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Taken from Stuff.co.nz (Dec 07, 2010)

Michael Franti has new priorities

by Stuff

Michael Franti
HEADING TO NZ: Michael Franti and Spearhead
play the Powerstation in Auckland April 28.

Michael Franti talks about the near-death experience which inspired his new album and the weird requests he gets from his fans.

The California-born musician has morphed across musical genres throughout a career which has spanned the best part of two decades.

At university Franti formed the punk band The Beatnigs, then the hip-hop act The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy before finding his musical home with current band Spearhead in the mid-nineties.

"With time, you get a better sense who you are and how to put together all your musical passions into your own sound. I feel like for a long time, I dabbled in other sounds. But now, I write everything from the acoustic guitar up -which keeps you honest."

Franti and Spearhead's last album, 2008's All Rebel Rockers became the biggest hit of Franti's career, with single Say Hey (I Love You) getting extensive radio play and making the US and New Zealand Top 40.

His seventh studio album, The Sound of Sunshine, was released in New Zealand in November.

The eleven tracks capture the essence of summer but the upbeat lyrics were born from a far darker place. In August last year the singer-songwriter was rushed to hospital.

"I was doing a concert and my appendix ruptured and they thought I was going to die." "The funny thing is that 'Say Hey' went into the Top Twenty right as I was being wheeled into surgery. I got the text, and I thought, 'Wow, I've finally got a hit record, and I'm not even going to live to enjoy it."

Franti says the experience made him re-examine his priorities. "It made me realise that nothing else matters apart from the people you love." And he says that his health scare has made him appreciate his current success even more. Many of the songs on The Sound of Sunshine were written during his recovery period in his hospital bed.

In April he comes to Auckland for one show at the Powerstation. "I'm so looking forward to heading back to New Zealand," he says. "To play for people and share your songs with them is to make a real connection."

Franti is thankful for all the fans who have been with him from the very beginning and he says he sometimes gets some strange requests from fans.

"There was this one fan she wanted me to marry her. "So I did, to our bass player, in the hotel lobby, just for long enough for them to have a smooch and then I unmarried them."

Michael Franti and Spearhead play the Powerstation in Auckland April 28.

Tickets go on sale Friday, December 10 see http://www.ticketmaster.co.nz/ for details.


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