From serving in the navy to being Grammy nominated, one songstress greeted Texas State on Thursday night with her electrifying voice.
Ruthie Foster is a singer-songwriter from Gause, Texas, a small town with a population of approximately 500 people. Foster grew up in a musical household. Her mother was a singer and her father was a blues fan. Throughout her life, Foster was influenced by musicians such as Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin.
“I grew up with music in my family,” Foster said. “It was always a part of my life.”
Foster has been Grammy nominated for Best Blues Album three times in a row. She is the recipient of several awards including seven Blues Music Awards, six Koko Taylor Awards, three Austin Music Awards and a Living Blues Critics’ Award for Female Blues Artist of the Year.
Foster began her career singing Gospel music in churches during her teenage years. She attended McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, and majored in Commercial Music with an emphasis on Vocal Performace. Through her education, she was able to gain experience with different types of music like Gospel, Reggae and Soul, which is strongly reflected in her own music.
After college, Foster served in the Navy. While there, she joined the naval music group “Pride” and performed pop hits at recruitment events. After serving, Foster packed her bags and made her way to New York City.
In New York, Foster surrounded herself with talented songwriters that wrote for Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin. During her time in the Big Apple, Foster learned to write music and deliver it to an audience.
In 2004, Foster moved to Austin. She said she felt the music industry in Austin was much more of a community rather than a competition. In Austin, she said she was able to create music that meant something.
Over the summer of 2018, Foster performed at various music festivals such as Jazz Fest in New Orleans, Quebec’s Festival Des Guitares Du Monde, Waterfront Blues Fest, High Sierra Music Fest and Canmore Folk Fest.
At Canmore Folk Fest, Lisa Jacobs, freelance musician, got the chance to play bass guitar for Foster. Jacobs said she has been a fan of Foster for a little over ten years.
“I think she’s really connected to the world and to people and that really speaks through her music,” Jacobs said. “The actual music itself, the groove and the tone of her voice have always attracted me.”
Jacobs said performing with Foster was encouraging, uplifting and fun.
“I could feel her looking at me and smiling at me and more than anything, I could feel her saying ‘right on lady,’” Jacobs said.
Foster is currently on tour and made a stop in San Marcos Thursday, Oct. 18. She performed for a packed crowd at the Performing Arts Center Recital Hall.
Foster performed alongside her close friend, Scotti Miller, a singer-songwriter from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her San Marcos show was one of the few that will feature Miller.
“It probably won’t be expected,” Foster said. “It’s a real treat.”
Foster and Miller owned the stage as they played to a diverse crowd Thursday night. They played a little bit of everything, from Jazz to Gospel and Soul. Their musical chemistry had the audience cheering them on throughout the entire performance.
Olivia Wainwright, biology freshman, said she came to Foster’s show to do a review for her Intro to Fine Arts Class. Wainwright said even though she didn’t know much about Foster, she enjoyed the show.
“One of my favorite songs was the one inspired by Sam Cook and Otis Redding,” Wainwright said. “I loved when she and Scotti would play together and when he did his piano solo. Overall, I really enjoyed it.”
To learn more about Ruthie Foster and her upcoming events, visit her website http://www.ruthiefoster.com, and social media @_RuthieFoster_ on Twitter and @ruthiefostermusic on Instagram.