Out of Los Angeles comes a group of six friends whose mission to spread a positive influence through the power of reggae music has earned them the right to help represent California reggae across the globe. Formed in 2009, Fortunate Youth has continued to evolve as a band while keeping their message of “Peace, Love, and Unity” as a staple of their live performances and close connection with their supporters. Powered by good vibes, endless support from their fans, and lots of proper medication through the use of Prop 215, the South Bay locals have entered 2015 in full force.
Already this year, Fortunate Youth had the opportunity to make their debut on the islands of Hawaii and Guam, thanks to friends who offered to bring them out to perform. In February, the band continued their involvement with the Music Unites program by releasing volume 4 of their Reggae Around the World compilation series, with all proceeds once again going to fund music education for children in schools around the world. Fortunate Youth has also announced plans to release a new album of their own this May as a follow up to 2013’s It’s All a Jam, which was considered for Grammy nomination in 2014.
L.A. Weekly recently spoke to the band collectively via email as they prepare to wrap up the Winter Blackout Tour with The Expendables and Katastro this weekend at the Observatory in Santa Ana, before heading out on the nationwide headlining Don’t Think Twice spring tour, with Hirie and Sensamotion providing support.
LA Weekly: With so much great talent coming out of L.A., what would you say makes Fortunate Youth stand out from other Los Angeles-based bands?
Fortunate Youth: Relentless touring, the message of "Peace, Love & Unity," and our live show is what most likely sets us apart. We try to bring a lot of positive energy and interaction with our fans! Plus we all like to switch it up and play different instruments throughout the set.
Your last major release, It’s All a Jam, received a Grammy nomination. What did this consideration mean to you guys as a band still on the rise?
It was a pleasant surprise! We’re just humbled and honored to be recognized with so many other great artists.
What can fans expect on the Don’t Think Twice album as far as Fortunate Youth’s musical evolution from past releases such as Irie State of Mind and the Up-Lifted EP?
Nothing but good vibes! We got Marlon “The Ganja Farmer” Asher on a track and our brothers The Expanders also came in and blessed a track. We’re just excited for everyone to hear the new stuff. It drops May 5 so Don’t Think Twice and go grab it!
Any special reason behind the naming of the album?
We had a few reasons…
1. When it comes to music it’s all about feeling it. Let it take over... Don’t think twice about it.
2. People tend to overthink things. Sometimes they miss love and experiences. If they would just think less, they would be able to live more!
3. Don’t think twice, help each other.
How did you guys first become involved with the Music Unites collaboration albums? What does it mean to you guys to be involved in such a special project for a great cause?
We started the Music Unites compilations to help ones in need and unite the scene at the same time. It shows that even the littlest people can do a whole lot, and we all have the ability to change the world.
You guys also recently went on a mini-tour throughout Hawaii with The Steppas and New Kingston. How was your experience touring through the islands for the first time?
We loved it! We couldn’t have felt more welcomed by the people of Hawaii. We also just got back from Guam and it was nothing but positive family vibes. We can’t wait to get back. We had a great time and the experience was once in a lifetime!
When you guys are home from touring, what are some of your favorite local spots to visit?
La Villa, Venice Beach, Palos Verdes. North End, Silvio’s, Gasser Lounge, Big Wok, In n Out.
Since an L.A. date was not included on the Don’t Think Twice Spring Tour, can your hometown fans expect a big homecoming show just as you have done in the past?
Guaranteed! We’re doing a CD release tour up to the California Roots Festival from May 14 to May 22. The Skints from U.K. and The Steppas from Hawaii will be providing support. We play Saint Rocke in our hometown of Hermosa Beach on May 15 and you can check out all our tour dates and merchandise at www.fortunatemusic.com
Although your upcoming show at the Observatory is part of the Winter Blackout Tour with The Expendables and Katastro, can fans look forward to Fortunate Youth debuting some new music?
Our first single, “My Love,” is dropping on March 17 so we’ll probably pull that one out for our FY family to hear at the Observatory. See you all there!
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Fortunate perform Friday, March 13 at the Observatory as part of the Winter Blackout Tour. Tickets and more info.