When I first met him, I wasn’t sure what to think about this guy. He had icey, steel blue eyes, cold… super cold. Kinda like he wanted to fight me. There was hurt, there was anger there was a lot of stuff inside there. I had heard stories and really just tried to be open and has a beer with the guy. The band I was playing drums in with Noel Johnson fronting had an all ages show in the early part of 2010 down at The New Black Centre here in YYC. Makeshift Innocence was sharing the bill, and as a big fan of their stuff, I was super pumped to get to meet and hang and be a part of it… even if it was only an acoustic duo kind of thing. He fronted this band, who later went on to be nominated for a Juno for reggae recording of the year in 2013 for “Yours To Keep”. He’s shared the stage with incredible talents internationally, worked with some of the very best in the industry, and sure, that came with unbelievable dedication to the craft. But I’ll still remember him just a bit differently and I don’t think he’d be where he is if he didn’t pay attention to the most important instrument he has; himself. This is my account of one of the most inspired and inspiring humans I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.
As some of you know, I’m kind of a clown. I’m a drummer, I play around with production, guitar but I really love all styles of music. I love hip-hop, reggae, old school R & B, soul, you name it. I guess Noel mentioned this prior to our show because what happened that night was both awesome and humbling for me.
He got to the mic and thanked the room and introduced his last song something like this “I hear Noel’s drummer, Schwartz is a renowned rapper.. so I’d like to have him up here for a little collab to finish things off…”
Of course I was down. We teamed up for a classic medley of Fresh Prince/What I’ve Got and then he let me take the first verse in a freestyle – I think I said something about my Nintendo hat and my Matt Good Tee Shirt. Humbling. After about 17 minutes when he could pick himself off the floor from laughing so hard, he then went on to slay a verse of his own and we all had a great time. I thought, “man, this dude is a talent”. But couldn’t help to think why he felt so cold inside.
Fast forward nearly 7 years. Forest Blakk is more than a musical departure. His lifestyle, his persona, his wellbeing – everything. He’s taken up a massive transformation of strength, wellness and cool inside and out. As the ambassador of health and wellness in the music community here in Canada, I am moved by the dedication to the highest for – his health. He’s a true foot soldier in the constant battle we each face. Whether it’s owning your own personal demons of the past, overcoming physical limitations set in front of you, repairing relationships and loving again, becoming “cool with you” or anything else.. you will find it. One percent at a time, each day just making a bit more progress. Follow Fitting Forest. I guarantee his message will move you beyond that comfort zone that you might be stuck in. You are a rock star, you are successful and you just need a way to express it to yourself, the near and dear and the world. Sometimes you just need a push, a game plan. Maybe the end seems so far and unreachable…whether it’s professional help from a guy like me, or a daily message from those like Forest that are on that path and taking on the same challenges you might face… whatever it takes… you can do it. Believe in yourself. Health is the most important gift you can give youself.
Follow Forest for Inspiration and to see his Transformation –
Check out “Yours To Keep” on the Apple Store for some incredible inspiration in the form of reggae induced, beautiful poetry from the heart.
Thanks for reading. Go get it!