“I was going through the frustrations of ‘Who am I?’ How am I going to present myself to the world?”
Forest, a 24-year-old recording artist out of Compton, California, speaks on his relationship with life and music, and how it has helped him find his worth. His debut album, UNDRWATER, provides us with a glimpse of just that as it reflects his journey to self-realization. The project speaks on topics such as love, loss, family, struggle, near death experience, and one creating his own destiny. “UNDRWATER was about me drowning in my thoughts; being frustrated, willing myself- to self.” He explains.
Although music has become a therapeutic, reflection tool for the young artist, it had not always been his primary focus growing up. However, he always made sure he was doing something productive. “I was trying to be involved in everything, and stay away from the streets. Even in middle school, a lot of my homies were dying. It was crazy.” Since his adolescence, Forest was involved in sports and extracurricular activities. He shined in football and received accolades for his performance and hard work; but it was band class that acted as the catalyst for the Hip-Hop artist that he would later on become. Forest joked about it being a free class to not do anything, but also added that he was taught many things about music. “We learned about snare drums and 808’s, but all we would play was Drop It Like It’s Hot by Snoop Dogg.” He chuckled. But for the most part “everyone would just freestyle. One day I hopped in, and their reaction was ‘Damn, you can really rap.’ It became a go-to thing.”
Forest started rapping at the age of sixteen. In the following years to come, he would also discover that he could sing, adding to the uniqueness of his sound. Everything that he experienced in his coming of age would then align with the realization and the utilizing of his gifts. The background became the build up. Forest has had more than a fair share of traumatic experiences, but he came to realize one very important thing- he was not his circumstances. While dealing with the strong presence of gang violence as a youth, and being shot in his own front yard as a teenager, Forest grew and learned from difficult experiences such as these, and realized his power. He realized that he had purpose- that the changing of the world would start with the changing of his world.
“It wasn’t until UNDRWATER was completed that I became aware of what I had really gone through. It allowed me to mirror myself.” Forest was more than proud of the completion and the release of his project, as it allowed him to reflect and share his story with those receiving it. “I wanted to drop something to give myself something to believe in.” He added. While proving to himself that he was capable of achieving what he set in his mind to do, he has also begun to inspire many others in the process. His diligent, compassionate, and genuine aura transcends into his music, properly displaying his greatest inspiration. Love. “I feel it’s more so an energy, you don’t really think about the lyrics. You go into the booth and it comes out naturally. When you don’t have a person that’s feeding you love, your project is more mindful.” He then went on to add how UNDRWATER was one of those mindful projects.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Forest in the studio and was able to catch him in his natural element. It was easy to see that music is second nature to him. In between conversation he played some unreleased tracks that he had been working on which ranged from different genres. He then introduced the idea of his new body of work that he would be releasing soon- an album of love records inspired by his girlfriend of two and a half years. “I want to motivate women by letting them know that good men still exist, and that they are the greatest inspiration to man whether we admit it or not.” One could easily perceive him as a very passionate person from the way that he moves and in the way that he speaks- passionate about what he feels, what he believes in, and what he has put in his mind to do. As he continued conversation I recognized how high his respectability is for women by how strongly he spoke of them; and in taking it a step further by displaying this in his music, I can’t help but commend him in advance for how great the impact will be. Not only is he encouraging and uplifting women, but he is also setting a positive example for men and breaking barriers while doing so. “Beyond companionship I want women to know as well as men, that even the idea of finding love can will a confidence that helps them understand their worth and what they deserve. ”Forest is undoubtedly using his platform to form and execute creative ideas for the betterment of the people. Although we have been introduced to him as a Hip-Hop artist, time will reveal just how multifaceted he his. There is much more in store for him as a creator and those on the receiving end, as he plans for ownership and many other business ventures.
Forest has a light that illuminates from the inside out; a strong spirit that is felt in any room he steps into, a sense of maturity and wisdom that has been attained through life’s experiences, and a heart of gold that is dedicated to inspiring and creating change through his craft. “I want people to know that when I say I found myself, I don’t mean that I’m complete. I want them to know that I found a version of myself, a version that gave me purpose. I have a lot more growing to do, more denial to break through, but if the people who listen to my music can love me through it all, I’ll be the artist they want to see or become one day.”
Cover Photo photographed by Rachel Gist
Featured Photo’s photographed by SoulFull