Appears on: Still 50! China Forbes with the Oregon Symphony
China Forbes was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts and graduated cum laude from Harvard, majoring in Visual Arts and English Literature with a minor in Theater. After winning the Jonathan Levy Prize at Harvard for "most promising actor," Forbes earned her Equity card appearing in New York regional theater and off-Broadway productions while also performing regularly as a singer/songwriter in NYC clubs. Her first album Love Handle (November Records) was released in 1995 and she was chosen to sing "Ordinary Girl," the theme song to the TV show Clueless (ABC/UPN).
Also in 1995, Harvard friend and classmate Thomas Lauderdale invited her to sing with Portland, Oregon band Pink Martini, and she has fronted the little orchestra ever since. Co-writing many of Pink Martini's most beloved songs with Lauderdale beginning with "Sympathique (Jene veux pas travailler)," the duo also composed "Lilly," "Hang on Little Tomato," "Una Notte a Napoli," and "Let's ever Stop Falling in Love," among many others. In 2000, "Sympathique" was nominated for song of the year at (the French Grammy awards) Les Victoires de la Musique.
Forbes's original song "Hey Eugene" is the title track of Pink Martini's third album and also appears on her second solo album 78 (Heinz Records), a collection of autobiographical folk-rock songs. Her voice and songs have been featured prominently on acclaimed film and television soundtracks such as Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Weekend Away, Hitch, Emily in Paris, Parks and Rec, Money Heist, Sherlock and season two of The White Lotus. She sings "Que Sera, Sera" over the credits of Jane Campion's film In the Cut, and her original song "The Northern Line" plays over the end credits of sister Maya Forbes' directorial debut Infinitely Polar Bear (Sony Pictures Classics).
With Pink Martini, Forbes has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Later with Jools Holland. She bas duetted with legendary artists including Rufus Wainwright, Michael Feinstein, Carol Channing and Little Jimmy Scott. Singing in over 20 languages on nine Pink Martini studio albums, China and Pink Martini have graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, Red Rocks, the Hollywood Bowl, Paris's l'Olympia, the Sydney Opera House and Royal Albert Hall.
Last year, China Forbes released her post pandemic anthem "Full Circle" followed by her suicide prevention anthem "Rise," both singles from her third solo album, slated for release in September 2023. She is the recipient of the 2022 Ella Fitzgerald Award at the Montreal International Jazz Festival; prevjous winners include Diana Ross, Etta James, Liza Minelli, Diana Krall and Aretha Franklin.