Posted June 30, 2020 by Jeff in Tunes

Pink Martini’s ‘Let’s Be Friends’ Isn’t Just Another Old-Fashioned Love Song

Pink Martini
Pink Martini

Pink Martini just released a new single, “Let’s Be Friends,” via their own label, Heinz Records. The track features bandleader Thomas Lauderdale and singer China Forbes, and the two teamed with writer/producer Jim Bianco to create a old-timey sounding song in the classic Great American Songbook tradition.

“‘Lets be Friends’ is the first song Thomas [Lauderdale] and I wrote with writer/producer Jim Bianco; we challenged ourselves to write an old-fashioned song that was NOT about love,” says Forbes in a press release. “We tried to make a song about friendship and all the ways friends can complement each other, but in the end it still has an undercurrent of romance because, well, that’s unavoidable!”

The song represents the first release of new music from Pink Martini since last year’s EPs Bésame Mucho and Tomorrow. It also marks the return of Lauderdale and Forbes as songwriting collaborators; working with Bianco helped fuel the creative spark of their 23-year songwriting partnership. 

The band’s roots stretch back decades. In 1994, Lauderdale had finished college and returned to his hometown of Portland, OR. He was working at City Hall with an eye towards running for office. Being a classically trained pianist, music was always in the background, and he formed his “little orchestra” Pink Martini as a means to provide music for political fundraisers for progressive causes near to his heart, including civil rights, affordable housing, the environment, and public broadcasting.

Forbes, Lauderdale’s friend from their college days at Harvard, joined the group the following year, and the first song they wrote together, “Sympathique (Je ne veus pas travailler),” became an overnight sensation in France, where it remains a mantra (“Je ne veux pas travailler” translates to “I don’t want to work”) for striking French workers. Politics continues to be a focal point for the band, as both Lauderdale and Pink Martini lend their voices to progressive causes.

Throughout their history, on record and live in concert, Pink Martini has featured a dozen musicians with songs in 25 languages, and they perform their multilingual repertoire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras throughout the world.

Pink Martini’s albums have collectively sold more than 3 million copies worldwide, all on the band’s own label, Heinz Records.