John Forté & Firehorse - 1/6

Sunday, January 06 2013 6:00pm Doors / 8:00pm Start
Sun Jan 06 2013

John Forté & Firehorse - 1/6

at City Winery New York City





First recognized for his work with the multi-platinum group “The Fugees,” today, Forté is a recording artist and the Chief Executive Officer of Le Castle, a company he co-founded in 2011 as a production company for various projects in music, film and other creative fields

Forté, a classically trained violinist, grew up in one of Brooklyn's most dangerous neighborhoods. A brilliant young prodigy and dedicated student, Forté was awarded a full scholarship to the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy and attended New York University. He first achieved acclaim in the music industry while writing, producing and performing with the celebrated hip hop group The Fugees during the 1990s. Forté collaborated on The Fugees’ multi-platinum award-winning album The Score, for which he received a Grammy nomination.  To date, Forté has also released four solo albums.

In 2011, Forté embarked on a journey of personal redemption through honesty and hard work in music and other creative projects with the goal of building bridges that transcend cultural divides. After a seven year hiatus, Forté resumed his music career and returned to the recording studio to release StyleFREE, his first EP in eight years.

In 2011, Forté served as the subject of a feature-length documentary about his life, entitled “The Russian Winter,” which is premiered at The Tribeca Film Festival on April 20, 2012. The documentary chronicles a nine-week tour, which brought Forté and his band from Moscow to St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Kazan, and other stops along the Trans-Siberian Railway. The film has gone on to screen at The Moscow International Film Festival, and IDFA in Amsterdam and is available on iTunes in the USA.

In 2012, John was a featured cast member in The Exonerated, a critically acclaimed theater production dramatizing the real-life stories of six individuals who were released from death row amidst overwhelming evidence of their innocence

In a series of new and upcoming projects produced by Le Castle, Forté attempts to go beyond solely playing music for a crowd in favor of more collaborative efforts with a farther-reaching vision, including speaking engagements, film projects, and producing other artists. “Every day I strive to make something beautiful, bringing the best out of an artist that I can,” explains Forté of his work with Le Castle.




The gorgeously hypnotizing music of Firehorse references luminaries like Jeff Buckley, PJ Harvey and Florence and the Machine. However, Firehorse makes a world unto their own, complete with ethereal flourishes, electronic beats and Siegel’s smoky vocals. Hypnotic and sexy grooves (“She’s A River”), haunting vocals that recall singers like Judy Garland and Doris Day (“My Left Eye”) and even bouncy pop rhythms (“Machete Gang Holiday”) all figure into the Firehorse repertoire. These seemingly disparate influences can be attributed to Siegel’s ability to design and assume different personas, sparked by a background in theater and singing in and co-writing commercials (Siegel wrote a song for a Topsy Foundation commercial, which won a Clio and an award at Cannes). This chameleon-like ability serves Firehorse well in creating a captivating listen.

The name Firehorse carries quite a large amount of significance to Leah Siegel. As she puts it, “When the Chinese zodiac was still determining personalities..., women born under the sign of the Firehorse were an abomination. A female Firehorse embodies all the abhorrent qualities {according to the culture}: independence, assertiveness and a free-spirit.” These qualities are evident in not only Siegel herself but the group’s music. Siegel commented, “As I wrote and so they ran faster…, I challenged myself not to be afraid of my desires, all my desires, and each one seemed potentially in conflict with the next. Firehorse reminds me to be exactly who I am, even if it means I’ll end up destitute and alone.” The writing for the album allowed Siegel to find the courage to write her true feelings and deepest fears, such as experiencing joy after a moment of total surrender (“Our Hearts”) and the illusion of childhood innocence (“Young”).

Even with several side projects (and her own clothing line in the works), Leah Siegel remains deeply committed to Firehorse. As she says, “I spent six years in the trenches barely breathing and built a career entirely on my own. No agent, no manager - just based on the strength of my voice as a singer and a writer. I'm a work horse. I want to work, and I want to work hard. Horses, you know, they run until they kill themselves. That's how I am.” There’s no doubt, based up on the strength of and so they ran faster…, Firehorse will be running for quite awhile.