Getting Personal: Candy Foster

Getting Personal is an email Q&A with a local personality. Here, Melissa Merli chats with local R&B and blues entertainment icon Candy Foster. Getting Personal appears first in print. In the April 8 newspaper, we'll have a chat with Don Elmore. He works for a software firm, co-owns a bookstore and has worked in the newspaper business.     

What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?

About 7:30 in the morning. Outside of hygiene, cleaning myself up, I got a pretty good routine. I'm a creature of habit. At least five days of the week I go to Bob Evans and have breakfast with my little breakfast club, which consists of four or five guys.

What did you have for lunch today? Where? With whom?

Baked chicken, a salad and green tea. I had lunch at home with my wife, Beth.

Best high school memory?

It's been so long ago. Well, I guess that would be singing at assemblies for holidays and Christmas, where you got the chance to express your talents.

Tell me about your favorite pair of shoes.

I had a pair of Stacy Adams that I liked pretty well. They were dress shoes, wing tips. ... I have to retract that. I was kind of a boot person too. I had the Cuban heels and short boots that zip on the side. They were Stacy Adams, too.

What does a perfect Sunday afternoon include?

To me a perfect Sunday afternoon is spending a good day at the church with my immediate family and going out to dinner or cooking at the house and then kicking back in my big chair, watching sports and just resting. I do enjoy the company of my family, my grandkids, things like that.

Was there one book you read as a child that you still cherish? Own? Read?

There was one book I really liked. I probably should read it again. It was mandatory that I read "Moby Dick." After a while I read it again, and I really did like it. I like a lot of history, especially about buffalo soldiers and black history. I kind of got into that later on. I'm a history kind of person, not just black history. War, politics. I'm a true American.

Where on earth are you dying to go? Why?

I would like to go to Japan or Hong Kong because Asia has a very interesting culture. I call them my little brown brothers. I'd like to know more about them. One reason is Japanese people like American music so well, and they can imitate it so well. I noticed that a long time ago.

Tell me about your favorite pet.

I was really a dog lover. I had two or three dogs I cared about a lot. When I was a kid it was me and my dog. We went around everywhere. Ol' Bozo was my favorite dog. My grandmother named him Bozo. He was a German shepherd and a little bit of collie. He was a junkyard dog. Somebody gave him to me. Great dog.

Have you discovered as you mature that you are becoming like one of your parents? Which one and how?

That's kind of a hard question. I would say the older I get the more like my dad. I think early in my life I was more like my mother — the love of music and hanging out. Really the personality I have with people — my mother was all that. The older I get the more I'm sure I'm getting like my dad. Sports, and trying to be the senior of the family and trying to be more of role model to my kids and grandkids. And I think that's where he was going. Hopefully I'll tighten up on my religion.

What would you order for your last meal?

Steak and lobster. I'm a real steak eater. I can't eat it like I used to. They tell me I have to cut back on that.

What can you NOT live without?

Music.

Who do you have on your iPod?

Old people like me don't use iPods too much. I'm a well-rounded person on music. What I keep in my vehicle and my Bose at home is a little bit of everything. Everything from Lou Rawls to the Motown sounds of The Whispers, and my daughter made me four or five tapes of Gospel music. The Gospel is kind of changing its taste, kind of a new sound, and I've been listening to it. It's got some pretty good stuff going on. I listen to jazz, that smooth jazz. At one time when I was back in school and coming out of school I studied some of the classic stuff. Believe it or not, at one time or another they were trying to train me into classical singing.

What's the happiest memory of your life?

I don't know. Getting up where I am you have a lot of them. Certainly, when you start having kids. It's kind of mixed bag on everything. The happiest time of my life is probably when I got grown enough to be on my own and do the things I wanted to do. I was ready to go, to make my mistakes in life.

If you could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, whom would you invite?

I would certainly invite my wife. Stevie Wonder. I would enjoy being around Stevie Wonder. I certainly wouldn't be mad if I had President Barack Obama there.

What's the best advice you've ever been given?

One of my aunties was always quoting things from the different psalms — she was always telling me — "God bless the child that's got his own." She finally said it enough that I got the message. You get out there and make your own way.

What's your best piece of advice?

I always say on my show at least once a night, I would say to the public, best advice I can give you is, "Always say what you mean, mean what you say and do what you say you're going to do."

What was your first job, and how much did you make an hour?

Well, not very much. One dollar and 50 some cents an hour, I think. Waiting tables and then I worked in a kitchen in a restaurant. My first solo singing job might be even worse because I made $7 a night. I was probably too young to even be in the place. They called it the Rainbow Tavern. It was on North First Street.

What was a pivotal decision in your career, and how did you arrive at that decision?

It was probably in 1989. I didn't have any band; I was kind of in retirement from singing and had opened up a small bar. I went through that for almost three years. When I thought about music I had to make a decision about it, whether to go back into it or stay out of it. I made the decision if I was going to go back into it I would go in with a different attitude. I just made a decision I would be in business not just for fun but to make a difference and make something out of it.

Do you have a bad habit? What is it?

I have a bad habit of being soft on things when I should be tougher on things. I give in to people. People are my weakness. The public is my weakness.

How do you handle a stressful situation?

Mostly by doing what I love to do. Concentrating on what I do have and what I've done and what I'm trying to do. I just go back to my music and the things that mean something to me, and I concentrate on that.

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