“You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can’t bomb it into peace.” —Michael Franti, singer song-writer
At the tail end of their "Love out Loud Tour" the band combines hip hop with an eclectic blend of funk, reggae, jazz, folk and rock. Franti's lyrics are filled with an enduring inspirational message about "getting through the rough times while never losing your enthusiasm for life."
Two songs into the concert, it becomes obvious that his brand of music is all about spreading the message of peace, love and community to millions of his fans. He has been described as an American rapper, musician, poet, singer-songwriter and spoken word artist.
The 6 foot six, 51 year old gentle giant who was born in Oakland, Calif. tells stories about love, injustice, isolation in social media, sexuality, gender equality, homophobia, and the environment. He sees his musical lyrics as a unifying force that can help people engage in a conversation about a "new way of being" in a challenging world. As an advocate for peace in the Middle East, his film: I know I’m Not Alone came out of his frustration of hearing generals, politicians and pundits talking abbout the economic cost of war without ever addressing the human cost.
He shared with his audience about his vision of what love and respect for cultural diversity is. He told us he likes to keep and open ear to people who have different political perspectives, come from different faiths and have different ways of living.
Franti comes from a family of "dreamers." His biological mother Mary Lofy was German and Belgian and his birth father's genealogy is African-American and Nottaway Indian. Lofy put Franti up for adoption because she was afraid her racist family wouldn’t accept him. He was adopted by the Franti family, second generation Finnish immigrants. He credits the school teacher mom who adopted him with instilling the empathetic values that have become part of his musical message. He was taught to find ways to serve the greated good and be good to other people.
He tries to inform not only through music, but film, business and philanthropy. Franti’s organization, Do it For The Love, serves 1,000 families, providing children, adults, and veterans with serious medical ailments or special needs the opportunity to attend live concerts by any artist who performs in North America.
During the performance he paid tribute to his mother and wife who were in the audience. He moved effortlessly throughout the amphitheater, engaging people, singing and dancing with them, hugging them and even inviting young children on the stage to sing with him.
Franti credits a priest he met while attending the Universtiy of San Francisco, with teaching him how to tell a story. Before long he was writing poetry. He purchased a bass at a local pawn shop and began experimented playing music inspired by hip hop, punk and reggae that was being played on the college campus radio station, KUSF.
As to why he goes barefoot: He started playing music on the streets in countries where people couldn’t afford shoes. Every now and then he would take his shoes off and try to play soccer with the kids. As a personal challenge in 2000, he decided to try to go about his business barefoot for three days. 3 days turned into a week, then a month and he has been going barefoot ever since.