Iain S. Forrest, better known as Eyeglasses, does it all. In addition to being a medical student this young star has been making himself known for his incredible skills on the cello. We sat down with him to talk more about his music and love of charity.
Q: When did you first pick up the cello and why?
A: Back in elementary school in the fourth grade and our music teacher came around with a whole cart of all these musical instruments and you’re a kid so you’re fascinated. You pick them all up, and I remember the first one I tried was a violin, and the first note I played it was just very shrill. I was terrible at it, obviously, I was just picking it up. But it was shrill and high pitched. It was kind of small and I’m kind of a big guy. I said this doesn’t feel right, then I see all alone in the bottom of this pile of instruments was the cello. And I’m like that looks more interesting, I pick it up and just hitting that first low resonant bass note..iit really struck a chord with me, no pun intended. I just fell in love with the kind of rich sound that a lot of the other instruments don’t have as much of. So since then it was love at first sight, or love at first sound.
Q: How did this passion unfold itself with your family and did that journey maneuver with everybody or did you have the motivation to do this yourself?
A: I was fortunate that my school just had a really great arts and music program which a lot of schools nowadays don’t. So I was thankful I had that component. I also started taking private lessons with a phenomenal teacher by the name of Matthew Tipford. And he really help me I think further my crafts beyond just what I got in the schools and helped me really think almost like professionally what I could do with music, with the cello, and with the instrument. And you know besides the teachers are obviously my family, they were incredibly supportive. My dad, my mom, they’re scientists so they have very little knowledge when it comes to music. But they just kind of saw how fascinated I was by it, how it really made me happy to do what I was doing. Dare I say they actually liked when I played music for them so they were very strongly encouraging of me to continue pursuing that as my passion even with all the other things going on in childhood as one has.
Q: So tell us a little about what are you doing, with the studying and also the charity side aspect that’s become very important to you.
A: Naturally as a medical student I see people every single day who are suffering, people who are sick, still stuck in a hospital isolated and I was like there’s actually a world of good that can be done for these people with music. So that kind of idea just arose and I whipped out the cello and just went into some of these patient rooms inside the hospital Mount Sinai where I’m a medical student and started playing music for them. It’s a very different feeling when you’re playing a 1 on1 private intimate concert for someone who’s been really you know isolated or depressed or sad inside the hospital and just really see their eyes and face light up. It’s a really magical experience that I’ve just continued doing since then so that’s kind of the more I guess charitable or service side of the music that I love to do so much.
“… the nerdy reason for Eyeglasses is Beethoven wrote a wonderful piece which was exceptionally difficult for any musicians to play so the joke was that musicians have to wear very strong eyeglasses in order to read all the notes on the music sheet..”
Q: What are you specializing in regards to the field that you want to go into?
A: So when I was in college what I did a lot of was a lot of research working with physicians at the National Institutes of Health, the NIH, and with them I worked with physicians and scientists who took care of patients who had really debilitating rare eye diseases. And some of these patients were very young. They were just pediatric patients, 8 or 9 years old so you know to be able to do anything for people at that young age, being able to restore some of that vision to them so they can actually see the world and all the beauty that’s in it, it was really something that I fell in love with. I told myself this is something I want to pursue in terms of medicine so that’s what I’m focusing on right now; one day being opthamologist who can help people see better.
Q: As a last question, what’s the story behind the name Eyeglasses?
A: I think just eyeglasses in general, it’s something that gives people clarity and helps people see clearly the beautiful vivid details of the world. I want my music to be able to accomplish such a task as to help people feel more enriched and really see all the vivid colors and sounds that are really in this world. So that’s kind of one of the overarching mantra that Eyeglasses music tries to do. And kind of the nerdy reason also for Eyeglasses is the famous composer Beethoven wrote a wonderful piece. Except for this piece of music was exceptionally difficult for any musicians to play so the joke was that musicians have to wear very strong spectacles or glasses in order to read all the notes on the music sheet. I absolutely love that story and I took inspiration from that as well and carved it into my name.