Taken from CBS News (Oct. 30, 2010)
Second Cup Cafe: Michael Franti & Spearhead - The Early Show
Band's New Album, "The Sound of Sunshine," Debuted at No. 17 on Billboard Top 200 Album Chart
by CBS News
(CBS) Michael Franti has been putting out records since 1986, and shows no signs of slowing down. And get this - he does it all while barefoot!
Franti has always been a favorite among critics, but just last year, he had his first commercial hit with "Say Hey (I Love You)," which was certified double digital platinum.
Franti hasn't been alone in his quest to fuse music with political and social ideals - he and the band Spearhead have been together since the mid-'90s.
Last month, Michael Franti & Spearhead released his new album, "The Sound of Sunshine," debuting at at No. 17 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart - the highest such debut of Franti's career.
Michael Franti & Spearhead stopped by "The Early Show on Saturday Morning"'s "Second Cup Cafe" to perform "The Sound of Sunshine" and "Say Hey (I Love You)," which appeared in the box office hit "Valentine's Day."
Franti is all about feeling. For two decades, he's created powerful music deep from his core, touching fans across a myriad of genres and under different names.
He cranked up the intensity with punk rock of the "Beatnigs," got deeply political in a rap he made with the "Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy" and had fun creating upbeat, meaningful modern soul music with "Spearhead," and now as "Michael Franti & Spearhead."
The album's title has a lot of meaning behind it - for Franti, it's about having a new lease on life and finding the sunshine again. He had a close call and was hospitalized when his appendix ruptured in August 2009.
Michael Franti (michaelfranti.com)
Franti has jammed with the best of them. Franti & Spearhead wrapped up a three-month North American tour with John Mayer, and they toured previously with U2, Dave Matthews, REM and Ziggy Marley. The band gives 110 percent, touring both domestically and internationally with more than 200 dates a year.
So why doesn't Franti wear shoes?
In 2000, Franti says, he had an epiphany. Moved by the lack of shoes and the poverty he witnessed while traveling across the globe, he decided to go shoeless in solidarity, to show his support. Ten years later, still no signs of shoes - he only wears flip-flops when boarding a plane or in a restaurant.
There are many sides to the big-hearted man, and he embraces them all.
Franti directed and produced the award-winning documentary, "I Know I'm Not Alone," about his journey into the war zones of the Middle East and his experiences connecting with the local communities (families, soldiers, musicians) affected by the conflicts. "I Know I'm Not Alone" won Best International Film at NYC's Harlem Film Festival.
Franti is even a children's book author. He penned "What I Be" in 2007 and "Where In The World Is Away," due out next year. He hopes his books will educate children about believing in themselves, exploring diversity, recycling and respecting the planet.
For more info:
Michael Franti & Spearhead (Official Website)