Michael Franti is a musician, filmmaker and humanitarian who is recognized as a pioneering force in the music industry. Long known for his globally conscious lyrics, powerful performances, and dynamic live shows, Franti has continually been at the forefront of lyrical activism, using his music as a positive force for change.
“I make music because I believe it can change people’s lives and make a difference in the world,” enthuses Franti, “music gives us new energy and a stronger sense of purpose.” He and his band Spearhead, known for their authentic and uplifting music, have found global success with multi-platinum songs like “Say Hey (I Love You)”, the chart breaking 2010 release of The Sound Of Sunshine. Franti and his band guarantee a show that will be thought provoking as well as energetic.
Franti has a brand new single, “Once A Day” from his upcoming debut album on Fantasy Records. “Once a Day” was inspired by his son’s diagnosis with a rare kidney disease called FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis) in the hopes that this song would inspire anyone in the world who is going through challenging times. “My belief is that through music, dance and gratitude for this life we can all ‘rise up’,” explains Franti. “Once A Day” was produced by Supa Dups (Eminem, Damian Marley, Bruno Mars) and features special guest Sonna Rele. This new song has the same feel-good, inspiring vibe as “Say Hey (I Love You),” his 2x platinum hit single.
Giving back has always been at the heart of Franti’s mission, he has dedicated his life to spreading the joy of music and positivity to millions of people. Franti’s humanitarian, social justice, and peace efforts continue to inspire his music and are infused throughout his upcoming album on Fantasy Records due to release in May 2016.
Music isn’t just a career to Carl Young; it’s his life. From when he first started playing the drums at age 11 until now—more than 40 years later—he has had a burning desire to create a life focused on playing music and traveling the world. Whether he is learning new instruments, recording and producing music, teaching music lessons, or playing on tour with Michael Franti & Spearhead, he feels fortunate to say that he has made his desire a reality. And, he’s gotten to visit more than 50 countries and traveled extensively throughout the US along the way! While he plans to continue a music-centered life, his dream now is to share his musical skills and love of music with others through teaching and music production and recording.
Carl’s first foray into music started off with the drums. Always one to want to learn more and expand his horizons, he soon moved to piano and woodwinds—clarinet, flute, baritone, tenor, alto, and soprano saxophone—before falling in love with the electric bass, which he has been playing for Michael Franti & Spearhead since 1994.
His love for multiple instruments carries over to his appreciation for and ability to play multiple styles of music, from R&B to classical, hip hop to jazz. Having a diverse background in music styles and instruments has enabled Carl to play with an array of artists both live and in recording settings. A few of the musicians he has played with include Chanté Moore, the late great Don Cherry, Cree Summers, De Barge, Dionne Farris, Zap Mama, John Popper, and Blues Traveler. In addition, Carl has been on tour with The Counting Crows, String Cheese Incident, Santana, John Mayer, Ziggy Marley, Ben Harper, U2 and others.
Professional musician is not Carl’s only musical role. He loves all aspects of music, which is why he is also a music writer, production engineer, recording specialist, and music teacher. Carl co-wrote “Say Hey (I Love You)” and “Sound Of Sunshine,” two hits that can be heard around the world.
Carl’s unique background and skill set make Carl a versatile musician who can bring an entire score to life while helping those with musical interests fulfill their dreams, whether it be in the recording studio or learning a new instrument. With decades of experience under his belt and as he actively pursues a music production and recording degree online from the Berklee College of Music, Carl looks forward to continue sharing his passion with others through touring, teaching, and producing.
Manas Itiene was born in the town of Ughelli, Delta state, in the West African country of Nigeria, where he grew up as a member of the Isoko tribe. He played drums with several local church groups where he was discovered by the Mandators — one of Nigeria’s most successful reggae groups. As a teenager, he moved to Lagos to play and tour with the Mandators, and also sat in with many other famous Nigerian artists, including Sonny Okosuns and Majek Fashek.
In 1993, the Mandators toured to the U.S., where Manas has remained ever since. He has played with 3-time Bammy Award winner Inka Inka, Sister Carol of Jamaica, Apple Gabriel of Israel Vibration, Sugar Minott, and Kotoja, to name a few. He also has spent a lot of time in the recording studio, recording with such artists as Mickey Thomas of Jefferson Starship and Babatunde Olatunji.Since joining Spearhead in 2000, Manas has enjoyed the opportunity to draw upon his diverse musical influences and travel the world, performing in countries such as Japan, Brazil, Europe, the UK and Australia. His touring highlights include national tours alongside John Mayer and the Counting Crows as well as TV appearances on the Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon, and Craig Ferguson shows. In 2010 Manas released his first solo album entitled “Tears of Joy.”
One of the rising stars of the San Francisco music scene, musician and producer J Bowman began his music career in Chicago. After relocating to the Bay Area to record with Sandy Pearlman (The Clash, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult), the guitar virtuoso was quickly recognized for his ability to adapt his style to a number of genres, from rock to funk to hip hop to house. Soon he was in the studio with George Clinton, Pink, Chris Isaak, Sly & Robbie, 2Pac, Scott Hardkiss, The Hieroglyphics, Fatboy Slim, Melle Mel, Paula Cole, Cake, Souls Of Mischief, Aceyalone, Miguel Migs and the list goes on.
Bowman is also production partner to Michael Franti (Spearhead), performing on the road and collaborating in the studio. When not touring the world, he’s found time to produce a number of indie San Francisco acts, including dance-punk girls Von Iva, blues rock songstress LZ Love and his own side project Frequency 3, which mixes rock songwriting with dance floor beats. J Bowman is currently working on his self-titled solo debut album. His live shows are a high-energy explosion of rock and roll, but you may still find him playing guitar with a DJ or two around S.F. if you are lucky.
From a very young age, Michael showed a passion for music. One of his earliest musical influences growing up was having access to his father’s vast record collection consisting of various genres of music. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Michael began taking piano lessons at the age of 7 and continued studying throughout his high school years. By the age of 18, he was performing local gigs on a regular basis while studying jazz theory in college. Michael was coveted by many scholarship programs for jazz studies across the country, but opted to stay local and study Business Marketing at San Francisco State University. During that time, he continued to gig regularly, quickly developing a strong reputation as one of the Bay Area’s finest musicians.
Michael has now been performing professionally for 15 years. Known for being an exceptional talent and an accomplished musician, Mike continues to be one of the most sought after musicians from the San Francisco Bay Area. Mike is trained extensively in jazz styles and well versed in many styles such as Gospel, R&B, Afro-Cuban, Funk and Reggae. In addition to his own musical accomplishments, Mike has made a name for himself traveling the world touring for high profile recording artists such as six-time Grammy winner Lauryn Hill and grammy nominated artists Sheila E, Michael Franti & Ledisi. Michael released his critically acclaimed debut album Living for the Future in 2015.