"Music is sunshine," says Michael Franti, one of the most positive and conscious artists in music today. "Like sunshine, music is a powerful force that can instantly and almost chemically change your entire mood. Music gives us new energy and a stronger sense of purpose."
"Music is something you can't hold in your hands, smell it, taste it or even see it, yet somehow just coming together and feeling these little vibrations that tickle our eardrums can somehow lift us all up out of our most difficult moments in life to unimaginable heights."
In the mid-Nineties, Franti first formed Spearhead, and increasingly in recent years, he's found his own voice musically and his own organic brand of popular success. Franti and Spearhead's last album, 2008's All Rebel Rockers -- recorded in Jamaica with legendary producers and players Sly & Robbie -- became the biggest hit of Franti's career, hitting the Top 40 on the Billboard 200, and yielded his biggest hit, the Top 20 "Say Hey (I Love You)."
Michael Franti is not a man to openly chase success; in fact, he's not a man who even wears shoes (for the last ten years). Still, Franti has absolutely no problem hearing his music on the radio now. "When I was a kid, I used to listen to AM radio on family vacations in the car, and at family barbeques and my dad would leave the radio on. So songs that were the silly pop hits became a really meaningful part of my childhood - and of my adult life now. So when I think of the fact that there's some family out there on the beach in the summer together listening to 'Say Hey,' it makes me feel really good. The truth is a good pop song that makes you feel good can be something of value and meaning to people."
For Franti, "To play for people and share your songs with them is to make a real connection. That's why we play outside our shows for those who can't afford to come inside. They need the songs too -- maybe more. That's the reality. And as a musician I was on tour with put it recently, 'Our fans didn't come to us from a reality show. They came to us from reality.' And so, we mean something in their lives. We're the music they put on when they drive their little kids to school, or hang out with the person they love at night. There's no higher honor. So they have an investment in the music. And that means so much because this music is very personal to me too."