Growing up in Peachtree City, Georgia, Forde began playing the viola at age 12 when the orchestra teacher enticed him with promises of Disneyland and a rendition of the Spongebob Squarepants theme. With everyone else gravitating toward the violin, the cello, or bass, Forde decided to stray from the most popular instruments and chose the viola. Once he did, he decided to push himself to explore limits of his potential.
“It’s like any relationship. You wake up next to somebody and you choose them every day. I actively choose my viola,” says Forde. “It’s the intimacy, it’s the rawness, it’s the humanity, that’s what’s most important and keeps me waking up every single day playing my instrument.”
Forde admits that it was his sense of competition that compelled him to practice hours every day, a habit that paid off when he was accepted into Georgia’s All-Star Orchestra just two years after picking up his instrument. From there, he developed his talent further and was accepted into the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's Talent Development Program, which provided him with funding for summer festivals, auditions, and private lessons. He continued auditioning for statewide orchestras, compelled by the dedication and connection he developed with other aspiring classical musicians. By senior year, Forde was soloing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.