The traveller’s experience is one envied by many. Throughout his life, Duane Forrest, the newest artist to be signed to Traaxx Music, has been in the thick of many cultures, and now residing in Toronto, has previously had the luck to have lived in Mexico, Honduras, and Puerto Rico amongst others. Perhaps then, it is no surprise that his adventurous life and Jamaican heritage has allowed Duane to so naturally weave the styles of Bossa Nova, Jazz, Reggae, and Soul to create an organic and diverse sound.
A rough neighbourhood in a Toronto government housing complex could have led to a different path in life except from the blessing that has saved so many before him, music. From a young age, his appetite to delve deeper into the world of the arts has drawn him to many instruments, and techniques that have built and built into the ‘Apple in the Tree’ series. The concept grew from an experience Duane had during a spiritual trip to Mexico, upon encountering a glimpse of love when it was least expected. The experience struck a chord when “One day she told me this story. “I’m an apple in the tree, in this tree there are many apples within reach, even some on the ground are easy to pick up, but for me, you’ll have to climb…” Needless to say, this stuck with me. Also, the woman that she was, the confidence etc. stuck with me. What she brought out of me also was very important. So, I wanted to tell that story, that journey.”
Through the profits and influence of his music, Duane has recently founded a non-profit charity called ‘Genesis Community of the Arts’. Genesis equips and sends teachers in the arts to marginalised places around the globe. Currently, Genesis has teachers placed in Copán Ruinas, Honduras, Choloma, Honduras and Panajachel, Guatemala. The goal of Genesis is to give marginalised people around the globe education in the arts, some for the first time. They are granted this opportunity through classes in music, dance, and visual arts. The hope is that through Genesis, they will discover something beautiful: creativity, much like the story of Duane’s journey.
“My music is about my personal growth as a man, what that means, and how that looks as I interact with a woman. The ups and downs. This album is called ‘The Climb’. It’s about the work, the hard work it takes to rise to a place where perhaps I could be with the woman of my dreams.” Duane’s heartfelt words are matched by the intimate hushed tones that swirl along throughout ‘The Climb’. For Duane, the release is an important one mentally. “I wrote most of this music after going through some hard times so it’s very personal. Learning to be OK and happy with myself before moving into a relationship with others. And then there are my hopes and dreams there as well.”