Gilbere Forte has spent the last two and a half years pouring himself into his newly released, ten track mixtape PRAY, and it shows. Between the production skills of engineer mastermind RAAK and the definitive, newfound confidence in Forte’s performance, PRAY is easily a hit.
It’s no wonder that the young, Temple made emcee recently caught the attention of L.A. Reid, who quickly signed him to Epic Records. With all of the buzz going on around Forte, we wanted to catch up with him on his journey to superstardom to discuss the PRAY mixtape, his feelings on rising to fame and his vegan cooking skills.
(photo by Nikko La Mere)
Gilbere Forte: Honestly, I can. I just look at this as a huge step for me from where I started. I’m happy about the growth I’ve had and the time I’ve had to educate myself on how I want to make my music and how I want it to be heard. I’m happy that I’m at the position now where I can speak globally and more to the masses. People are really receiving the risk that I’ve decided to take. I’m able to expose myself emotionally and expose what I’ve been through. It feels really good.
215: The track “Nolita” really embodies everything that you feel when going through a breakup. When you finished the song, did you feel relieved of all of the pain in your system?
GF: That particular record allowed me to have a lot of clarity and to dig deep into a space that I was in for a very long time. It allowed me to develop and move past these emotions that I was holding onto.
We all hold onto these things that we can’t get rid of or move past or move forward from. I wanted to allow people to step into my environment and see that I’m just like them. We all go through terrible situations like this… and my issue was super fucked up.
(photo by Tim Blackwell)
215: It’s often hard for male emcees to portray their feelings without being labeled as “weak”. Did you feel nervous about revealing so much about yourself and unleashing so many different emotions to the public?
GF: Not at all. I felt like “this is the moment that I’m going to give myself to my passion”. My dream is be successful to the sense that I can inspire people through my work. So, the way that I see it is that I want people to get to know who I am. It’s important to be able to understand who the artist is and that they too are just like you. That’s imperative.
215: “Down for the ride” is a track that gives listeners a sense of encouragement to keep doing what they’re doing. Are there any artists or songs in particular that have given you that push to keep moving forward even when you felt you like didn’t want to anymore?
GF: Well, one important thing that I feel as a musician is that you need to be your own inspiration. I felt like I encouraged myself and moved myself forward. That’s why it sounded so strong and mood driven. I was able to inspire myself to frame my words and dig deep into my project. Overall I basically want the project to help me restore faith and confidence in myself musically. Me being able to touch on these issues and subjects gave me the sensitivity to accomplish my goals.
215: If you had to convince someone to download PRAY with one song, which would you recommend and why?
GF: I would have to choose “The Streets Are Crashing”. Musically, for me, that particular song is one of my favorite records on the project. I had the most fun making it. It was so refreshing and brand new and it felt like a brand new day for hip-hop music.
I was inspired to even work on a track like that and just turn on the reality of things. I am at the point where there is no turning back. I just have to go for it now. Everyone wants to see me win, I’ve got to go do it.
(photo by Tim Blackwell)
215: From 87 Dreams to PRAY, what has changed the most about you and your style?
GF: I’ve really just grown as a human being between that point and where I’m at now. I was given an opportunity to go through some major things that made me stronger; issues that broke me down and made me want to be stronger. It really just gave me an opportunity to become this person.
For me music is a diary, it’s a journal. I’d like to share that with the world and get my point across, that’s really what I want to accomplish. From that space I gave myself the chance to really learn about what I want to make and how I want people to perceive it.
215: When you need a break from writing, rehearsing and recording. What do you like to do to blow off steam?
I like to hike. Meditation is very strong vice for me. It keeps me thinking very clearly and it keeps my mind empty when I need to get back to work. When I want to get back into the studio I have such a clear state of mind and my approach is never influenced by anything but myself.
GF: I hear you’re a great cook. Do you ever cook vegan dinners for your friends (specifically lady friends)?
Absolutely. Vegan food is the happiest meal you can make for anybody. I love to cook.
215: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever gotten?
Honestly, I’d have to say – “It’s important to not confuse who you are with what you want and what you’ve attained so far.”
I’ve carried that thought with me and applied it to any form possible. Whether its music, fashion, cooking, or making friends, you don’t want to lose what made you perfect. You always have to remember that the thing that makes you an individual is what makes you stand out among the rest… no matter what.
Download PRAY at GilbereForte.com
Check out the visuals for his single “Pray” below: