February’s Man of the Month was:
Here’s a little bit about him:
Norman Foote’s musicality and humour is like no other. He is a masterful entertainer who uses original composition, props and comedy to engage and spontaneously interact with his audience. Norman has received several awards including Socans Best Songwriter, NAPPA and Parent choice gold awards. His songwriting credits include Disney Records, CBC, Shari Lewis, Koba/Nelvana (Little Bear), National Film Board, BC Cancer Board and several others. His performing history has taken him throughout the world to theatres , festivals and with symphony orchestras.
And here’s how he answered my 6 questions about creativity:
What inspires your creativity?
A new set of strings on my guitar is very inspiring to me. To hear them ring out so clear motivates me to play.
Such a broad question…many things inspire me. Everything has the potential to inspire me…it is whether I take notice. Musically, both comedic and dramatic slices of life inspire me to write and begin a process of creating a song or comedy piece. It may be one catch phrase that will set me off on my habitual songwriting, or it may be a heart felt line that lends itself to a rhyme. So much of creative writing, no matter how simple it may seem is a way of getting yourself into a better space. Songwriting is not a pretty sight often. I can carry ideas and bits of melodies around with me for years.
What inspires me the most and makes me the happiest is seeing the growth of my 5 children and two grandkids. Ages form 6 to 32. I now do many shows with my 17 year-old daughter Maria who sings like a bird. A total inspiration…when she is not giving me a dirty look!
How have you reinvented yourself thru your creativity?
I have often written my way into a new way of thinking and like everyone I have my favorite songs that feel so good to hear over and over.
Based on response to your creativity, how do you involve others?
I am a true believer in collaboration in songwriting. Many ideas can be basically clever but not enough to blossom into a song. Then some one else comes along and takes it somewhere where I never would have gone and puts the idea over the top.
What is the wildest journey your creativity has taken you on?
Being an entertainer for young and old has taken me throughout the world and put me into countless wonderful and not so wonderful situations. I can testify that showbiz is not glamorous. One day doing a command performance for the Prime Minister …and the next day in a mall in Grand Prairie with a sign in the parking lot “puppet show today.” There I was on a 4 by 8 shag carpet stage in the middle of the mall by the food court. The only person in the audience was my cousin who I hadn’t seen for years.
One wild period was my Disney years (91 to 96). They were very busy years, touring over 200 dates a year throughout North America and producing videos out of Los Angeles. Not only was I starting a new family but also trying to prove to Disney that I was worthy of ongoing investment. When they realized I wasn’t, the deal was over and I was happy to record for other labels…and my own.
What is your most memorable moment in the act of being creative?
My first show with the Vancouver Symphony stands out in my mind. My parents always wanted me to be a high-school band teacher. Something I didn’t want to do but I thought I would see where that could take me so I applied to UBC’s music program after graduating high-school in 1972. However, I failed the music entrance exam and didn’t attend…much to the disappointment of my parents. I never looked back. So, having my music played by all these fine symphony orchestra musicians, superb arrangements and my parents in the audience was rewarding both musically and personally. It proved to me that there is more than one way to get there.
With musical director and arranger Bill Sample we created a unique concert experience with a full symphony. We have performed the show with symphonies through North America. With this show I do feel that showbiz is amazing.
Now when I think about it , my first duo in New Zealand (1975) or could it be the first coin thrown into my guitar case as a young busker in Sydney Australia back in ‘76. This month’s show, February 10, 2010, for the Olympic torch in North Van was very memorable.
So many memorable, creative opportunities I am thankful for and hope for many more.
What’s next for you?
A full tour schedule both in theatres, festivals and workshops. Another CD. TV and voice work in an animated series I am developing with a local producer…it’s top secret. Ok, it’s about a young sasquatch boy who is trying to fit into society and shows his new found city friends the ways of the forest. This idea has been brewing for a while and is now taking shape. I have my fingers crossed.
And here’s something that inspires his creativity:
these people inspire me!
Check out Norman Foote’s website: www.normanfoote.com
Thank you Norman! You make showbiz amazing!