When I walked offstage, the news about that shooting was the first thing I came across on my phone. The fact that it happened at a country concert, of all places, really hit home for me and taught me that gun violence is affecting everyone. It makes you feel different. I wrote this song with two incredible writers who have become my really deep friends, Niko Moon and Ben Simonetti. Niko had opened up for me on tour a few years earlier when he was known as Nic Cowan.
What are you doing here? He had put together this cool ukulele part that was kind of buried in these other tracks of synthesizers and drums and bass lines. Then we stripped it down and I just started singing to the ukulele part. I wrote this song with an artist named Victoria Canal, as well as Niko and Ben. Victoria is a woman I came across randomly on Instagram.
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She was born with only part of her right arm and, when I saw her playing guitar, I was really blown away. Would you be interested in coming to Nashville and writing a song with me? So she came down and I told her about my life—how I was raised in this mixed family. I was given up for adoption at birth and the Franti family, who had three kids of their own, adopted me and another African-American son. It also emphasizes that each of us has the ability and potential to be that flower in the gun, a metaphor for putting an end to violence, bullying and hate.
We rewrote the verses and the bridge of the song and just redid it. She had never really talked about it before, but she began to open up about it onstage and really expressed what was going on in her life.
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It really inspires me. In , I put out a record called Stay Human , which was all about the death penalty.
What is the number of all these things we measure the exterior of people by? How do we show up as being the person that we are? Outside of our body and our possessions, what is left and how can we help that shine in the world? My mom was somebody who really did that for me, so this is the song I wrote for my mom after she had a stroke last November.
As people, we have seasons: both literal seasons with the weather and also seasons in our lives when we pass through moments.
This is a metaphoric song about how we appreciate summer. And some kids are doing donuts on their motorcycles at the intersection right outside my house, and life goes on. So this song is an acknowledgement that, yes, the world is fucked up, but you know what? There are more good things happening than bad things by a billion times over. One of the things we love to do is have little dance parties in our kitchen.
So I thought that this is a good song to rock in your kitchen. You can turn the room into a kitchen nightclub. Michael Beirut, graphic designer and Pentagram partner, is an internationally sought-after speaker who has won hundreds of design awards. His work is represented in permanent collections in museums in the United States, Europe and Asia.
Stay Human on Spotify
Indy Johar is a visionary thinker with extensive experience in both architecture and design. His Ted Talks on social innovation and system change have been seen by thousands. He holds a leading position in the Young Foundation and is a guest professor. What will it take for us to experience fundamental well-being, confidence and belonging? Her main vision is to create cities and neighbourhoods adapted to the challenges of the future and to practice architecture within an ethical framework.
He has been a pioneer in this field and has advised governments around the world about public sector innovation. Together with Heidi Dolven from the design consultancy Halogen, she is preparing a new White Paper on public sector innovation. The goal is a compact, modern living and working environment that stimulates sustainable social structures and a modern lifestyle based on architecture and design, tourism, renewable energy and food consumption.
She takes an alternative approach to environmental design that couples the computational properties of the natural world with the productivity of soils. Urbanisation and digitisation are proceeding faster than ever. In the pursuit of making room for more people to inhabit our cities while simultaneously creating smart cities, are we also making our cities more hostile to human beings? How can we make architecture more alive, cities more liveable and what can we learn from small towns?
Micro-urbanism — What can big cities learn from small towns?