Michael Franti & Spearhead Debut 'Just to Say I Love You' From New Album

Anthony Thoen
Michael Franti & Spearhead

The song is inspired by Franti's "superhero" wife.

Michael Franti and Spearhead may be well aware of the problems in the world today, at home and abroad. But there's nothing but, well, love, in the video for "Just To Say I Love You," premiering below from the troupe's upcoming Stay Human, Vol. II album.

"The song is really about finding new ways to express your love for somebody," Franti tells Billboard. The full-of-smiles video features footage from Franti's wedding to his second wife, Sara Agah, and from the birth of their son Taj. "When you're in a relationship with somebody for a long time, maybe the gloss wears off a little bit. You forget to say, 'I love you.' You forget to notice the little things that brought you to that person, and you have your ups and downs and go through the ebbs and flows of a relationship.

"So the song is really about finding new ways to express your love for somebody -- not just saying 'I love you' but showing them through your actions."

Franti calls his wife, an emergency room nurse and jewelry designer, "a superhero" and says that the arrival of Taj that's depicted in the video is another kind of game-changer. "When this new child comes into your life you start thinking, 'Man, what is this world gonna bring for my child?'" Franti explains. "I think perhaps more than ever people feel that way, on a daily basis, like, 'This world is such a shit show...' You vacillate between just getting depressed about it and wanting to do something about it."

Franti's mission, musical and otherwise, is convincing people they can. His new documentary, Stay Human, spotlights people around the world who are making some sort of difference -- such as a midwife from Indonesia who traveled to post-hurricane Philippines to deliver babies in the midst of massive destruction. The film has been screening at festivals, while in November, following Spearhead's current tour, Franti will be screening it in seven cities along with a Q&A and acoustic performance at each.

"I'm somebody prone throughout my life to depression and anxiety," says Franti. "One of the ways I found to get through it is hearing stories of other people and how they got through it, then writing about it either in song or in film." And Franti does that in abundance on Stay Human Vol. II, which comes out Jan. 25 as a companion to the film as well as a sequel to 2001's Stay Human.

"We get stuck," says Franti. "We go, '...man, what can I possibly do to make a difference in this giant world? I've got a wire pistol, and the whole world's on fire. What can I do?' That's the core of this whole album. That's the question I keep asking over and over again, and the question I ask in the film -- How do we navigate wanting to make a difference in this crazy world and yet feeling so powerless at the same time?

"Then I meet people along the way, ordinary people doing extraordinary things. That's what (the album and film) are all about -- How do we hold on to our tenacity and our dignity and our love when things seem so crappy? I want these to encourage people and inspire them, like music and movies have done for me throughout my life."