Saturday, December 29, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Michael Franti & Spearhead

Artist:Michael Franti & Spearhead
Song:The Sound Of Sunshine
Album:The Sound Of Sunshine

At the start of his career, Michael Franti looked like he was going to be the new Gil Scott-Heron. He combined contemporary hip hop with political and social commentary. He softened his approach on his latest CD The Sound Of Sunshine and it's his most successful CD to date. He was born Apr. 21, 1966 in Oakland, CA. His mother was white and his father was black. His mother thought her family wouldn't accept him so she put him up for adoption. His adopted father was a professor at UC Davis. Franti started writing songs as a teen. And while attending the University of San Francisco in 1986, he started The Beatnigs with percussionist Rono Tse. This punk band recorded an album and then split up in 1990. Then the duo formed The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy with jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter. They recorded an album for Island Records and toured with U2 among others. The album got positive reviews and they were compared to Gil Scott-Heron because of Franti's politically charged lyrics. But it didn't sell and they split up in 1994. Franti formed Spearhead and recorded two albums for Capitol Records. They wanted him to be more mainstream so Franti left Capitol and recorded on his own label and then Anti Records. After the success of his 2008 CD All Rebel Rockers, Franti returned to Capitol for his 2010 CD The Sound Of Sunshine. So if you watch the video for The Sound Of Sunshine, it seems like a Jack Johnson song instead of Gil Scott-Heron. Franti says his recovery from a 2009 ruptured appendix influenced a more positive outlook and The Sound Of Sunshine reflects that. The album reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 200. An Italian version of The Sound Of Sunshine featuring Italian star Jovanotti reached #3 on the Italian charts. Franti is still politically active. But with his "sunny" CD being his most successful, I wonder if he will return to his Gil Scott-Heron influenced roots. There's no question he's a talented guy. But a more mainstream sound could backfire on him in the long run. Here's the video for The Sound Of Sunshine by Michael Franti & Spearhead.

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