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Taken from The Post and Courier (February 4, 2010)

Michael Franti - Activist, musician practices what he preaches

by Vikki Matsis, Special to The Post and Courier

Michael Franti

Franti's latest album is 'All Rebel Rockers.'
He'll be opening up for John Mayer
on Monday in North Charleston.

An unlikely pair, Mayer fans will be exposed to the reggae hip-hop style of Franti, and Franti fans will get to experience the pop culture, singer-songwriter icon John Mayer.

Franti is a 43-year-old San Francisco native who has traveled all over the world playing music from his past seven albums, which includes a solo acoustic album "Songs from the Front Porch" (2003), "Yell Fire!" (2006) and "All Rebel Rockers" (2008).

Franti is much more than just a singer. He tries to put into practice the messages in his music.

He is a vegan and has not worn shoes for the past 10 years in protest of poverty. Along with starting his own record label, Franti began Power to the Peaceful, a nonprofit organization dedicated to "the promotion of cultural coexistence, nonviolence and environmental sustainability through the arts and music," according to its mission statement.

His lyrics send a message of hope and speak against war, poverty and other social justice issues.

I had the chance to interview Franti in person in April 2009 at the Music Farm; this most recent interview was done over the phone. I asked Franti to say the first thing that came to mind after each phrase or question.

My work: To be the best musical communicator of social justice that I can be.

My passion: My kids. I have two sons

I love: Music.

Words I live by: It's not about who you choose to love, it's do you choose to love.

I can't live without: My guitars and my passport.

I am most proud of: My sons and the fact that I've been able to do what I love for 23 years now. I feel really blessed and super grateful.

I'm inspired by: The people around me: my friends, my family and the people that I meet on the road every day.

If I could be totally wild, I would: Get naked and throw ice, you know get naked and have a snow fight.

I am guilty of: (Eating) way too much chocolate.

Right now I'm reading: "Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan" by Greg Mortenson.

The one thing that has changed my life: Learning to read, spending time with books as a kid.

Favorite Web site: facebook.com.

If I could do it all over again: I'd skip fifth grade.

My favorite body part: My toes.

The food I could eat every day: Mango

The food I never want to eat again: Beef.

I wish I'd known: That relationships could be so much work.

The world would be a better place, if only: Everybody spent 10 minutes a day on giving back.

I wish: I had all the time to do everything I wanted each day.

Always: Be kind.

Never: Give up.


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