Taken from Albuquerque Journal (August 26, 2016)
Michael Franti and Spearhead to play at Santa Fe Opera
by Adrian Gomez / Journal
Arts and Entertainment Editor
Michael Franti is touring in support of his latest album, “Soulrocker.”
In 1986, Michael Franti’s music career was in its infancy.
Flash forward 30 years, Franti has nine albums under his belt and his music is known for its positivity.
“When I started making music, I never thought I’d make one album,” he says during a recent phone interview. “I’m pretty grateful and feel lucky to have music. My first album was in 1987, and was a little punk rock record.”
Franti and his band, Spearhead, are touring in support of “Soulrocker.” The album was released on June 3.
He worked on the album with Jamaican producers Stephen McGregor and Dwayne Chin Quee in Miami at Circle House Studios.
“We began working in separate rooms, and pretty soon, all three of us were in one room,” he says. “The collaboration was great. And with Stephen and Dwayne, they have developed a working relationship. They are currently working with Shakira on her new album. I helped spawn this working relationship with them.”
As with Franti’s previous albums, “Soulrocker” was inspired by what is happening in the world.
“Right now is a very challenging time for people, for our nation and the planet,” says Franti, a longtime activist and past recipient of Global Exchange’s Domestic Human Rights Award. “But I really believe that music can help fight war and violence and hatred. The world needs that more than ever now, so my intention with this album was to make music that could bring people together.”
Although each selection on the album began with Franti working out melodies on his acoustic guitar, many of the album’s songs ultimately evolved into beat-powered tracks that reveal a close and nuanced understanding of the electronic genre.
“One of the first records I had as a kid was a Kraftwerk 7-inch that I got from the giveaway bin at the UC-Davis radio station, KDVS,” says Franti, who grew up in Davis, Calif. “We always do a DJ set at the end of our shows, and I wanted to try bringing in those dance and electronic elements but still keep the organic instrumentation that I’ve always loved.”