Michael Franti is known to his fan base for his philanthropy and philosophy as much as his music. Franti might be the last artist that you would think to hear shout out Jay Z and Beyonce in a song. But, the San Francisco singer does just that on the track “I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like).” The gesture took at least one fan by surprise.
“(The fan) was coming at it from this political angle,” recalled Franti during an interview that aired Monday night on “The Ralphie Show.” “I was like, ‘Should I shout out like (Vladimir) Putin and (Bashar al-) Assad?’”
Franti does not believe that name-checking the presidents of Russia and Syria would have been more appropriate. Rather, the singer attempted to use the situation to dispel a misnomer about him and his music.
“I write songs about every aspect of life,” he explained. “Politics is one of them. I care about what’s happening in the world as much as I always have. Not every day, do I wake up in the morning and turn on CNN or whatever and follow the 24 hour news cycle. I get up like everybody else. I make breakfast for my son and I get him to school and I pick him up afterwards. I want to make music that goes for people’s 24 hour life cycle, not just the 24 hour news cycle.”
Without directly addressing it, Franti perhaps also fully explained the title of his band’s latest LP, All People. The group released the album in July and promoted it while touring with Train and Gavin DeGraw. Franti has a massive amount of respect for Pat Monahan and his band, who the “Say Hey” singer first met over 15 years ago back in San Francisco. The trek was Franti’s first encounter with DeGraw.
“Gavin is an awesome guy; horrible soccer player, he’s the worst soccer player, but he’s an incredible guy,” joked Franti. “He’s pretty athletic, it’s just soccer is not one of his things.”
We’ll refrain from the puns we could drop about Gavin not being able to “Follow Thru” on the field or noting that we “Don’t Wanna Be” stuck on his team. Instead, note that Franti and Spearhead will tour up until the holidays, and are also enlisting the help of Monahan and others for a new foundation called, “Do It For The Love.” Franti and his partner Sara started the organization to help send people with advanced stages of life threatening illnesses, kids with disabilities, and wounded veterans to see some of their favorite artists live. More info is available here.