June 19, 2014
Photo Credit: Peter Gurnz
Few understand second chances better than John E. Forte. On November 24, 2008, President George W. Bush granted the petition for commutation submitted by 33-year-old Forte, a classically trained violinist and Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and producer from Brooklyn, New York. Famous for his work with the multi-platinum group “The Fugees,” Forte was the quintessential rising star before landing himself in a federal penitentiary. His was one of only eleven commutations granted by President Bush during his eight years in office – a testament to the dedication of those who tirelessly campaigned on his behalf, including iconic singer Carly Simon and noted conservative Senator Orrin Hatch (R) of Utah.
A brilliant young prodigy and dedicated student, Forte was awarded a full scholarship to the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy and attended New York University until his career took off in the music industry. While working as an A&R executive for Rawkus Entertainment, Forte met Lauryn Hill and began working closely with “The Fugees.” Forte co-wrote and produced two songs on the multi-platinum, Grammy Award winning album, The Score. He went on to record two solo albums, PolySci (Columbia) and I, John (Transparent) which featured industry legends Herbie Hancock, Trick Esthero, and Carly Simon.