The Post-Pardon Elation of John Forté

George W. Bush's strangest (and most welcome) beneficiary revels in various types of freedom

Now ensconced in Tribeca—and single and on the prowl—he has quickly re-entered the music industry on his own terms. "For Poly Sci, I was thinking, 'I have to do this song for this demographic, for this chart,' but I did I, John for myself. That's the barometer for how I approach music now."

His third full-length, Water, Light, Sound, is due in early 2010; he has recorded some 60 songs since he has been home, and has been in touch with old musical partners like Wyclef and Pras. He saw the latter at the Grammys, but is surprised to hear that the "third Fugee" was later dodging bullets with Somali pirates while filming a documentary. "Really?" Forté says, not looking especially shocked to learn of Pras's latest adventures. Perhaps that's not surprising. You don't have to tell Forté that truth is stranger than fiction.

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