Michael Franti & Spearhead will play the Coffee Butler Amphitheater in Key West on April 12, 2024. Contributed

Key West will get all the love from Michael Franti and Spearhead, whose “Togetherness Tour” includes a stop at the Coffee Butler Amphitheater on Friday, April 12.

With a career spanning three decades, Michael Franti has secured his place as a musical powerhouse. His songs fuse elements of hip-hop, punk rock and reggae for the signature, joyful sounds behind “Say Hey (I Love You),” “I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like)” and “Hands Up To The Sky.”

Franti & Spearhead’s latest album, “Big Big Love,” digs into familiar Franti territory, with themes of love, resilience and personal growth. 

“Big love is when you are able to love your family, your friends, your romantic partners,” Franti said. “It takes incredible focus and effort and diligence and forgiveness and healing and trying again just to do that. And then there’s the love that goes out across borders, and religion and gender and sexuality and ethnicity, out into the world. And that’s even harder to do.”

Franti started out a long way from big, big love. In the 1990s, he was blasting his anger through experimental rap and hip-hop by forming the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy in San Francisco.  

“I grew up in an alcoholic family and didn’t have a super happy childhood,” Franti told Keys Weekly in a phone call from his home in Bali. “When I first started in punk rock and hip-hop, it was just expressing rage, and not really understanding where it came from.”

Michael Franti joined the Weekly’s new podcast, Key West Side Tracks, to talk about his 30-year music career, staying positive and how sharing his music with fans helps him feel less lonely. Contributed

Franti said as he grew, he evolved.

“My music started to take on more of a personal, introspective look at who I am in the way that I’m showing up,” he said. 

Franti built a devoted fanbase from his constant mantra of staying positive no matter what’s happening. And he’s had his own challenges. 

In 2021, Franti lost his biological father to COVID and wasn’t able to attend the funeral in person. Franti was given up for adoption at birth and didn’t meet his biological dad until he was 22.

He searched for two years to find him, after having his own son at age 20. He wanted the boy to know his grandparents. 

“Staying positive isn’t about being happy all the time,” Franti said. “For me, staying positive is being able to be who I am in that moment and access whatever emotion is there.”

Franti and his family live in Indonesia, at Soulshine Bali, the yoga retreat resort they built in Bali. The food they serve at the hotel is made from the rice and vegetables they grow in their own organic garden or from neighboring farms.

For the Key West show, Franti has added a yoga session for his fans before the April 12 concert. He’ll also play some tunes.

Ticket holders can join Franti for a pre-show, one-hour-long Yoga Jam at the amphitheater at 4 p.m. Concertgoers must have their tickets scanned to enter the venue. Yoga doors open at 3:30 p.m.

After yoga, people can either stay at the amphitheater or leave and return. Bring your own yoga mats and towels. They won’t be provided. 

Gwen Filosa
Gwen Filosa is The Keys Weekly’s Digital Editor, and has covered Key West news, culture and assorted oddities since she moved to the island in 2011. She was previously a reporter for the Miami Herald and WLRN public radio. Before moving to the Keys, Gwen was in New Orleans for a decade, covering criminal courts for The Times-Picayune. In 2006, the paper’s staff won the Pulitzer Prizes for breaking news and the Public Service Medal for their coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. She remains a devout Saints fan. She has a side hustle as a standup comedian, and has been a regular at Comedy Key West since 2017. She is also an acclaimed dogsitter, professional Bingo caller and a dedicated Wilco fan.