On Saturday, October 3rd, multi-hyphenate Michael Franti took part in Democracy Comes Alive, a one-day, nonpartisan virtual music festival aimed at channeling the power of music to make a critical impact on civic engagement in this November’s elections and beyond. For his solo performance, the rapper/singer-songwriter known best known as the leader of his genre-blending Spearhead outfit took a solo approach to a number of his original tunes. Before diving into the music, however, Franti prefaced his performance by saying,
I’m super happy to be here and I’ll tell you why: because I freaking love to vote. I tell you what, I meet a lot of people who are like, ‘Ah, I don’t want to vote for this person or that person, they’re not the perfect candidate,’ and I tell you what: there is no freaking perfect candidate. Nobody is a perfect candidate. I ain’t perfect, you ain’t perfect, nobody’s perfect. But we try to do the best we can and steer the direction of the country in the way that our values are, and whatever your values are, I hope you’re doing that.
With that, he donned an acoustic guitar and launched into his most well-known hit, “Say Hey (I Love You)”, from 2008’s All Rebel Rockers. The feel-good, sing-along tune inspired some toe-tapping and surely moved more than a few viewers to get up off the couch and dance. In somewhat of contrast to Franti’s opening warning about the serious changes that society needs to undergo, “Say Hey (I Love You)” highlighted the underlying notion that love and positivity should serve as our guiding light.
By comparison, Franti’s next song, “Is It Worth A Penny To You”, painted a much darker picture with the opening lines, “Did you read the news this mornin’/bout the world burning?/There’s a shootin’ there’s a lootin’/There’s a hurricane comin’/And every day I sit and wonder/What the hell we doing?” Yet, while the imagery of this song is bleak, the theme of the music remained the same: of reaching out into the world and trying to do some good.
Finally, the session came to a close with “I Got You”, which capitalized on a call to action messaging as Franti urged everyone to get out to the polls. Ever the entertainer, Franti encouraged audience participation despite the fact that he was performing in his living room, showing that the artist has but only one speed regardless of crowd size.
Relive Michael Franti’s performance at Democracy Comes Alive in the video below. If you enjoyed the performance and have the means, consider making a donation to HeadCount and the Democracy Comes Alive artists via DemocracyComesAlive.com.
Michael Franti – “Say Hey (I Love You)”, “Is It Worth A Penny To You”, “I Got You” – Democracy Comes Alive
Franti joined 50+ performers and 10+ other speakers as part of Democracy Comes Alive, presented by Live For Live Music in partnership with voter registration nonprofit HeadCount. The 10-hour streaming event, powered by Nugs.TV and Plus 1, generated $40,000 and counting in funds for HeadCount as well as the participating artists, who remain out of work as the pandemic continues. In addition to the funds generated, Democracy Comes Alive led thousands of people to HeadCount’s tools to check your voter registration status and register to vote. For more information, head here.