Sean Forbes is a musician on a mission. An accomplished and passionate drummer, rhythm pours out of him, when he breathes, walks, types at his keyboard or hits his drums. Music is in his blood, his cells; it’s just the way he is.
He’s also deaf – and out to build a badly needed bridge between the music industry and deaf people everywhere.
Sean grew up in Detroit where his parents, both musicians, filled their home with the sounds of the Motor City: Mitch Ryder, Bob Seger, the Funk Brothers and more. Despite losing his hearing as a baby, Sean soaked up the beats and the vibrations, experiencing great music in his own way.
Inspired by what he calls “The Three B’s” (the Beastie Boys, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan), Sean started out making music videos in his basement and today is producing professional music videos with a focus on the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. He is a voice for not only his generation but deaf culture. He is co-founder of D-PAN, The Deaf Professional Arts Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on translating popular artists’ songs into American Sign Language music videos for the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities.
With his passion for music, Sean has opened the door to musical expression – a world historically considered off limits to people in the deaf community. His dream of music for all has helped to transform the way deaf people perceive music. Through his videos and his outreach to deaf people everywhere – particularly young people eager to feel included in popular culture – music is being presented to them as a beautiful symphony of thought and expression, available to all. The hearing community, too, is fascinated by his ASL translations of musical hits and is clamoring for more. Since 2008, Forbes has also performed in over 20 cities across the US; including college campuses, live venues, and at retailers such as Borders and Barnes & Noble. To date, Forbes has appeared in front of over 15,000 people.
Sean Forbes is living proof that if you have enough passion and dedication, magic happens and dreams come true. “The world is run by those who show up,” he says, “And I’m showing up.”