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Follies Spotlight: Nick Foster5 min read

Tell us about yourself! Where are you from and what brought you to Stern?

I grew up in Croton-on-Hudson, a small town in Westchester right outside of New York City and then went to Kenyon College in Ohio. After graduating with a double major in Music and Political Science, I moved back to New York and pursued a career as a professional singer, producer, and semi-professional fantasy sports player (code for me supporting my music and borderline making a living via DraftKings). For my solo singing, I specialized in the genre of “Whatever I Could Get Paid To Sing” and frequently performed at venues like Carnegie Hall and 54 Below as well as on some TV programs.

Ironically though, it was probably my highest profile singing gig (singing backups for Sara Bareilles, one of my idols) that made me realize that it wasn’t likely to be the most satisfying career path for me in the long-term. I thought it was a huge red flag that I was infinitely more excited about what I was doing to support my music rather than actually doing it, and (while the performing arts are obviously deeply important) I realized that I wanted to make a more tangible, lasting impact than I would be able to purely through artistry. Consequently, after a short stint as a GMAT/LSAT tutor, I figured that getting an MBA would be the best vehicle towards me figuring out and then actually going down that fulfilling path. Shockingly, I’m interested in Media & Entertainment and (beyond all of the obvious reasons to choose the school!) I loved how Stern combines the benefits of a highly differentiated EMT program with the flexibility that comes with being pretty well balanced across the board.

How did your interest in the performing arts begin?

My mom is a singer/actress, my dad is a theatre director, and my aunt is a singer/songwriter but I actually didn’t sing at all until I did the spring musical my senior year of high school! In the opening scene of my very first performance, my belt somehow looped around the chair I was in and I was forced to both sing the first song of the show stuck to the chair and then carry it off the stage with me in pitch black. Amazing start to my career. In all seriousness though, I think I learned a lot by osmosis growing up and at Kenyon I immersed myself in the music scene; serving as musical director for my co-ed jazz a cappella group and singing in several other groups.

What performance are you the most proud of?

After the Pulse nightclub shooting, I sang in benefit concerts across the country as part of “Broadway for Orlando” – a charitable initiative formed to support the victims of the shooting and their families. We ended up flying down to Orlando for one of these concerts and it was unquestionably the most electric, emotional atmosphere I’d ever been in and the performance I’m most grateful to have been a part of. After the concert, we went to the nightclub which had sort of become the Pulse replacement and spent the rest of the night getting to know people who had been present the night of the shooting (which was exactly as surreal as it sounds). It was definitely a concert and a night I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Nick’s last Follies peformance

Did you ever consider pursuing the Broadway route?

Surprisingly, I didn’t! I absolutely love singing Broadway music and have been fortunate to do so quite frequently in my concert work, but I’m a pretty firm believer that pursuing musical theatre should be downstream from the “theatre” part of the equation and I’ve never really caught the acting bug. Definitely miss watching it though!

What are you planning on doing after Stern, and how do you keep up your passion projects?

I’m planning on doing something absolutely crazy! During my VC internship last summer I was asked to look into deal flow management platforms and, after finding all of the existing options unsatisfactory for a variety of reasons, I decided to try and build us a custom platform. Being that I found I could design the platform around our specific needs as a fund and incorporate the features we actually wanted (rather than try to fit us into a non-customizable program), we ended up sticking with it. Recently though, I was hired by a friend of my internship company (who’d used my platform) to do something similar and build a custom, centralized platform for his and his family’s vast array of investment entities and philanthropic pursuits -an easy and stress-free undertaking. One thing’s led to another though, and I now have a backlog of clients who all want me to build them these sorts of platforms and I’ve consequently decided to make a business out of it! Things are still in the early stages and I’m both super excited and super overwhelmed. I feel sort of insane for doing it, but I definitely would be much more insane not to do it if that makes sense.

To the second question, I’m not really sure yet. I didn’t know how much I missed being on either end of live performances until I attended my first Zoom concert last year and, due to no fault of the performers, just felt constantly reminded of what we weren’t able to experience due to COVID. Ironically, music has also always felt much more like work to me than, say, building custom deal flow management platforms but it’s hard to tell to what extent that was a function of it actually being my work for so long. I think the pandemic has reminded me that singing will always be a central part of who I am and that it will be vital I keep it up down the road!

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