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Michael Franti: Patience Is A Virtue

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The old adage is true: good things come to those who wait.It's taken Michael Franti multiple musical incarnations and more than twodecades as a recording artist to accomplish the coveted feat of reaching No. 1on the charts.

Franti's "The Sound Of Sunshine," a stripped -down guitarballad about finding happiness in nature, topped the Adult Alternative Airplay chartin July.

"We've been together as a band since 1984, but I've beenputting out records since 1986," says the singer-songwriter who also recordedunder the monikers Beatnigs, Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy, as well asMichael Franti & Spearhead. "Now, 20 something years in our career and wehave our first No. 1 record. ... After all these year's I'm just gettingstarted."

The song is the title track for Michael Franti &Spearhead's seventh and latest album.
Franti's music has long been rooted in uplifting messagesand melodies. Just a year before releasing "The Sound Of Sunshine," the groupscored its first top 20 hit with "Say Hey (I Love You)" from their All Rebel Rocks album. The song wasfeatured in movies Valentine's Dayand J.Lo's Back-Up Plan; Showtimeseries Weeds; and the EA Sports videogame 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.

It is also interesting that "The Sound Of Sunshine" wasinspired during one of the most trying times in Franti's life. In 2009, in themidst of enjoying the success of "Say Hey," his appendix burst, sending him tothe hospital for surgery and recovery.

The sunlight played a big part in his healing. "Last year ontour my appendix ruptured," he explained. "Everyday, I go to the window, I'dpeel back the curtains. I'd look out there to see if the sun was shining as Iwas coming back from surgery. If it was shining, I would get this feeling ofoptimism. If I could bottle that sensation it would be a great gift to give."

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The artist who was born in Oakland, Californiaand was later adopted, always has giving on his mind. He literally stoppedwearing shoes as a means to pay homage to people all over the world who couldnot afford such comfort many take for granted.

"I would go to developing nations and I'd play for people onthe streets," Franti recalls. "These kids would come up to me and they'd all bebarefoot. So I'd take off my shoes to try to be in solidarity with them and Icouldn't take three steps."

To mark the tenth anniversary of going barefootfulltime, Franti teamed with Soles 4 Souls, a company that provides footwearfor people who have never had shoes and are in critical need.

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Like Soles 4 Souls, Franti is passionate about reachingthe masses. "For me the goal was never get rich and retire, but to get the mostmusic out to as many people as possible," he says. "The more you put out andgive to other people the more in demand you're always going to be."

Franti is indeed in demand at Yahoo! He stopped by ouroffices last month for an interview and to perform three songs, "The Sound OfSunshine," "Hey Hey Hey," and "I'll Be Waiting."


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