A Rose By Any Other Name

China Forbes is the breathtakingly talented lead singer for the genre-bending band Pink Martini, who is touring select cities this fall.

In addition to her love for music, Forbes is a major flower fan. She is intimately in touch with a powerful childhood memory she gained while growing up in the Massachusetts countryside. “We lived in the house my grandfather built in 1940. It was a super unusual split-level, modern house made of stone and glass, with a flat roof. Upstairs my sister and I shared a bedroom that had an attached balcony. We would go out on it and suck the honey off a honeysuckle vine that was within reach. I just remember it was so juicy and delicious.”

Honeysuckle has remained part of her psyche. “It was so magical to have a sweet treat from a flower. I haven’t eaten honeysuckle since but I can still remember its exact taste and smell.”

Pink Martini Dahlia

Forbes also has a serious love for roses of all kinds. For as long as she can remember, she has loved roses “in reality and in name and in illustrations.”

Part of this childhood love had to do with the universal need to fit in. “When I was young I hated my name because it’s so unusual—and in 1973 “China” was very unusual—so people always teased me about it. I wanted to change my name to “Rose,” and I named all my pets, all my kittens and puppies, “Rose” or some variation, like “Rosapuss.”

When she bought her first china plates at 9 years old, she even bought a set with roses around the rim. As with her fondness for honeysuckle, her love affair with roses continues to this day. “I live in Portland, Oregon, which is called “the Rose City”! My favorite shades are on the pale side—pinks, whites and lavenders.”

Pink Martini is touring Turkey, Asia, Europe and the East Coast this fall.

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