Lisa Forkish
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Lisa Forkish


Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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"Young Singer's CD Has Been Years In The Making"

By Serena Markstrom

Published: August 8, 2008 12:00AM

Lisa Forkish is only 23 years old, so it's hard to imagine that anything in her young life has been a long time coming.

But she's done many musical laps for her age, having spent years in high school choruses, another patch of time as musical director of Divisi at the University of Oregon. Most recently she worked on a performance degree at Berklee College in Boston.

But now, finally, emphasis for her on finally, she is releasing her first CD of solo material, "Between You and Me." She has moved back to the West Coast from Boston, now living in Portland, and as she says in her opening track, "Twenty-Two," she's ready to "play this game."

Around here, people likely know her best for her years with the UO a cappella group Divisi, which author Mickey Rapkin chose as one of the subjects of his recent book, "Pitch Perfect: The Quest for College A Cappella Glory." Forkish has a large role in the book, commensurate with her large role in poising Divisi for national prominence in the genre, and as Rapkin argues, subculture.

While in Boston Forkish formed an a cappella group of professional women, but it was short lived, she says, because members had other priorities.

Recording and releasing a solo album became one of Forkish's priorities in 2007, when she wrote new songs, then went into production last winter.

She says in an e-mail interview that she has been writing songs since she was 11, but once her band got into the studio in January, it laid down the tracks quickly and it was only about a month before the project was completed.

- The Register Guard

"Lisa Forkish paints an image of emotion"

Lisa Forkish paints an image of emotion with her unapologetic delivery and original perspective on inter-personalities. She is an expressive dynamo, whose music is happily theatrical; it divines response from the listener by accessing memories of common experience.

-Nate Dube, Music Producer and Engineer (Godsmack, Susan Tedeschi) (Oct 15, 2008)
- Rear Window Studios

"Former Divisi Director Now Going Solo!"

Lisa forkish, a former UO Divisi member and music director, took off to Berklee college of music in boston upon graduating form the group. She studied there for two years and has since launched a solo performing career, along with a debut album of original material! Her music covers a lot of ground, sometimes jazzy or bluesy, a little bit of folk and rock, the sparkle and heart of musical theatre, all infused with emotive lyrics, compelling yet catchy melodies and innovative, haunting harmonic progressions.

She even includes an a cappella arrangement of one of her originals, her voice on all six parts. also worth noting, a couple of the tracks were recorded at bill hare productions -- so this lady is definitely holding onto her aca roots, or at least the producer/engineer connections :) The moral of the story is that if you like divisi, you should definitely check out her solo album "between you and me." It's available on itunes and cd baby: Her artist homepage is I give it two solid w00t's.......let's support our peeps!

Peter Hollens -

"Berklee College of Music"

"I have been a teacher at the world famous Berklee College of Music for many years...and have heard numerous talented songwriters and performers from all over the world. Lisa Forkish ranks easily in the highest percentage of naturally gifted writers that I've had the pleasure of listening to. This wonderful young woman writes, plays, sings, and thinks like a fine-tuned professional. She most assuredly has the goods to make her mark in the music business. Watch for the name LISA FORKISH."

- Jon Aldrich, Associate Professor of Songwriting, Berklee College of Music
- none


"Between You and Me" (LP) Released February 2008
Available on iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon and more!

"With Her Heart In Her Mouth" (EP) Release May 2010
Now available on CDBaby!



A "gal Billy Joel!" exclaims Mark Simos, writer for Alison Krauss and professor at Berklee College of Music where Lisa was educated. Songwriter Jon Aldrich says "Watch for the name Lisa Forkish!"

Lisa Forkish is an Oakland-based songwriter, performing singer-composer-pianist, arranger, choral director and music educator. Lisa is on vocal faculty at Oakland School for the Arts where she directs their premier choir, most recently invited to perform at Governer Jerry Brown’s inauguration. Lisa had the honor of opening for k.d. lang at Hillary Clinton’s birthday party last fall, and has shared the stage with a number of distinguished artists including Bobby McFerrin, Pink Martini and Stephen Schwartz. A native Oregonian, Lisa was music director from 2003-2006 for the University of Oregon’s acclaimed female a cappella group, Divisi, featured in GQ editor Mickey Rapkin’s best-selling book “Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory” and 2nd place winner of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. Lisa’s arrangement of “So Are You To Me” performed by Divisi was nominated for a CARA (Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award).

Lisa grew up surrounded by music, playing violin, piano, and of course, singing. She began writing songs at the age of 11, and made her debut performance at the age of 12. Lisa's early career in her hometown of Eugene, OR included singing with the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, directing renowned women's a cappella group Divisi and producing/directing a Broadway Revue. In 2006, Lisa left the Pacific Northwest to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Under a prestigious and hefty Vocal Performance scholarship, Lisa honed her skills, studying songwriting, theory, piano, and voice with grammy- nominated singer Donna McElroy, Joey Blake (member of Bobby McFerrin’s group Voicestra) and Stephen Santoro (back-up vocalist for Sting). Determined to prove that being a full-time musician wasn't just a pipe dream, Lisa took a year off in 2008 to pursue her music career in Portland, OR. During this time she created her own private teaching studio, worked as a choir teacher for Ethos Music Center, and won the Portland Songwriter's Association's "Songwriter of the Year" Award, among many other accomplishments. Lisa returned to Berklee in the fall of 2009 to much success: two of her musical theater compositions were selected for Berklee's Musical Theater Writing Showcase and her original "Going My Way" was selected for the Women Musicians Network Concert as well as the Perfect Pitch Songwriting Competition. In an effort to combine her passion for social justice with music, Lisa also founded and chaired Musicians Against Sexual Violence, or MASsiVe: a Berklee organization working to unite men and women in the fight to end sexual violence. Lisa received a Berklee Urban Service Award for her work with MASsiVe, and her song "Solidarity," written for the same cause, received the Runner-Up prize in Berklee's Songwriting for Social Change contest.

After graduating summa cum laude in May of 2010, Lisa moved back to the West Coast with a B.M. in Professional Music. Before beginning her career in the SF Bay Area, Lisa was one of only 12 songwriters selected to participate in the 2010 Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Project, an intensive week-long workshop at Northwestern University where she had the honor of working with Broadway composer/lyricsts Craig Carnelia and Andrew Lippa, as well three-time grammy winner Lari White. To date, Lisa has released two records, "Between You and Me," her full-length debut album and "With Her Heart In Her Mouth" a concept-EP, both available at Lisa lives in the East Bay with her husband and fellow member of their jazz group, Sweet Vintage Duo: