Fogelberg loved the process of songwriting and did it constantly. He never thought in term of album cycles, preferring to continuously write songs and then record when he had enough tracks ready.
A very introverted artist, Fogelberg spent a lot of time in his teens in the solitude of the woods near his home in Peoria, Illinois. Songwriting was a perfect fit for his personality, as it was a means of discovery and expression for him. The recording process was quite taxing for him, however, and he often spoke of the physical and emotional toll it took on him.
After high school, Fogelberg attended the University of Illinois, which is where he met an alumnus named Irving Azoff, who was getting his artist booking and management agency going. Azoff championed Fogelberg and convinced him to leave school to pursue music. The two rose up the ranks together, with Fogelberg quickly becoming a popular recording artist and Azoff ascending as a manager and record company executive, his most famous client being the Eagles.
The famous record executive Clive Davis signed Fogelberg to Colombia Records in 1971. Davis was big on singer-songwriters, having recently signed Billy Joel and Paul Simon.
His parents made him take piano lessons for a few years when he was a kid, but he hated them and made up any excuse he could to get out of them. He had no further formal training in music; when he went to college, he studied acting and art.