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“Like sunshine, music is a powerful force that can instantly and almost chemically change your entire mood.

Michael was born to an Irish-German-French mother and an African American and American Indian father in Oakland, then adopted by a Finnish American couple who raised him along with their three biological children and another African American son.“So when we were just mastering the new album, I was saying to my manager, “Boy, wouldn’t it be fun to have a sophomore hit? You’ve already been through grad school, man” So yes, I’ve paid some dues, and that’s made getting this far -- and still being here -- mean even more to me.The funny thing is that `Say Hey’ went into the Top Twenty right as I was being wheeled into surgery.While studying at the University of San Francisco, Franti formed the punk band The Beatnigs, and later the far more hip hop-inflected The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.Through it all, Franti has crossed all sorts of musical and physical boundaries in order to make music for everybody.Then Jay Bowman, my songwriting partner and I, take a lot of time figuring out what’s the best way to present this song and make every word of it come across and ring true.” Even the recording process for The Sound Of Sunshine reflects Franti’s desire to communicate directly with his audience.“We started in Jamaica actually recording a bunch of tracks with Sly and Robbie who are, of course, great, and we used some of those tracks. Then I went to Bali and wrote some more songs, but we still didn’t have it finished.That’s if you take as your starting-off point the industrial-ish group the Beatnigs and the still somewhat industrial, more storytelling/politics-focused Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.Set that next to the facts that Franti and Spearhead had a top 20 hit that’s a favored cover of children’s music acts (2008’s “Say Hey (I Love You)”) and that they’re touring as the opening act for Train this summer. Then again, if you consider Franti’s first two bands as collaborative affairs (with Rono Tse and others) and start instead with the first Spearhead album, 1994’s Home, it seems more logical.So when I think of the fact that there’s some family out there on the beach in the summer together listening to `Say Hey,’ it makes me feel really good.The truth is a good pop song that makes you feel good can be something of value and meaning to people.” Arguably the most cohesive, romantic and life-affirming album that Franti and Spearhead have ever made, The Sound Of Sunshine reflects the fact that, as Franti puts it, “With time, you get a better sense who you are and how to put together all your musical passions into your own sound.


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