Exclusive interview: Musician Michael Franti talks LGBT issues, lesbian sister


The sun was hot in Napa at the BottleRock music festival Sunday May 12, but fans braved the heat wave to check out the Michael Franti and Spearhead performance.

429Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Franti to discuss LGBT equality, his lesbian sister, and the power of diversity.

The band took the stage exuding the kind of energy that seeps into your pores. Riveting sounds of Franti’s guitar collided in perfect harmony with his deep voice. Almost hypnotic, Franti performed while simultaneously staring into every show-goers eyes creating a trance-like magnetic energy between himself and his audience. 

“That’s the thing that I have always done, just try and connect one on one with people. And when I am in the audience, I always have a goal to try and look at every single person in the eye. Whether it’s 10,000 people [or one]I like getting in the audience and physically touching people,” Franti said at the BottleRock press conference where 429Magazine was in attendance. 

Wild screams and arms flailed in uncontrollable excitement when Franti jumped the stage and tightroped across the barrier which separated the audience from the pit where he stood barefooted and sung while giving out high-fives. His raw authenticity sent shock waves through the crowd leaving satisfied smiles on the faces of show-goers. 

429Magazine sat down with Franti at the BottleRock press conference for an interview.  

429Magazine: As a San Francisco native, you live in a city that embraces diversity and fights for equality. What is your stance on same-sex marriage and the current LGBT-equality movement?

Michael Franti: I love San Francisco for that reason, that we embrace diversity and we celebrate diversity and we believe in the power of diversity. Same-sex marriage is to me one of those things where it is like, we look back and we say wow we use to hunt whales, women couldn’t vote, are you fucking kidding me? You know like, black people couldn’t go to the same school as white people, are you joking? Did that actually happen within my lifetime? 

Same-sex marriage is going to be one of those things that we look back on the same way. Our kids are gonna go, really? You guys had to have an argument about this? Are you fucking kidding me? 

And so obviously I support it. I grew up in a [liberal]family, I also have a sister who is a lesbian who has been with the same woman for like 25 years.

429Mag: How does the fight for equality and diversity influence your music? How does it influence you, personally?

Franti: I’ve written a lot of songs about it. I have an album that was just finished last week and it’s called ‘All People.’ It’s about the power of diversity, it’s about the beauty of diversity. 

You know [like]a salad; a fruit salad has things that are side by side with each other that when combined taste [so good], but a tomato doesn’t have to become a piece of spinach, it can still remain a tomato and stay right next to a piece of spinach, thats a given. [Throw in] some strawberries and some walnuts [mix in a little vinaigrette]and you make this incredible salad.

We don’t all have to become like each other to live next to each other and in fact  the more bio-diversity we have in nature the healthier nature is…the more diversity we have between people the healthier communities are gonna be.


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