Chattanooga Local Turns Her Sorrow Into Songs

  • Sunday, January 31, 2021

In 2020, Shanna Forrestall, an established actress and producer, penned her first set of official song lyrics and presented it to her musician, friend and producing partner, Jeff Gold.  Within 24 hours he came back with a song that left her breathless.  

“Writing lyrics for songs was something I’ve wanted to do my entire life," said Ms. Forrestall. "I remember as a young girl, sitting in the closet to have privacy, and scribbling bits of poems and song lyrics into a small journal.  Although I’ve spent my life telling stories as an actress and producer, and most recently as an author of children’s bedtime stories, I had yet to fulfill this life-long dream.”

Inspired by their relationship and written just one week before her husband passed unexpectedly, Ms. Forrestall’s very personal ballad about her journey to find a true and mature love is the first single on her new album project with Gold entitled Fire & Water.

“Fire and Water is a compilation of voices, emotions and stories," said Ms. Forrestall. "It’s a series of songs I’ve written this year with Jeff Gold as I worked through the emotions of loss and looked back on what I’ve experienced and learned in my life thus far.” 

The project, which will include 10-12 songs written and produced by the duo (Ms. Forrestall and Mr. Gold) is a partnership spawned from shared pain as Mr. Gold was also widowed in 2016 when his wife died from brain cancer at age 61.

The Fire & Water project will release a new single every few weeks in 2021 culminating with a full compilation of all of the songs and artwork into one cohesive album.  Although all of the songs have been written by Ms. Forrestall & Mr. Gold, the album will feature an array of talented vocalists and creatives.

“I'm really excited that Nicole Lovince, my little ‘sister’ from New Orleans, has agreed to sing Full Moon for us," said Ms. Forrestall. "Her talent is rich and her voice memorable, plus she knew my husband and I intimately and saw the full impact of his loss on my life and work.” 

“Full Moon is very visceral for me," said Ms. Lovince. "Every time I sing it I feel like I uncover a new layer. To me this song expresses the bitter sweet sadness that accompanies love that finds you too soon and long before you are ready to receive it.” 

The project will also feature additional songs by vocalists Ms. Lovince and Francesca Campasso, who is featured on the second single entitled Bad Goodbye that is set to be released on Ms. Forrestall’s birthday (Feb 26). Ms. Forrestall and Mr. Gold are also currently recruiting additional vocalists, musicians and creatives for the project.

“Shanna and I are focused on being songwriters and storytellers, not necessarily musical performers, so we want to use this project to tell powerful stories and to elevate some of the talented vocalists and creatives we’re discovering who deserve to be heard,” said Mr. Gold.

The Fire & Water project also features work by talented visual artist Lourans Mikhail.  An immigrant of Assyrian descent born in Iraq, who grew up in Chicago and became a US Marine, Mr. Mikhail is an established painter, graphic designer, muralist and sculptor.  His work has been showcased recently in group shows at the Shockbox Gallery in Los Angeles, the Hive Gallery in Los Angeles, a solo show at Thumbprint Gallery in San Diego and his story and art are also part of the “Near/Far: Visual Stories of Local Immigrant Veterans”  exhibit currently showing at the New Americans Museum in San Diego.

Mr. Mikhail, who is creating the custom logos and album cover for the project, has also been experimenting with shooting and editing video and is partnering with Ms. Forrestall to create a series of digital content including teasers, music videos and lyric videos to support the song releases.

“I’m honored to work on the Fire & Water project, because although many of the songs are inspired by Shanna’s personal story, they hold universal truths that apply to us all," said Mr. Mikhail. "We hope that the songs on the album will provide inspiration, comfort and joy to everyone recovering from a rough 2020!” 

The first single Full Moon will release on Feb. 12 followed by the second single Bad Goodbye on Feb. 26 - both songs will be available on all digital outlets including … Amazon, Apple, Pandora, Spotify, Youtube, etc.

Ms. Forrestall relocated to Chattanooga in 2020 to be near family after losing her husband, and lives in East Ridge with her adopted cat, Beau.    

“Chattanooga has been such a godsend," said Ms. Forrestall. "This city has given me the space and creative energy I needed to create this and all of the other work I’m releasing this year - I’m excited to see what all the city has to offer after we come alive again after the COVID crisis is finally over.  And locals will recognize some familiar landmarks in our music videos."

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