Taken from H.E.A.R. (April 2000)
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Artist of the month
Songwriter, composer, musician, activist, producer, poet. a man with many roles that is an artist who will continue to break boundaries, give back to the community, and chosses to take social responsibility in sharing knowledge and in organizing events to support his beliefs.
Michael Franti and Spearhead will be releasing their first studio album titled Stay Human since 1997's Chocolate Supa Highway on Capitol Records. This album is produced by Franti and recorded and mixed in his own Sugar Shack Studio in San Francisco, CA. The album exposes Franti at his est and most focused personal, creative, and musical vision blending old-school soul and R&B, hard-core hip-hop beats with a happy splash of disco to boogie on down the road to consciousness.
Stay Human features vocalist, Mary Harris, from Spearhead's critically-acclaimed Home album, on several tracks. Ms. Harris' voice adds a dimension of pure soul and a playful synergy between Franti and Harris that complement eachother's vocal style on "Oh My God," and especially on the high-energy disco track "Thank You" which is very reminiscent of Patti LaBelle's lat 70s era. Other highlights include Zap Mama's Marie lending her vocals on the sexy "Listener Supported," the human beat-box, Radioactive, doing his thing on the hard-core, full-drontal track "The Dawning," a heartfelt ballad "Love'll Set Me Free" and 'it's not who ya love, but' "Do Ya Love."
Long-time bassist, horn player, and musical director for Spearhead, Carl Young, and percussionist/drummer, Roberto Quintana, lend the backbone of the rhythm section, while keyboardist, Ramon Lazo and guitarist, David Shul, round out the album with their smooth melodies which offer a dynamic of subtle and sparse arrangements to pelvis rockin' leads!
The street date for te full-length album Stay Human is slotted for Fall 2000 release worldwide on Michael's imprint Boo Boo Wax in conjunction wiht a soon-to-be announced major distributed label. In February, Franti's Boo Boo Wax released an intimate 18-song musical and spoken-word live album titled "Michael Franti - Live at the Baobab." A special fan-oriented release available only at the live concerts and on the website.
DJ vinyl and a CD release featuring various house, deep house, and drum 'n bass remixes of selected Stay Human tracks will be released this summer. Worldwide touring and various exspeariences" are currently in progress.