Wayne Forte Full Biography
Entourage Talent Associates’ owner, principal, and entrepreneur Wayne Forte is a seasoned and well-experienced veteran of the music industry, having achieved major success milestones by age 26. Opening his first privately held business at 30, Forte started booking and developing worldwide artists beginning with small clubs and quickly progressing them to sold out arenas and stadiums. Through all the years and successes, Forte’s philosophy has never changed: look for music and individual artists or bands “with an identity that seems to open up new side roads” and “those who set trends” instead of simply following them.
Born and raised in and around New York, Forte began booking local bands in high school and then, eventually, for student association concerts while enrolled at North Carolina State University (where he went to get a degree and start a career in a world away from the music industry entirely, so he thought). Instead, he re-discovered his inner-music-self which he had buried in the attic with his old guitar and amp!.
Straight out of college, Forte started his career in music booking concerts for colleges, soon landing at one of the first full-service powerhouse agencies: Creative Management Associates (CMA). There, he quickly took on the representation of young musicians and bands, creating long standing relationships with artists, managers and promoters. From this foundation and following the company’s merger with another large music, television and theatrical agency (International Famous Agency – IFA), Forte was able to further develop his knowledge, skills, and relationships at the new company: International Creative Management (ICM). During this period he represented then-fledgling artists Hall and Oates, Chick Corea and Return to Forever, Weather Report, Billy Cobham and the now-legendary British rock quartet Status Quo, as well as beginning a relationship with a soon-to-be worldwide mega-star named David Bowie.
Within a few years, and just prior to his move to the world-renowned William Morris Agency (WMA), Forte had set his sights on signing the best of what was then termed “punk” or “new wave” music, that which most music agents then had no interest in representing. While at WMA, his conviction to ‘make something happen’ at almost ‘whatever cost’ was so strong, Forte flew to England against department management approval to recruit and eventually sign a UK underground fledgling band virtually unknown to the masses in the US: The Clash. Having done so was a blessing and a curse; he then had his work cut-out for him, having convinced promoters to ‘take a risk’ on a less than popular band with no track record what-so-ever outside the U.K. But, the risks paid off when the 1978 Give ‘Em Enough Rope Tour virtually sold out, surprising nervous American promoters and record executives alike.
In a short period of time, Forte added to his personal talent roster a number of now famous artists: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Iggy Pop, Joe Jackson, The Cure, The Stranglers and The Jam (to name a few) and was later tapped to be head of WMA’s East Coast Music Department. Until that time (and perhaps until this day), he was considered the youngest to have been chosen to do so.
With visions of taking a different approach to the business of booking artists and developing careers, Forte and a fellow WMA agent (the late and great Michael Farrell) took a gamble on themselves, a few clients, and their vision, risking all they had (literally) to start their own agency: International Talent Group (ITG). Born in 1981, ITG was committed to breaking new artists and establishing and maintaining long-term careers. Within a year or two, ITG represented some of the hottest talent in the industry, including but not limited to: Duran Duran, The Jam, Joe Jackson, Killing Joke, The Clash, The Vapors, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Adam and the Ants, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, (the reformed) King Crimson, Billy Idol, and the list goes on. ITG brought many of these artists to North American shores for the very first time.
Growing by leaps and bounds in 1983, ITG not only booked but also co-produced David Bowie’s world renowned Serious Moonlight Tour – said by many to have been the artist’s most successful tour (and certainly resulting in the artist’s best selling album of all time) – playing arenas and stadiums throughout the world. But why stop there? Soon following, Forte and ITG, co-produced the 1985-86 worldwide Glass Spider Tour, performed predominantly in stadiums with a (then) state of the art, large-scale concert/theatrical production. In 1987, ITG went on to book Duran Duran’s worldwide Strange Behavior Tour which played stadiums in Europe and Japan, as well as multiple arena shows throughout the rest of the world, including the North America, Manila, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In addition to these ground-breaking activities, Forte continued to sign and develop clients both domestically and internationally (many on a worldwide basis) over the 10 years following the agency’s inception: Howard Jones, The Psychedelic Furs, Joe Satriani, Sade, Paul Young, Radiohead, Yazoo, Scandal, Erasure, Eric Johnson, Spandau Ballet, Midge Ure, (the legendary) Power Station, Sarah McLachlan, Candy Dulfer, Simply Red, The Blue Nile, among many others, and the successes continued with many more ITG stadium and arena tours throughout the world for these clients as well as The Cure, Depeche Mode, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Phil Collins, Roger Waters, Robert Plant, among others.
During this time, Forte honed his expertise in foreign negotiation, planning and booking tours outside the U.S, as well as domestically, while at the same time helping to establish and oversee multiple joint ventures for the ITG business. One of the most successful of these ventures was with the Labatt Entertainment Group, enabling the once fledgling agency and the ‘partners with an idea’ to realize many of their long-term goals, including the establishment of offices in both Los Angeles and London.
After 12 years as CEO and President of ITG, having been responsible for signing more than 50% of the agency’s 80+ clients, Forte resigned his position, sold his ownership, and left the ITG partnership to set up a more personalized agency and consulting firm. In 1993, Forte founded Entourage Talent Associates, Ltd. where he has continued to oversee and help to maintain the careers of established artists such as: Steve Hackett, Joan Armatrading, Procol Harum, Renaissance, and Joe Satriani (among others), assisting in the development of Canada’s own The Tragically Hip into a multi-arena and stadium attraction, as well as re-establishing careers of artists like Dave Mason. Forte has also been instrumental in helping to develop the career of his longtime client, Derek Trucks (world-renowned guitarist and Grammy Award winner). In addition, over the past 13 years, Forte has helped to develop the Tedeschi Trucks Band, a multi-faceted group featuring Derek Trucks and his wife, Susan Tedeschi (guitarist and powerhouse vocalist) into a worldwide, multi-day, sellout live attraction, as well as serving as Co-Producer and Executive Producer of their documentary film Learning To Live Together: The Return of Mad Dogs and Englishmen and initiating, helping to establish and developing various ‘annual events’.
Most recently, Forte and Entourage Talent Associates have entered into a ‘strategic partnership’ including a seat on the Board of a recently established and rapidly growing agency: Paladin Artists (New York). Forte assists and advises with the coordination and acquisition of agency clients, personnel, and various projects. Adding and combining his expertise and years of experience with those of the original Paladin partners has served well for the agency’s growth.The new agency currently has 9 agents and several administrative staff currently in NY and has recently established a strong presence in Los Angeles with several seasoned and well-established agents now on the ‘left coast’.
In what little time Forte has for leisure activities, he enjoys cycling and running (occasionally with his two daughters) whenever and wherever he has the chance, as well avidly following NCAA college basketball (especially March Madness), the cycling Grand Tours, and Olympic Track & Field.