“Many people think that deaf people can’t do anything when, in reality, we can do everything except hear,” says Detroit-based deaf rapper SEAN FORBES. “I felt that by making a difference as a musician who happens to be deaf would lead people, especially those who struggle with identity, to be able to say, ‘Hey, if Sean Forbes can become a deaf musician, I can do anything’.” Inspiring words from a young man who has had to not only overcome adversity but has inspired others to do the same. On April 2, 2013, Sean Forbes will have the opportunity to inspire an even larger community with the national release of his debut album, Perfect Imperfection (D-PAN Entertainment / Web Entertainment / Kobalt Music Group).
“When I first started getting really serious with music, I thought to myself, ‘How can I make a difference?’” he recalls. “The best advice I got was from my Uncle Denny who was a musician, songwriter, and sound engineer that worked with Bob Seger, Anita Baker, and Barry Manilow to name a few. He told me, ‘Sean, create your own path, don’t try to be like Eminem. Don’t try to be like Kid Rock. Do something that has never been done before.’ Those were words I ran with.” Forging his own path with a very distinctive and fascinating blend of hiphop and pop, Sean’s music was so transcendent that it attracted the ears of the Bass Brothers who signed him to Web Entertainment, the same label that launched another seminal Detroit rapper, Eminem. Said Jeff Bass to mLive.com, “Sean doesn’t quit. He’s so hungry… He would break all barriers.”
From the call-to-attention opening track “We Interrupt This Program” to the funky and cheeky “Bob Dylan (Was The First Rapper)” to the R&B smoothness of “The Maze”, Perfect Imperfection is an incredibly strong album not only in message but in music as well. Sean describes the autobiographical “Watch These Hands”:“This is my life story in a nutshell. I didn’t grow up the same way as many other kids. I had to ride a short bus an hour to school every day and an hour back with other peers from different walks of life. It really opens your eyes and it’s definitely one of the reasons I’ve turned towards making my music empowering and meaningful….. ‘Watch These Hands, they can dance, they can sing, they can dance’… They can and they will.”
With accolades and praise from his local Detroit media, his story and music soon branched out to the attention of NPR’s Weekend Edition, Fox News, and Crain’s Business who included him in their annual “20 in Their 20s” list in 2010. A successful songwriter, an accomplished percussionist, Sean grew up in Detroit where his musician parents filled their home with the sounds of Motor City, including artists who inspired his passion for music such as Mitch Ryder, Bob Seger, The Funk Brothers, and more. Despite the loss of hearing as a baby, Sean soaked up the beats and vibrations, experiencing music in a whole new way. Inspired by what he calls “The Three B’s” – The Beastie Boys, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan – Sean began his musical career by making music videos in his basement; he currently produces professional video clips with a focus on the deaf and hard of hearing community. Sean is also the co-founder of The Deaf Professional Arts Network (D-PAN), a non-profit organization that focuses on translating popular artists’ songs into American Sign Language music videos for the deaf.
“This is the year for the deaf community,” Sean says about why he’s excited for the national launch of Perfect Imperfection. “I really think that we’re at the tipping point, the past few years have been really good to [the deaf community] as far as accessibility. From watching television shows that are captioned, to making phone calls with Video Relay Service where an onscreen interpreter relays what the person is saying on the other line, to the production of television shows like Switched at Birth featuring my good friend Marlee Matlin that are encouraging young kids and adults to learn American Sign Language because it’s “COOL”… it’s truly a great time to be a deaf person!”
“My goal this year is to make many new friends, perform in many new places, perform around the world, reach out to bigger audiences, go on TV shows,” he concludes. “I’m up for anything and everything. Most of all I know that if the world sees me and what I do, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.”
Sean Forbes’ debut album Perfect Imperfection will be released nationally on April 2, 2013 on D-PAN Entertainment / Web Entertainment / Kobalt Music Group. A U.S. tour is being planned and will be announced soon!