Forest Blakk Opens Up About Tumultuous Childhood

Forrest Block has been trying to write songs for his nana for over a decade.

“She was my stepdad’s stepmom and she was the first safe place in my life,” Black tells PEOPLE in an emotional interview. “I was 15 years old when I walked in with her with two garbage bags and a backpack. I got off at the train station in Montreal and I just ran into her arms. She welcomed me into her home. It was the first moment. Hold my breath. She was my first hope. There was a glimpse.”

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Indeed, the boy who would one day become an acclaimed singer/songwriter had experienced a very turbulent life up to that point.

“I think the word ‘tumultuous’ almost understates how overwhelming it was,” Black says quietly. “I didn’t have anyone to encourage me before. My dad would take that feeling away from me. If I tried to play hockey, he would pay me to score goals, when all I wanted was my dad to show up to the games.”

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Forest Black.
Jimmy Fontaine

There’s a silence, as if Black isn’t quite sure if he wants to continue this trip down somewhat scary memory lane.

“My father sold me 10 grams of cocaine to my step-grandfather and my step-father bought my name from him. bought I from him.” He pauses. “I was moving 10 times a year. My father was a hooligan. I saw guns being pulled on people at a young age. I saw someone trying to kill [my father] At our front door. The man shot him several times, but he survived.”

Thankfully, Black finds safety in Nana’s basement and finds an emotional outlet in guitar strings. It was on that instrument that Black eventually wrote “I Hope You Know” with Steven Solomon, David Hodges, Drew Kennedy – a song now featured on his new single. Every little detail EP.

“I wrote this song to say that I hope you know that every day I’m here doing something, every time I play a tune, every time I make an album or an EP or I go out and I play for an audience, I really think about you. doing,” Black says of the musical tribute to his nana.

Forrest Black and Tooley Jones.
Derrick Berkman

It’s amazing that despite the brutal challenges Black has faced, he’s found a way to serve as a producer of heartfelt songs like “Give You Love,” “Fall Into Me,” and “If You Love Her.” But come to find out, “If You Love Her” also came from a certain pain.

“In the midst of making my second EP from the side Black says of the song he wrote with Steven Solomon and I was on tour for about 22 months. And I haven’t really told anyone, but she’s having an affair at home. My whole life slipped out from under me.”

In 2019, Black returned to Los Angeles and was living in a car rented for him by his label, trying to find ways to survive on little money and little confidence in his future. But amid that pain came “If You Love Her,” Black’s breakout single, which has amassed more than 310 million global streams.

“It was the biggest gift I’ve ever received in my career,” says Black, who embarks on a 17-date North American headlining tour in January.

“I think the reason it connects with so many people is because love, even though it’s complicated, it’s very simple in the sense of what you have to do. Just be kind. Say ‘I love you.’ You don’t need a big house, you need a big house. Don’t need things. Sometimes it’s the little subtle gestures that really shape a love story.”

Forrest Black and Tooley Jones.
Derrick Berkman

And now, Black is living out his ultimate love story with his new fiancée, Tooley Jones.

“I feel like the whole world was black and white until the day I saw her,” Black raves. “And then everything just happened with her. It changed my whole life.”


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