I’ve been weird and freaky all my life – African American growing up in the suburbs with a white family who watched opera on PBS (I also have favorite Julia Childs’ episodes). Yet I was a 4-sport student athlete who could be found in the bleachers at Fenway for any random afternoon game with my mom and one of the big brothers. Yeah – weird…me.
About 9 years ago my eldest brother, Tofu, sent me the Songs from the Front Porch CD from Michael Franti (@michaelfranti) and told me that I HAD to listen to it. He was a fan of Franti’s from his Beat Nigs and Disposable Heroes days and insisted that I would enjoy the music. Being the little sister that I am – I just put the CD to the side and kept it going….until, I saw this ditty one night while watching the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
I fell in love….and boy, it’s been an epic relationship with Franti and his band Spearhead ever since.
I’m one of “those” fans that, once I fall….I fall hard – and all the releases just happen to end up in my music collection without any reservation. And, Michael Franti is the perfect artist to fall in love with – as my friend, Bonnie (@bknight725), once exclaimed as we danced our way to her car after a concert, he is a 6’ 7” thunderbolt of love. And, damn, if she isn’t right on the mark.
When he first arrived on the scene with Disposable Heroes, Franti took a hard political edge. But, as he has grown older, and wiser, he has gone down a different avenue for changing the world for the better. An avenue that celebrates our differences, our weirdness, and our love for each other by bringing all of us together for one huge world party.
When attending concerts that Franit & Spearhead open or headline, you can’t help but find yourself dancing, singing, hugging, and laughing with your friends, the people around you and Michael himself –who has a tendency to jump in the crowd with his portable microphone and guitar and just walk around, dance and hang with those in attendance.
Listening to songs like:
“Hey, hey, hey”
“I’ll Be Waiting”
Makes you appreciate the people who love you for you who are and the good that’s in the world – no matter how dark things may seem. I’ll be honest, there are some songs of his that bring tears to my eyes, even while I’m dancing around my kitchen singing along and celebrating life and its pure awesomeness. He just has THAT vibe of acceptance no matter who you are, who you love, or even what you look like. I’ve talked to people who have had the pleasure of meeting him in person and the first thing everyone says is just how awesome his hugs are – and I so want one.
Of course, he’s got a romantic side – which you can see in The Only Thing Missing Was You – I had to throw that in, just because….well, watch the video, you’ll understand.
Franti’s new album, All People, picked up where he left off with The Sound of Sunshine and went the extra mile. Such like the title track and I’m Alive Franti and Spearhead celebrates US as humans and the love we have for each other. Before he released the official video for I’m Alive, Franti asked his fans to help him make a video — here you will see how beautiful his words are and that it helps to celebrate the wonder around us.
(The couple you see at the end of the video were catalysts for Franti to start the DO it for Love Foundation – you can read more about it here: https://www.michaelfranti.com/diftl)
And, not that Franti and Spearhead need to prove just how awesome they are, the PS22 School Chorus not only received major props (and a post from Michael on his website) the students got a visit from him for posting this video they made to I’m Alive
Nice to see creativity is still alive and well in schools.
However, the song that made me write this open love letter to Franti and his bandmates, is Life is Better With You.
The video, featuring Franti, his (lucky) girlfriend, fans and members of Spearhead, celebrates the simplicity of love and being able to be ourselves with that special person; no matter how weird we are. I can’t begin to explain how much I love this song, and that Michael wrote it. I hope that people out there who are weird/nerds/different/outcasts are able to hear songs like this and even see Michael Franti & Spearhead in concert and know they can and need to celebrate who they are and what they give the world. And, something tells me Michael Franti is probably hoping the same thing.