Michael Franti is an amazingly gifted musician, spoken word artist, poet, rapper, singer and songwriter that America takes pride in. He has been a part of many musical projects. He uses music as a tool to convey his thoughts and views on various social and political issues. Along with producing songs for his band, he worked as a composer by creating song track for the movie, ‘Blue in the Face’. Known for creating critically acclaimed and political charged albums, he has produced songs and albums like ‘Yell Fire!’, ‘The sound of sunshine’ and ‘I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like)’. As of now he is working as the lead vocalist and creator of his independent project named, ‘Michael Franti and Spearhead’. This band is known for dovetailing hip-hop with other varied styles of music that include rock, folk, jazz, funk and reggae. Franti has always been vocal about his opinions, thoughts and views on matters close to his heart which includes social justice and peace especially in the Middle East. We bring to you a treasury of quotes and sayings by Michael Franti that will give you a glimpse of his mind.
Collectively, we activists are essential to advancing U.S. policy to help empower marginalized people to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty for good.
My mother, she made sure all of us were treated the same and had the same opportunity to grow and develop, so that when we left the house, we could fly on our own. And she also knew when we got out into the world, we'd treat others that we came across with that same treatment and respect.
My music is part of the quest I have to find new ways of telling stories, and also, I want to inspire people.
I really believe that, as an artist, my opportunity to help to bring about awakening is one that should come from a personal process that someone has, and not from me telling somebody that this is the way it is.
My usual day is I get up around 11 o'clock and do yoga and then eat afterwards. Then I have sound check and play soccer and do running with the guys in the band after sound check, and then do the show and eat dinner after the show and usually get to bed around 3 o'clock by the time we get everybody on the bus and get rolling.
I really encourage people to travel so we can see how the rest of the world views our country. That's really important. Secondly, as artists, activists, and citizens who vote, we have to begin to vote from our heart.
Traveling to the Middle East and playing music for people on the street, for soldiers, for people in hospitals, and for people who lost their homes, and seeing people open up through the experience of music really restored my faith in music, in art, and in culture to change things.
Through music I either tame my demons or unleash them and allow them to be what they are. I don't want the music to be about provocation, I want the music to bring you to a place where you feel at home.
Johnny Cash was a rebel, not only just in the musical sense, but he was somebody who was for the people, and an advocate for labor, for workers, for prisoners, people who have been trapped by the criminal justice system.
The U.S. has historically been the world's largest contributor to climate change.
Bonnaroo has kind of become the granddaddy of all American festivals. The thing I love about it most is that it wasn't born out of picking the top ten bands off the Billboard chart and creating a festival around it.
Jamaica's a country of great dichotomy. On the one hand you have a tourist industry with great beaches and resorts, but on the other you have such great poverty and the violence that goes along with that.
If we do not change our negative habits toward climate change, we can count on worldwide disruptions in food production, resulting in mass migration, refugee crises and increased conflict over scarce natural resources like water and farm land. This is a recipe for major security problems.
Recording in Jamaica is like nothing else. The studios are always closed in America. But in Jamaica, the studio doors are wide open, and there's music blasting out in the street. You can see the reaction of people immediately.
All my songs are different, but from the overall experience, I want people to sense that they can overcome and move through difficult times and find strength in my music. Maybe it's a song that makes them cry and move through something else.
During my travels in Iraq, Israel, Gaza, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Europe and all over the United States, I have seen and heard the voices of people who want change. They want the stabilization of the economy, education and healthcare for all, renewable energy and an environmental vision with an eye on generations to come.
After a show, I'll get the 16-year-old white kid whose lip is pierced, his head is shaved and his parents hate him, and the young gangster from the screwed-up 'hood, and they say that now they realize there's someone out there who thinks like they do.
Rap has so many possibilities that need to be explored. There are different factions of rap, but some are in a rut. Rap doesn't have to be about boosting egos and grabbing your crotch and dissing women. There's a way to make political and social issues interesting and entertaining to the young rap audience.
My favorite band of all time is The Clash. The thing I love about The Clash is they started out as guys who could barely play three chords. They dabbled in reggae, punk, rap, jazz. They came to a sound that could only be defined as The Clash. It was impossible to say what it was. I admire them for that.
Playing on the streets of Iraq, or in Israel or the Gaza strip, I'd sing angry protest songs against war. People would say, 'Make us clap, make us dance, and laugh and sing.' It really made me think about the importance of happy music.
I went to Iraq because I wanted to see what one year of occupation had done to Iraqi society, and I went to the West Bank and Gaza Strip because I wanted to see what three generations of occupation had done to Palestinian society. I found a lot more hopelessness and despair in Palestine.
The rap community has been singled out as more homophobic than other groups, but I don't think that's right. It's homophobic, all right, but no more so than the heavy-metal community or the Hollywood community or any other community.
I went to the University of San Francisco on an athletic scholarship. I didn't study in high school. I was just there to get by and to play basketball. But a funny thing happened to me when I got to college. I got challenged by the work and the professors.
People worry that gas prices are high and how they are affecting their pocket book. But they want to know about renewable energy. People are really starting to question things, and that's made people look to the future in a positive way.
My greatest sense of accomplishment has come from having two amazing sons, but it's also a paradox in that the times when I felt like the biggest failure have been times when I felt like, as a parent, I wasn't making the right decisions or succeeding in the way that I should.
I try to use the attention that I get to help and to serve, and that's really what I'd see as my work - to serve my community, serve the planet, serve my family. And I think a celebrity is someone who draws the attention on themselves, and then it kind of stops there.
I'd play music on the street, especially in developing nations where a lot of kids couldn't wear shoes. In order to relate with kids that would be following me barefoot, I would take off my shoes, and they would all laugh at me because I couldn't go three steps without wincing.
We would play songs live on stage, and then we'd watch their reaction we were receiving immediately, if people were dancing and singing along. If they weren't, then we'd go into the dressing rooms of the different NBA teams that we were playing in their arenas, and we'd change the songs right there.
I eat bags and bags of cashews. I've got them in the kitchen, and about ten feet away I've got another bowl on the kitchen table. In my backpack, I've always got a bag of cashews. I started eating them in the airports because that's the one food that you can find in every airport that's actually nutritious.
I took a trip in 2004, a year after the war started in Iraq. I played music on the streets of Baghdad for Iraqi civilians. I'd also play for U.S. soldiers at night when they were off duty in the bars. Then I would talk to people, and I would film them and ask them about their life and the conflict.