Photo by Lauren Dukoff

Photo by Lauren Dukoff

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Michael Franti: To whom do I speak?

Maranda Pleasant: [laughing] Is this Mr. Franti?

MF: Is this Maranda Pleasant?

MP: It is!

MF: Sara just said: “You know, Maranda is starting a new yoga magazine called Mantra?” I said, “With Maranda starting it, I’m surprised she didn’t call it Tantra.”

MP: That’s the next one!

MF: Sara says for Tantra you can put me on the cover. Full permission.

MP: Yoga porn!

MF: Okay, interview over! Thanks! We got enough.

MP: [falls on the floor laughing] You just released All People, your new album. What makes this one special? Is it more emotional, are you in a different place?

Photo by Lauren Dukoff

Photo by Lauren Dukoff

MF: I’m in love! That’s what makes this record different. I’m kind of half joking, but I’m really quite serious. This record is really all about asking yourself this existential question: We only have X amount of days and time on this planet—how am I going to spend that time? The way that I want to spend it is caring about the people that I love the most, and fighting to make the world a more livable place for everybody. That’s what this record is really all about.

MP: Well, all you beautiful people who are in love can just go to hell! Beautiful and you’re in love! Agh.

MF: [laughing] But you’re in love, too. You’re in love with Ocean. You’re in love with the work that you do. Spreading the word, getting people inspired in positivity. You do it every day.

MP: That’s true. What is it that makes you feel fully alive?

MF: I feel alive when I feel ease of heart. What I mean by that is, I could be really sad and I start to cry; I feel alive then. I could be at a concert and I throw my hands up in the air and I feel elation; I feel alive then. The times when I feel not alive is when I feel stifled, when I feel like the emotion that’s in me is not coming out. I’m too busy, too hectic. I’m serving my iPhone more than my spirit. Those are the times I feel bad.

MP: What is love to you?

MF: Well, love is the action of soul satisfaction. I think of love as an action. Finding something that’s outside of yourself, to serve someone else’s soul, helping to ignite someone else’s spirit, to bring about ease of heart and joy, serenity in somebody else. When you find somebody you love, you do that all the time. It’s the same thing if you love the planet or the neighborhood—you’re finding ways to satisfy the soul of the planet or satisfy the soul of the neighborhood.

MP: That’s good stuff, Michael. Can you tell me what’s been one of your greatest struggles in this life?

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MF: Coming to grips with being adopted. I was adopted when I was a baby. My mother carried me for nine months and she held me for one hour, and didn’t see me again. The Franti family raised me. My mother and father took me in and provided everything for me—the love, nurturing, basic necessities—to give me the space to grow wings, so that when I went out into the world, I could fly.

It was hard for me, as a father, to imagine going through what my birth mom went through, to raise a child inside of her for nine months, and then have to say goodbye. And so it’s hard for me to understand that pain and that process. It’s also hard for me to understand growing up not knowing where I came from. I searched for my parents—I started when I was twenty; I found both my mother and my father when I was twenty-two. Trying to catch up on twenty-two years that we can never get back, trying to reconcile that—that’s a hard thing for me.

MP: I don’t know if you know, but before Ocean I gave a child up for adoption. There’s not a week that a birth mother doesn’t cry. Way to make me f*cking cry!

MF: Even Oprah cries, Maranda.

MP: If you could say something to every woman on the planet, what would it be?

MF: That’s a horrible question. [laughing]

MP: I’m just trying to get relationship advice! [laughing]

michael-franti_quote03MF: I think the main thing I would say is, don’t settle. Don’t settle for something that’s not great. Don’t feel like having a relationship that is not serving your needs is more important than having a relationship with yourself—that’s the same advice I’d give for men or women. I see it all the time and I’ve done it. I’ve been in those relationships. You go through years of your life and at a certain point you wake up and you go, god, what am I doing here? What have I spent the last three years doing? Part of it is learning, this process you’ve gotta go through. You have to recognize the point at which you’re not learning anymore, and be able to let it go.

MP: That letting go shit—sounds a lot easier!

MF: I know.

MP: Is there something you’ve learned from being in
a relationship with your beautiful partner?

MF: The main thing is to be myself. What I mean by that is, to be honest when called upon to express your feelings. The other thing is—maybe this should come first—to be a good listener. To close your mouth and to listen, and to be able to echo back what your partner says to you. “I heard you say you had a really rough day.” “I heard you say you spent way too much time in traffic and you’re really frustrated.” “I heard you say it would be really great if we could get away this weekend.” To be able to echo those things back to your partner so your partner feels heard, and so your partner can do that same thing for you. That’s the best advice anyone’s ever given me.

MP: I’m gonna make a note of that right now. I’m writing that down. Can you explain the title of your record, All People?

MF: This record is dedicated to the beauty and power of diversity. That’s the true strength of our nation. It’s not our military, it’s not our economic might. It’s the caring that we have when we—you see it when there’s a natural disaster. Everybody goes out and helps everybody else, no matter what color they are or what walk of life they come from. Whenever people go out of their way to help other people—there’s power and beauty in our diversity.

There is a cause that I’m really passionate about right now. Sara is an ER nurse and I’m a musician. For a long time, we were trying to think of ways we could combine our areas of expertise and do something good with them. We decided to start a foundation call Do It For The Love. Do It For The Love is basically like a Make-A-Wish Foundation for music. Children or adults who are living with advanced stages of life-threatening illnesses can contact us through our website and say, “It’s always been my dream to go see Metallica,” or “It’s always been my dream to see Jack Johnson.” Our office contacts the management of those artists and we either arrange tickets for a one-on-one meet-and-greet with those artists and get people to concerts.

We’ve had a number of people that we’ve met recently with very serious illnesses, who have come to our shows and expressed how important it was for them—the power of music, to be there at the concert. We started this foundation to make that a possibility for as many people as we can.

MP: And I thought I could not love you more. Congrats on the new album. I’ll see you in Aspen.


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