The irie, sensi smoking reggae sensations of Fortunate Youth have undoubtedly earned their reputations as true supporters of the good green herb. After catching almost 15 of their shows, I must say they have unprecedented stage energy and a smoothly skankin, roots sound any cannabis lover would highly enjoy. Over the last six years, FY has launched themselves into the whirlpool of the booming reggae-world. Immersing their passions together, they’ve gained national recognition and have been non-stop touring across country. Their music aims to spread positivity, with a motto “Peace, Love and Unity” and hugely popular songs like “Positive”and “Till the End” they’re doing just that. In this exclusive interview with Fortunate Youth we talk about their formation as a group, discuss their opinions on legalization and highlight on their newest album Don’t Think Twice!
1. Where do the band members of Fortunate Youth reside, how did you form as a group, who plays what instruments in the band and how long have you been collectively playing reggae music?
Our roots are spread throughout the sunny coastlines of Los Angeles CA, to Las Vegas NV, and Phoenix AZ.The band started at our now managers birthday party as a backyard jam on June1st 2009. We all stemmed from previous bands that kind of ended up as one, one of those things that were destined to be. Our Fortunate family includes Dan Kelly – Lead Vox, Travis Walpole – Percussion/Guitar/Bass, Greg Gelb -Guitar/Bass/Dubs, Jordan Rosenthal – Drums, Corey Draskovich -Bass/Guitar/Keys/Dubs, Jered Draskovich – Keys/Bass. We’ve been collectively a band for 6 years on June 1st of 2015.
2. How did you come up with the name Fortunate Youth? Can you give our readers a glimpse into your musical style, what message are you’re aiming to spread and some of albums you’ve released?
When we were brainstorming our band name we felt that we had been fortunate to all come together how we had, and mutually believe that music keeps you young, and age is just a state of mind so, there we had it, Fortunate Youth… We believe that even if you are 80+ years old you can still be youthful at heart, it’s all in your state of mind. Our motto is Peace Love & Unity and our music aims spread positive vibes around the world. Our releases include “Up-Lifted” EP, “Irie State of Mind” LP, “It’s All a Jam” LP, “Mo Boogie Loft Sessions w/Fortunate Youth” (Live Acoustic) and “Fortunate Youth DUB Collections Vol. 1” EP
3. I know you all live up to your reputation as strong public supporters of medical and recreational cannabis, with sponsors like Raw Rolling Papers and creating hit songs like “Burn One” and “Sweet Sensi”, where do you see the cannabis industry heading in the near future, are you for full legalization, if so what’s your opinion on big pharma taking reigns with our beloved plant?
It’s amazing to see the progress and support in a growing number of states today. A good number of states are getting closer to full legalization in the near future. It’s definitely a complex subject that will affect a lot of people in different ways, but clearly gaining more support with the long list of positive medical benefits and the pioneer states proving it to be a lucrative earner. We are strong supporters of decriminalization of the plant, especially with such high incarceration rates for simply possession. There are many benefits of legalizing marijuana and until it is legalized or federal bans are relaxed, it will continue to be asocial justice issue as it’s currently classified as a schedule 1 substance.
4. How has cannabis influenced Fortunate Youth and who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
It helps brings inspiration to the music we make! Roots Radics, Funk Brothers, Bill Withers, Smokey Robinson, Bob Marley,Fat Freddie’s Drop, Van Morrison, Jerry Garcia, BB King, Gregory Isaacs, and Dennis Brown.
5. Your song “Farmer” off of Irie State of Mind has held quite the impact among many of your fans, what is the meaning behind this sensational anthem?
We have a lot of love for farmers and know a lot of people who grow so we’ve have seen first hand the hard times it has been for anyone in that industry.That track is definitely an anthem for all farmers out there and a glimpse at the current situation throughout the world regarding prohibition. It is promoting the positive benefits and demand for medicine. We’re just stoked that it resonates well with the community so well and its certainly one of our favorite songs to perform, as it gets the crowd hyped!
6. How are people reacting to your new album, can you tellus about some of the guest features and songs you’ll be presenting?
We’re happy to hear people are hungry for new music and we’re excited to release it. We’ve got great responses so far and had a great time collaborating with the legendary Marlon “Ganja Farmer” Asher, The Expanders, The Green, Essel Liufau, True Press and a few others you can hear on the album! You can get it now on iTunes or order a hard copy on our online store fortunatemusic.com!
7. What is this “Music Unites the World” CD we’ve been hearing so much about over the last few years?
Music Unites is a project that our drummer Jordan started that was all founded on the idea that if we all just came together and supported one another, we really do have have the ability to change the world and unity is so vital in the music business. Music Unites are compilation cd’s
Aimed at getting out as many amazing artists music to the world while finding a cause that we can all stand behind and donate any money generated towards. We are just so thankful to see so many people want to help spread love and positivity out in this world, Music Unites carries that notion with each cd released.
8. Tell us about some of the projects you have in the works for the rest of the year and where can Releaf readers find your music?
We are always working on new music! Our new release DON’T THINK TWICE is out now so go pick it up!! Keep up to date with us on our website at www.fortunatemusic.com,Facebook, & instagram @fotunateyouth310. Thank you to everyone for all of your continued love and support we would be nothing without it! Stay rebel!!
Just wrapping up their 4th album Don’t Think Twice and a national album release spring tour, Fortunate Youth tirelessly continues to pursue their musical development while puffing tough and spreading their much needed and vital message. These guys are really making a positive change in people’s lives, and I feel blessed everyday that I’m one of them. Their new album is beginning to pick up quite the pace among fans all over the world.Hearing it myself before its release, I must pay respect where it is due, because their new works are hot fire and some of the guests on the album just add to the successful components of good reggae music. To find out what the hype is about, I highly and humbly suggest listening to their music, it could change your life forever and is the perfect antidote for all types of medicating scenarios. Visit their website, www.fortunatemusic.com to find our where they’ll be touring next and join the FY smokers club!