New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

This article is from our magazine. To view it in its original format, click here

Pat Foran: The Art of Economizing Songs

By Gary Wien

originally published: 08/25/2018

Pat Foran: The Art of Economizing SongsLambertville native Pat Foran was always told that his songs were too long.  When they clocked in at four minutes, he was told they needed to be trimmed down to three.  It was always a challenge for him until he began working with Rob Figarola, a Los Angeles based A&R consultant who was with - a site that identifies and develops unsigned artists. 

Figarola found Foran’s music via ReverbNation and contacted him.  They worked together for about a year before Figarola passed away.  It was quite a blow for Foran.  We spoke a few days after he got the news and it was clear Foran was both grieving and in shock.  The two had become quite close and Figarola had become his mentor.  He not only gave Foran the confidence boost artists need, but was able to help him understand what his songwriting needed to reach that next level.  

“His death was crushing because he thought my potential was there and that I already had good material,” said Foran.  “He was into my music and was talking about a possible record deal for me.  It’s going to be hard to find someone who believes in me the way he believed in me.”

As great of a loss as it was, their time together was very productive.  Figarola had a knack for picking out the parts in Foran’s songs that were important and the ones that should be removed.  

“He would hit the exact points in my newer songs that I was questioning without me saying anything,” said Foran.  “He would say this one line needs these three words need to be changed.  I’d tell him that a lot of times when I wrote songs I would have 85-90 percent  of the lyrics ironed out, but I’d want to test the song out for an audience and see if people like it at all before continuing with it.  In a live performance, people aren’t going to pick up on a throwaway line, they’re just going to follow the rhythm and general spirit of the song.  What he would do is call me out on those parts.”

The article continues after this ad


Foran’s debut record, Foran Policy, came out in 2013 and he’s written a lot of songs since.  His goal was to release several new singles this year.  He still hopes to do that, but now must rely on what Figarola taught him rather than ongoing instruction.

“Rob gave me reasons to focus on things like what should and should not be used,” continued Foran.  “He didn’t have me change anything; he just had me tweak things here and there.  He understood what I was doing.  To him, he would hear a value in the song and we would go from there.  I endeavor to write three minute songs and am now doing it regularly.  I think it’s made me more economical in my writing and I think it helps render more power in my songs.”

Foran studied jazz and contemporary music theory at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He continued his studies at Trenton State College and studied classical guitar and voice. After one year at Trenton State College (now TCNJ), Pat pursued jazz guitar studies with guitar legend Joe Federico of Philadelphia, developing his guitar technique with jazz studies and classical pick-style of the Federico protégé Dennis Sandole.

He always knew he wanted to play the guitar, but his parents were told by a local music teacher that Pat should start out learning the piano first.  His family didn’t have a piano, but they got him an accordion to use instead.  He reluctantly  played it for a year.  Even at 8 years old, he tried doing things his own way.  He would veer off the written music and begin improvising by adding his own notes.

“I was improvising and investing and creating my version of how I thought the piece of music should go,” he recalled. “It could have been Chopin and I’d be like I don’t agree with it this way.  My sisters would be two rooms away while I was playing and would know how the song was supposed to sound.  They’d tell me I wasn’t playing it right and I’d say, ‘I like my version better!’”

His jazz background and improvisational skills help his songs sound different from most pop artists.  Fans say his music sounds “familiar, but different”, which is like a badge of honor for him.

Foran performs throughout New Jersey with upcoming shows in Ocean Grove, Hamilton, Somerville and Milford.  But you can find him every Wednesday hosting an evening of original music at Havana in New Hope, PA - just a town away from where he grew up.  He’s had Wednesday nights for years and has turned it into something of a destination night for original music fans.  He chooses the performers with one caveat - they have to play originals.

His goal is to have his songs placed in television shows and films.  Losing his mentor was a blow, but he recently learned he will be working with an A&R rep affiliate with BMG music.  So the dream lives on.  


Upcoming Shows

September 9 The Dragonfly Music and Coffee Cafe, Somerville NJ

September 16 Music in Milford, Milford, NJ

and every Wednesday at Havana in New Hope, PA

For more by this author, click here

State Theatre Presents Diana Krall: Turn Up the Quiet Tour
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Diana Krall live in concert as part of her Turn Up The Quiet World Tour on Friday, October 12 at 8:00pm. Tickets range from $43-$153.50.  This concert will feature songs from Diana Krall’s stunning new album, Turn Up The Quiet, out now on Verve Records as well as a mix of some fan favorites. 
Kean Stage Presents The Manhattan Transfer
(UNION, NJ) -- Going strong after more than 45 years, Grammy Award winner The Manhattan Transfer, with tenor vocals from Kean University alumnus Alan Paul '71, will captivate Kean Stage audiences with their distinctive four-part harmonies at Enlow Recital Hall on Sunday, September 30 at 3:00pm.
3rd Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- The North Jersey Indie Rock Festival returns to Jersey City on October 6. Presented by Mint 400 Records and Sniffling Indie Kids, the festival includes acts from those labels and Little Dickman Records, Rhyme and Reason Records, and State Champion Records.  The festival takes place at White Eagle Hall. Doors are at 4:00pm and the music starts at 4:30pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
The Dryden Ensemble Presents Bach Cantata Fest
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- The Dryden Ensemble will present a Bach Cantata Fest on Saturday, October 20 at 7:30pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 6587 Upper York Road, Solebury, Pennsylvania, and on Sunday, October 21 at 3:00pm at Miller Chapel, located on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey. Tickets are $25 for general admission and free to students with an ID. They may be purchased at the door or online at
Steve Barton & Robert Darlington From Translator To Perform at Randy Now's Man Cave
(BORDENTOWN, NJ) -- Whether it's pure pop or moody acoustic ballads, singer/songwriter/guitarist, Steve Barton, has developed a reputation for crafting some of the most literate and poignant music in underground rock.  In addition to being a founding member of the revered punk/psychedelic band Translator, perhaps best known for the Barton-penned song "Everywhere That I'm Not", he has released several solo albums.  The seventh and latest, "Tall Tales and Alibis", is a sprawling triple album tour de force filled with Steve's brand new songs, which was released in March by Sleepless Music.   To celebrate the release of the record, Barton will be making a rare live appearance with his Translator partner Robert Darlington, this Sunday, September 23 at Randy Now's Man Cave in Bordentown (134 Farnsworth Ave) at 7:00pm.  

From the Ballpark to the Concert Stage: Bernie Williams LIVE! at The Grunin Center
Fans of sports and music are lining up outside Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Saturday, September 8, 2018 for a concert by four-time World Series Champion and Latin Grammy-Nominated guitarist/composer Bernie Williams and his All-Star Band!
“Here’s Lucie!” Lucie Arnaz LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center
Even though the weather outside Holmdel, NJ’s PNC Bank Arts Center is cloudy with some light intermittent drizzle this Wednesday, September 12, 2018 afternoon, the venue’s stage is still shining brightly with talent thanks to a live performance by television, film, and stage actress/singer Lucie Arnaz!
Mike Aiken Talks About Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch At RVCC
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) -- Raritan Valley Community College presents Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22.  The three-day event will feature a number of different musical shows by Mike Aiken, as well as other solo artists and groups.  
Virtuoso Jazz Violinist Jean-Luc Ponty LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
It’s a warm but lovely Aug. 23, 2018 evening here in Newton, NJ. After enjoying some hand-dipped Cliff’s ice cream from the window at Hayek Market, we march up Spring Street looking forward to hearing some world-class jazz at one of the Garden State’s favorite concert venues, The Newton Theatre.
An Interview with Bernie Williams
Four-time World Series Champion and Latin Grammy-Nominated guitarist and composer Bernie Williams will perform with his All-Star Band at the Jersey Shore this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 at The Grunin Center of the Arts in Toms River, NJ!

Event calendar
Saturday, Sep 22, 2018


Asbury Park Porchfest @ Booskerdoo, Asbury Park - 12:00pm

Carl Chesna & Co. @ Hotel Tides, Asbury Park - 1:00pm

Echoes @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

Cole Swindell @ Hard Rock Live Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 8:00pm

GRUPO NICHE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

The History of Motown @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Drake Bell @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

Classic Stones Live feat. The Glimmer Twins @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Opera Theatre of Montclair Presents Hansel and Gretel @ Central Presbyterian Church, Montclair - 4:00pm

Oscar D’León with Tony Vega and Los Hermanos Moreno @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 8:00pm

SunDog Band at Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ @ Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ, Paterson - 9:00pm

Celtic Thunder X @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Young Person's Concert @ River Dell Middle School Auditorium, River Edge - 1:00pm

Tigerman record release show for “Descend Into Savagery” @ Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Hubby Jenkins @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm


Souvenir @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

East Lynne Theater Company presents SILENT SKY @ First Presbyterian Church (Cape May), Cape May - 8:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Incorruptible @ Ritz Theatre Company, Haddon Township - 8:00pm

West End Festival of the Arts- Theatre Brut Session 2 @ West End Arts Center, Long Branch - 2:00pm

Evita @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Claire, Anton et Eux" @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College, Princeton - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

HUMAN ERROR by Eric Pfeffinger @ West Windsor Arts Center, Princeton Junction - 8:00pm

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Assisted Living: The Musical @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 2:00pm

Brick City @ Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union - 3:00pm


SWAN LAKE - THE ATLANTIC CITY BALLET @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 7:00pm

SOLE Defined @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm


Monthly Saturday Writing Retreats @ Tiferet Journal, Bernardsville - 9:00am

View all events


more in music



An Interview With Linda Ronstadt

Pat Foran: The Art of Economizing Songs

Makin Waves Record Roundup - Chris Rockwell, Levy & the Oaks, The Burns, and Avery Mandeville

The Wag Celebrates 20 Years

Bongo Boy TV - Issue 50

For more on our awards, click here

New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 |

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.