China Forbes

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China Forbes
Forbes with Pink Martini in concert, 2014
Forbes with Pink Martini in concert, 2014
Background information
Born (1970-04-29) April 29, 1970 (age 51)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Associated actsPink Martini

China Forbes (born April 29, 1970) is an American singer and songwriter who has been the lead singer of the band Pink Martini since 1995.

Life and career[edit]

The daughter of Peggy (née Woodford) and Donald Cameron Forbes, China Forbes was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[1] Her father was of French and Scottish descent, and her mother is African-American.[2][3] She attended Phillips Exeter Academy ('88),[4] then studied visual arts at Harvard University,[1] where she met Thomas Lauderdale, a classically trained pianist.[5] They became friends and met regularly to play music together.[5] At Harvard, she won the Jonathan Levy Prize for acting.

After graduating in 1992, Forbes worked as an actress for several years, performing Off-Broadway in New York City. She then became a musician, forming a band and recording a solo album. She sang the song "Ordinary Girl" for the television series Clueless and "Que Sera Sera" over the credits for the movie In the Cut.[1] While living in Portland, Oregon, Lauderdale asked her to sing with Pink Martini, a band he had assembled to play at political fundraisers. After three years commuting from New York, she moved to Portland in 1998 to work full-time with the band.[5] Forbes and Lauderdale co-wrote the band's hit "Sympathique (Je ne Veux Pas Travailler)" among many other band originals.

Apart from her work with Pink Martini, she has released solo albums, including Love Handle (November 1995) and '78 (Heinz 2008) which includes her song "Hey Eugene" in its original version. She is featured on Michael Feinstein's album The Sinatra Project, singing a duet of "How Long Will It Last?".[6] She recorded two songs in French with Georges Moustaki for his album Solitaire.

She is a cousin of former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and indie-rock musician Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear.[7] Her sister is Maya Forbes, a screenwriter and director.[8]


  • 1995 Love Handle
  • 1996 Ordinary Girl
  • 2008 ' 78

With Pink Martini

  • 1997 Sympathique
  • 2004 Hang on Little Tomato
  • 2007 Hey Eugene!
  • 2009 Splendor in the Grass
  • 2010 Joy to the World
  • 2011 A Retrospective
  • 2013 Get Happy
  • 2016 Je Dis Oui!

With others


  1. ^ a b c "Meet the Band". Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  2. ^ Jane Cornwell (April 24, 2008). "The Pink Martini girl gets serious". The Telegraph. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  3. ^ Bill Cribbs. "Harvard University Obituary and Death Notice Collection - 71". Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  4. ^ Bill Ewing (Winter 2002). "China Forbes '88: Finding Her Own Voice". The Exeter Bulletin. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Speaking in tongues, an April 2005 article about Forbes and Pink Martini from The Guardian "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 18, 2005. Retrieved 2005-04-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^ Stephen Holden (August 31, 2008). "Feinstein Comes Full Swing to Capitol-Era Sinatra". The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  7. ^ "The Pink Martini girl gets serious". Telegraph. April 24, 2008. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  8. ^ John Horn (January 21, 2014). "Maya Forbes revisits her childhood in 'Infinitely Polar Bear'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  9. ^ "China Forbes | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 May 2017.

External links[edit]