Michael Franti & Spearhead
When a band is fronted by a man who has been barefoot for 10 years, you know it's a group that follows its own path. For Michael Franti & Spearhead, this path has brought them untold creativity -- and success.
Michael Franti started his music career in the mid-'80s with the punk band The Beatnigs. In the 1990s, he explored socially charged electronic music and hip-hop with a group called The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Following their first album, they were asked to open for U2, but disbanded soon after. Then Franti began his next project, forming a band named Spearhead. Soon to be renamed as Michael Franti & The Spearheads, the following 15 years saw them tour extensively and release six albums. The socially-aware music has remained, but has been worked into a more worldly musical style influenced by styles such as reggae, bossa nova, Afrobeat and funk. While largely staying out of the pop-culture spotlight, the band has gained a huge following through their many concerts and festivals. They even produce the Power to the People Festival.
In 2009, a ruptured appendix put Franti in the hospital. There, he began working on an upbeat, positive album. The album, "The Sound of Sunshine," is meant to get people through the cloudy days of life.