Bobby McFerrin in Veltins arena.
When Bobby is not busy with writing, singing, or conducting his orchestras, he is busy participating in different education programs. He also volunteers and appears as a guest music teacher or lecturer at public schools in the United States. Bobby has a son and the two collaborate on some musical acts. He conducted a workshop at the Omega Institute in June, 2007.
Bobby McFerrin has done a variety of musical acts in his lifetime, including the orchestra conducting. He has a lot of talent and has made good use of it throughout his musical career. Plus he hasn’t stopped yet, he continues to perform and conduct when he can. He has many fans and has definitely left his mark in the music world. He will not be forgotten anytime soon. His music will live on for future generations to enjoy.
McFerrin has received three Grammy Awards, two for his work on "Another Night in Tunisia," recorded by Manhattan Transfer. His third, as Best Male Jazz Vocalist, was for ‘"Round Midnight," the title song of the 1986 movie. McFerrin has also recorded the theme for "The Cosby Show" and the sound track for "Just So," an animated series of specials that aired on cable television. He has appeared on "The Tonight Show" and "Sesame Street," and he provides the vocals for Levi’. commercials. McFerrin tours extensively as well. During his concerts, he often improvises his material. Spontaneity is an important part of McFerrin’s music: "I like being an improviser, expecting the unexpected," he told Bourne. "Even when something is rehearsed, I want it to be spontaneous."
As a vocalist, McFerrin often switches rapidly between modal and falsetto registers to create polyphonic effects, performing both the main melody and the accompanying parts of songs. He makes use of percussive effects created both with his mouth and by tapping on his chest. McFerrin is also capable of multiphonic singing.
A document of McFerrin's approach to singing is his 1984 album The Voice, the first solo vocal jazz album recorded with no accompaniment or overdubbing.
In 1986, McFerrin was the voice of Santa Bear in Santa Bear's First Christmas, and in 1987 he was the voice of Santa Bear/Bully Bear in the sequel Santa Bear's High Flying Adventure. That same year, he performed the theme song for the opening credits of Season 4 of The Cosby Show, as well as the music for a Cadbury chocolate commercial.
In 1988, McFerrin recorded the hit song "Don't Worry, Be Happy", which brought him widespread recognition across the world. However, the song's success "ended McFerrin's musical life as he had known it," and he began to pursue other musical possibilities – on stage and in recording studios. The song was used in George H. W. Bush's 1988 U.S. presidential election as Bush's 1988 official presidential campaign song, without Bobby McFerrin's permission or endorsement. In reaction, Bobby McFerrin publicly protested that particular use of his song, including stating that he was going to vote against Bush, and completely dropped the song from his own performance repertoire, to make the point even clearer.
In 1989, he composed and performed the music for the Pixar short film Knick Knack. The rough cut to which McFerrin recorded his vocals had the words "blah blah blah" in place of the end credits (meant to indicate that he should improvise). McFerrin spontaneously decided to sing "blah blah blah" as lyrics, and the final version of the short film includes these lyrics during the end credits. Also in 1989, he formed a ten-person "Voicestra" which he featured on both his 1990 album Medicine Music and in the score to the 1989 Oscar-winning documentary Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt. The song "Common Threads" has frequently reappeared in some public service advertisements about AIDS. McFerrin also performed with the Vocal Summit.