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Michael Franti & Spearhead

Explore Michael Franti & Spearhead

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About Michael Franti & Spearhead

Michael Franti has led a life of spearheading change in the world with the positive messages in his unifying music. Born April 21, 1966 in Oakland, California, Michael’s childhood was defined by a fascination with music and a desire to bring people together to party and love each other. In his teens he formed a punk band called “The Beatnigs” and then later the hip-hop group “The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy”. These early musical endeavors demonstrated his ability to blend lyricism, music, and activism. In 1994, Michael Franti founded the band “Spearhead”, this is the group which Franti would lead to define a genre. The band has consisted of several different members over the years with mainstay Carl Young remaining on bass today. The current lineup also includes Manas Itiene on drums, Raleigh Neal on keys, and Dave Shul on guitar, recently replacing J Bowman who was a member for 19 years. Spearhead’s debut album, Home, features a fusion of reggae, funk, hip-hop, soul and roots which set the stage for the unique feel-good genre blend that millions of fans have fallen in love with. The group’s second album Chocolate Supa Highway featured collaboration with Stephen Marley on the track “Rebel Music (3 O’Clock Roadblock)”. Their third album, Stay Human, was released under their own label Boo Boo Wax, after splitting with Capitol Records. Speaking about the themes and messages in the music of the album, Franti said, “Half the record is songs about what's happening in the world right now, and the other half is about how we cope with it as people who are concerned about what's going on”. This statement very well captures the essence of his mission of activism and healing through his music which remains true for the rest of his career to this day. Also released in 2001, was the track “Oh My God”, one of Michael Franti & Spearhead’s early hits that embodies their attitude of resistance and bringing awareness towards political, social and economic injustices. The group's next record arrived in 2003, Everyone Deserves Music, which featured anti-war tracks such as “Bomb the World”, with lyrics “we can bomb the world to pieces, but we can’t bomb it into peace”. Michael Franti & Spearhead would follow this up with Yell Fire! propelling the band into new heights in 2006 with popular tracks such as “Hey Now Now”, “Light up Ya Light”, and the title track “Yell Fire!”. This album was largely inspired by Michael’s travels to war-torn regions of the world the previous year for his film I Know I’m Not Alone, which features footage from Iraq, Palestinian territories and Israel. The record highlights the urgency of addressing the systemic reasons for the great disparity in living situations around the world. In 2008 Michael Franti & Spearhead would become a household name with their massive hit track “Say Hey (I Love You) (feat. Cherine Tanya Anderson)” from the album All Rebel Rockers. Also in 2008, Franti played multiple events to commemorate President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Two years later, the band released The Sound of Sunshine, with the title-track being another smash hit single. Very interestingly, Michael Franti & Spearhead began recording the album in Jamaica, then in Bali, before deciding to bring a mobile studio on tour with them. They worked on the album while on tour, experimenting with concepts live and using the audience feedback. Michael has been quoted as saying that 90% of the album ended up being recorded on his laptop. Aside from the hit title-track the record also includes hits “Hey Hey Hey”, “Shake It”, “I’ll Be Waiting” and more. Around this time as well, Michael Franti & Spearhead pledged to avoid using plastic water bottles on national tours and run their bus on biodiesel in alignment with their environmental activism. Their next release came in 2013, All People, featuring hit tracks “I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like)”, “Life Is Better With You”, “11:59”, and more. 2016 saw the release of Soulrocker, charting in the top 5 of Billboard’s US Rock Albums. The record includes tracks “Crazy For You”, “Summertime Is In Our Hands”, “Once A Day”, “My Favorite Wine Is Tequila” and “Good To Be Alive Today”. Always focused and hardworking, the band continued releasing a steady stream up singles leading up to their 10th LP, Stay Human Vol. II in 2019. The album includes popular songs such as “Little Things”, “The Flower (feat. Victoria Canal)”, “Just to Say I Love You”, and the title-track “Stay Human 2”. The very next year Michael Franti & Spearhead released another 17 song album, Work Hard and Be Nice. The album features fan favorites “I Got You”, “Good Shit Happens”, “Sun and Moon”, “How We Living” and the title-track. The following year the band released the hit single “Good Day for a Good Day” leading up to their most recent full length album, Follow Your Heart, also featuring singles “Brighter Day”, “Follow Your Heart”, and “No Makeup”. The group’s most recent release of 2023 is the single “Big Big Love”. Their music fuses reggae, pop, rock, hip-hop, EDM, funk, soul and more into anthems of activism and healing. All the while, Michael Franti & Spearhead have highly valued creating an extremely fun, loving and engaging atmosphere at their live performances. Soulrocker fans know to show up ready to dance, have fun, and embody the love and compassion in the music. Beyond just the music, the group plays host to a variety of activities and experiences all centered around personal and spiritual development, unlocking souls to let them shine. This includes their beloved visits to Red Rocks where they host “Yoga on the Rocks” letting people fill in the venue with their mats and get moving in the morning. The band also hosts an annual cruise “Soulshine at Sea”, which features many performances by the band as well as other inspiring and aligned artists also yoga, meditation, storytelling, and non-stop feel-good partying! Michael Franti also hosts guests at his resort and residence in Bali, “Soulshine Bali”. The beautiful property invites guests for different retreats and events year-round, often centered around the natural beauty of the area combined with the power of yoga, meditation, and music for personal development and enjoyment. Michael Franti & Spearhead lead a conscious community towards unity of heart, mind, and soul through their music and events. They will continue to use their music to inspire and empower the world towards positive change.

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