Sean Forbes | If A Deaf Person Can Make A Career In The Music Business, What’s Stopping You From Chasing Your Dreams?!

Sean Forbes

If A Deaf Person Can Make A Career In The Music Business, What’s Stopping You From Chasing Your Dreams?!

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Detroit, Michigan, United States

Sean Forbes

Despite becoming profoundly deaf at a year old, Sean has always been passionate about a career in music. 

Growing up in a musical family with roots in Detroit, Sean started playing drums at 5 years old. He picked up the guitar, and started writing songs as a teenager. While attending college at Rochester Institute of Technology, where the National Technical Institute for the Deaf is located, he realized his true calling was making music accessible for the deaf community.   

In 2006 he co-founded a nonprofit called D-PAN, The Deaf Professional Arts Network and worked out of the same studio with fellow Detroit rapper Eminem. D-PAN produced several high quality American Sign Language music videos for many mainstream artists including John Mayer, The White Stripes, and Christina Aguilera. 

Realizing that media & entertainment was still inaccessible to the deaf community, D-PAN created a streaming platform called DPAN.TV The Sign Language Channel, and produced original content that could be enjoyed by all. DPAN.TV produced accessible livestreams in American Sign Language for cultural events such as The Super Bowl Halftime Show, The 2016 & 2020 presidential debates, and more. Today D-PAN works with many high profile clients providing captions, American Sign Language access, production services and more. 

Sean has released 2 albums of original music and has performed all over the world. His 2nd album Little Victories went to #1 on several hip-hop charts. 

Sean is passionate about the deaf community and improving the lives of deaf people daily. Sean uses his music as proof that if you truly want to do something, there is nothing stopping you. 

In 2022 Sean got the opportunity of a lifetime and was invited to perform at Super Bowl LVI halftime show providing the American Sign Language performance for his rap heroes Dr.Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem. 

Sean Forbes
Featured Videos

Current: America with Jorge Ramos

Time 06:43

More Videos From Sean Forbes

America with Jorge Ramos
Time 06:43
ASL Lose Yourself Super Bowl LVI
Time 01:57
BBC with Evelyn Glennie
Time 08:44
TEDx: Music + Accessibility = What Matters Next
Time 06:43

Deaf And Loud

Sean puts on an energetic 45 minute musical performance of original compositions, and sometimes a cover song or two. The performance is combined with visual lyrics & videos, with Sean often sharing personal stories that audiences find funny & entertaining. He performs with his voice and signs simultaneously in American Sign Language. 

Learning American Sign Language

Sean didn’t learn American Sign Language until he was 11 years old. While many would view Sean’s ability to speak and communicate orally good enough, he shares why American Sign Language actually gave him a voice, and a belonging. Sean continues to view himself as a student of Sign Language to this day.

Chasing Your Dreams

Sean shares his story of overcoming odds as a person with profound hearing loss since early childhood to chasing his musical ambitions by making very calculated decisions and taking advantage of opportunities. The goal is to inspire others who might need that extra push toward chasing their ambitions. 

Sean Forbes
Featured Review

TEDxNASA - Music + Accessibility = What Matters Next

  "Def" has been a part of the hip-hop lexicon since the early 1980s, but for Sean Forbes it means something different. A profoundly deaf musician, Forbes suffered permanent...
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