*Sean Forbes is currently hosting a Pledge Music campaign to help him attend K-12 high schools across the country and share his story of overcoming obstacles and achieving his goals, and inspiring over 20,000 kids in the process. Pledgemusic.com is a crowd-source funding website that focuses solely on bands and music. This past winter Sean and crew went out on a five week tour across the northeast and midwest, attending 20 K-12 schools and spoke to over 10,000 students. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and we’re looking to do that again. Some of the schools we attended, the students have never met a Deaf individual before, so we were able to expose a whole new culture and community to some of these students. You can learn more about the Pledge Music campaign and see some of the awesome rewards for pledging here: www.pledgemusic.com/projects/seanforbes Those that pledge will also be able to see an exclusive NEW unreleased music video for Sean’s song titled “Watch These Hands”, directed and edited by Adrean Mangiardi, Assistant directed by Mark Levin, and cinematography from Wayne Betts Jr. Sean also released a new music video titled ‘We Interrupt This Program’:
My name is Sean Forbes. I was born and raised in the metro Detroit area.
At what point did realize that you wanted to do music for the rest of your life?
When I was five years old after my parents kept seeing my foot follow the beat of the music they decided to buy me a drum set for Christmas. From that moment forward all I wanted to do was be a rock n roll drummer. When I was in high school I was in a band, I wrote the songs, played the drums. My parents encouraged me to go to college knowing how hard it was for me to succeed as a musician, so I enrolled at NTID/RIT. It was there that I realized that there were so many others who loved and enjoyed music like I did but didn’t get everything music had to offer. I was fortunate growing up in a musical family, my parents were both musicians and they had tons of books on the history of rock and roll, my brothers and I would watch MTV, so I grew up learning everything about music which has shaped me into who I am today.
It wasn’t until my 2nd year at RIT when I took a leave of absence from school that spring and attended the Detroit Music Awards with my father that led to meeting Joel Martin whom is Eminem’s publisher and owns the recording studios where Eminem works. What was significant about this meeting (keep in mind I had met EVERYONE in the Detroit music scene) is that Joel had a deaf brother in law. It was around this time that I decided that if I really wanted to do something powerful that I would have to do more than just be a drummer which led to the creation of D-PAN, the Deaf Professional Arts Network, a nonprofit that makes music and music culture accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community by creating American Sign Language interpretation music videos.
I was also writing a lot of songs at this time, but didn’t have music to it. One day I stole a CD from the studio that said “Beats” on it (At this time Eminem’s studios were on lock down because people were leaking tracks and nothing was allowed to come in or out of the building, but I took my chances and it was the only time I ever did that) I started writing to these tracks and found out that the music was from a 15 year old kid named Jake Bass. We started working together immediately and have written over 100 songs together, many that haven’t been released and may never be released, then many new songs that you will probably hear/see one day.
What is your best performance that you’re proud of so far?
I’m proud of many performances. One of the craziest performances was probably when I performed at the House of Blues in Hollywood and the room was filled with celebrities like Eva Longoria, Kim Kardashian, Felicity Huffman, Sly Stone from Sly and the Family Stone was also there, but the surprise and the craziest part was in between my performance Stevie Wonder came out and played “You Are The Sunshine of My Life” this was one of the most awe moments in my career thus far. Every show that I ever do I always give my best no matter how many people are there or where it’s all, I always go 110%.
If you could give a young musician/ actor advice based on your experiences so far, what would you recommend that he/she should do?
Expect to fail many times before you succeed. I’ve had so many people in my life tell me “No Sean, you can’t” and every time I heard that it made me want to do it that much more. I get a lot of messages from people who want me to help them out and I provide them advice, but only they can make it happen. If you expect me to make it happen for you, it’s not going to happen, do you think I waited around for Eminem to take me on or do a track with me? No I wasn’t going to wait around for anything, only I could make it happen and I did.
What is the most craziest fan moment you/or your band have ever experienced?
There have been many crazy moments, I remember one time in Vegas it was 4 in the morning and I was heading to the airport to fly back to Detroit and was hanging out with my entourage, including my wife, and I had a hoodie on and was so tired I wasn’t paying attention to anything when all of the sudden these people came out of the club and saw someone in my group wearing an “I’m Deaf” shirt that I sell, they immediately came up to her and started hitting on her asking her “Do you know Sean Forbes?! I love him, he’s so cool” and my friends were all nonchalantly like “Yeah, we know him”, “Do you hang out with him?”, “Yeah we see him pretty frequently”, “That’s so awesome”, I just thought they were flirting with these girls and when I turned around to see what was up they freaked out and were hugging me telling me how much they loved me. These are always funny moments and they happen quite frequently, I love all of the fans, I wouldn’t have this if it wasn’t for them!
What are your future plans?
I have a lot more that I want to share. I’ve written a lot of new songs, a lot of these songs are responses to things I’ve seen on face book, you tube, comments and things that people have left me, many of them negative, I feel like people think they know me and they know my mission in life but they’re wrong. I want to use my music as a platform to show the world that there are many brilliant and talented people in the deaf community, it would be awesome to see a deaf senator on the hill, to see a deaf CEO of a hearing company. My music is the means to opening doors and most of all I want to inspire young kids to chase their dreams. I’ve never let my deafness define me, I’ve embraced it, this is who I am and that’s what I want to share.
Completely Silly Random Questions:
What is the most unusual thing that has happened to you while on vacation?
I once walked down the beach on a windy day with a long roll of toilet paper hanging out the back of my swimsuit, my mom was laughing her ass off when she saw it…..
If you had only six months left to live, what would you do with the time?
I would probably put out one last album, have a huge concert to say good-bye to everyone, spend lots of time with my family and loved ones.
You have the choice to live with a gorilla who knows sign language or a dog who sings lullabies, which do you choose?
I would go with the dog that sings lullabies, at least I could sing along sometimes and if I don’t want to listen I can take my hearing aid off!!! The gorilla would just be a scary presence, can you imagine waking up to that AHHHHH KOKO STOP DOING THAT!!!
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I would like to be able to fly or teleport because then I could be home every night after shows and not have to sleep in hotel rooms or eat crappy food on the road!!!
What was your favorite toy as a kid?
The Robocop toy that you put paper roll caps in the back and it makes little gun noises. One time I was so mad at my parents for grounding me to my room that I took a piece of Kleenex and put it close to the paper roll cap and set it off and the Kleenex caught on fire, I almost burned the house down!!!!
My favorite part: The questionnaire concept was originated by French television personality Bernard Pivot on his show Apostrophes, after the Proust Questionnaire.
The ten questions Lipton asks are:
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on?
Sushi, I end up dancing in my chair while eating it.
What turns you off?
What sound or noise do you love?
What sound or noise do you hate?
Anything extremely high pitched and close by my ear.
What is your favorite curse word?
I like them all, I would probably go with #1 being shit, I use it quite frequently too.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Lip-reading for the CIA
What profession would you not like to do?
Clean porta potty’s.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?