Foster,” which sold out around the world and garnered rave reviews.

Throughout his career Foster has earned many accolades and honors including 16 GRAMMY Awards, with three as Producer of the Year, an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe and three Oscar nominations for Best Original Song. He’s also been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, was honored with the esteemed GRAMMY Architects of Sound Award and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In addition, Foster has an incredible 42 BMI awards, was named BMI Pop Songwriter of the Year three times, and honored as a BMI Icon in 2011.

In addition to his music, charitable work is one of Foster’s other passions. Thirty years ago, he founded the David Foster Foundation to offer financial support to Canadian families with children who need organ transplants and raise awareness about the importance of becoming a registered organ donor. 

The annual BMI/NAB dinner recognizes the mutually supportive partnership between the songwriting community and the broadcast industry. Past recipients of the BMI honor include Paul Anka, John Fogerty, Graham Nash, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Mike Post, Carlos Santana, Paul Simon, Carrie Underwood and John Williams, among others.