Franti & Spearhead headline first free concert in Vail Tuesday
If you go ….
What: Michael Franti & Spearhead.
When: Tonight, show starts at 6:30 p.m. It’s recommended that one arrive early.
Where: Solaris in Vail Village (held in conjunction with the nightly Medals Presentation for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships).
More information: This is the first of many free high-profile concerts for the Championships. View the full lineup at vailbeavercreek2015.com.
Full Vail concert lineup:
Held at Solaris in Vail Village. All shows are free and start at 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday: Michael Franti & Spearhead
Wednesday: Andreas Gabalier
Thursday: Mix Master Mike
Friday: American Authors
Sunday: Craig Wayne Boyd
Feb. 10: KC and the Sunshine Band
Feb. 12: Phillip Phillips
Feb. 14: CeeLo Green
For more information, visit vailbeavercreek2015.com.
In “Life is Better With You,” Michael Franti sings “everyday’s not Valentine’s, but you make it feel like most of the time,” so it’s no surprise that he used this song to propose to his girlfriend two weeks ago, just in time for the official holiday devoted to love. Franti did one better and made a video that he filmed over three years, editing it together and adding text that said things like “you make me laugh” and “super hot” as a way to tell his partner Sara Agah that he wanted to put a ring on it. Luckily she said yes, otherwise that would have been many hours of figuring out how to use iMovie down the drain. The video now has over 300,000 views and climbing on YouTube. Watch it if you like the idea of weeping while hunched over a screen.
SINGING SONGS WITH A POSITIVE PURPOSE
Franti actually wrote “Life is Better With You” three years ago, and he said the lyrics were more of a fantasy than reality at that time.
“We hadn’t been dating for very long,” Franti said. “It was a kind of wishful thing on my part. The years went by and right now just seemed like the right time.”
Franti and his band, Spearhead, who get the crowd pumped for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships tonight with a free concert at Solaris in Vail Village, are known for spreading the message of love, and not just as a way to get the girl. Hits like “Say Hey (I Love You)” and “I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like),” masquerade as pop songs, but there’s also a socially-conscious message hidden underneath. Franti said he often uses songwriting as a way to express his feelings about political issues. This past December, after both the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and the Eric Garner verdict in New York, Franti released “Same As It Ever Was (Start Today),” a song that touched on his anger and ways our society could “put things in a positive way that looks toward the future,” he said.
“Music is something that helps us process emotions,” Franti said. “If it’s an emotion that I’m processing and there’s a song that I can tie into that, it helps people in the audience also process that [emotion].”
Franti felt personally connected to the turmoil and wanted to use his music as a force for change.
“It’s possible that people can still be supportive of police,” Franti said. “I have a brother who’s a police officer, there’s still good people and [this] doesn’t mean that all police are bad … There’s never a time when I don’t feel like music is the appropriate reaction.”
MASTERING THE CRAFT OF SONGWRITING
While other artists may shy away from speaking their minds, especially when it comes to political issues, Franti has been able to bridge the gap between danceable beats and lyrics that sing the truth. Now partially due to social media, Franti finds that he’s not the only musician on a mission.
“I’ve been making music for 26 years, and there’s been times where I wished that there were other artists who were more vocal,” Franti said. “There’s a lot of artists today that are emerging who are really wanting to promote positivity and bring about positive change — social issues as well as environmental issues. More people are wanting to hear that music, and that’s why those artists are getting a bigger following.”
Want to learn how to write a verse and create a melody like Franti? Your chance may be closer than you think. Recently Franti embarked on a cruise, which he called a “floating festival,” where he taught a songwriting workshop and wrote a song that was truly crowd-sourced. However, penning a song as catchy as “Say Hey (I Love You)” takes a little more effort.
“Songwriting is a craft and there’s many elements that go into it,” Franti said. “Anybody can write a basic song, basic chorus and basic words, but it takes a long time to be a master craftsman. I’ve been doing it for about 25 years and I still feel like a beginner.”
If all the dreams Franti wrote about in his songs came true, we’d definitely be living in a happier, more harmonious world, accompanied by a groovy, soulful beat. For now, we’ll have to settle for the one wish that did come true. Maybe Franti’s next song will be about table settings or wedding invitations. We’ll all probably cry to that music video, too.
More than a decade and a half ago, Kobe Bryant came to the Vail Valley quietly. Fourteen months later, he left the same way. In the middle was … well … a media circus.