Teenage vocalist Jackie Foster, a recent graduate of Poway High School, just won a full scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass.
Foster is the recipient of the Berklee Lollapalooza Endowed Scholarship, which represents an ongoing effort to recruit more rock-oriented talent to the school primarily known as a jazz institution. The teen was selected following a grueling search process that involved auditions and interviews in 20 U.S. cities.
"My goal within the next few years is to do whatever I can to build my skills and get noticed," Foster said this week. "Berklee has the top facility and training in the world for contemporary music, and I will be surrounded by extremely talented peers and master professors. I've been singing since the age of 6 by starting in musical theater (CYT). Since then, I have been trained in all genres, including classical, pop, R&B, rock and most recently, jazz."
I confess to having a certain ignorance of the music scene in Poway, but Foster set me straight:
"They have a wonderful music program.... Poway is swarming with talent, and I got to better my understanding of classical music and theory with my national-award-winning choir and further my love for musical theater by participating in lead roles of our school’s productions," Foster said. "Poway also has a great instrumental jazz program, and since they knew I loved to sing, I was able to enjoy four years as a lead soloist at many of their performances."
So is she ready for the infamously frigid Boston winters?
"I am in love with the city, and I was able to visit Berklee students in the month of February," Foster said. "It wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to be. Layers is the key! I knew I wanted an urban environment, and Boston will give me that, plus a climate change! I love San Diego and know I will likely wind up in Los Angeles in the future, so for now a beautiful change of scenery is just what I need."
The North County singer isn’t lacking ambition or confidence: "My dreams and aspirations are to become a professional vocalist, recording my own music and touring the world," Foster said. "I have big dreams to become famous one day, and I know that if I put in the effort that I have done so far, nothing can stop me."
Robert Bush is a freelance jazz writer who has been exploring the San Diego improvised music scene for more than 30 years.