The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Michael Lanier: SLO Jazz Fed’s Young Jazz Master


  Jazz has been a popular genre of music to perform and listen to since the late 19th century. San Luis Obispo High School offers a zero period jazz band class for students who have a passion for jazz and who also love playing music. Junior Michael Lanier is a bassist in the SLOHS jazz band who has been awarded the SLO Jazz Fed’s Young Jazz Musician Scholarship. Expressions decided to interview Lanier about his unique musical talents. 

Expressions: How long have you been playing bass?

Junior Michael Lanier: Since August of 2017.

Expressions: How did you apply for the SLO Jazz Fed’s Young Jazz Scholarship Program? 

Lanier: So my mom told me about it and she said, “hey you should do this”. I wrote a one page essay, turned it in and I did an audition. 

Expressions: What were your feelings playing with other advanced musicians for the Young Jazz Scholarship Program concert? 

Lanier: It was really cool because all the musicians are really good, like Ken Hustad on bass, Jim Stromberg on drums, and Adam Levine on guitar. I played a certain song for the drummer and he heard it for the first time and played it exactly right the first time. So it was really cool. 

Expressions: What inspires you to play music?

Lanier: Other musicians a lot of the time inspire me because they get me going. I went to a concert a couple weeks ago and I saw the bassist play, and it made me want to go home and play more. So it’s definitely a big part of it. 

Expressions: This is your first year living in San Luis Obispo County. How has your new friendships in this area affected your musical ability? 

Lanier: A lot of the friends I play with are very good musicians. Being able to play with people on my skill level is helpful, cause I played with people where I used to live that were not on my skill level. It was hard to play with certain things. But now, I don’t have to worry about that. 

Expressions: What genre of music did you listen to when you were younger and how has this affected you as a musician today?

Lanier: As a child, it was whatever was on the radio. My mom is Christian so mostly Christian music. When I was 12 or 13, I started listening to more independent music. I was discovering music and now it’s centered into jazz. 

Expressions: What are your musical goals for your next three years of high school and beyond? 

Lanier: I want to win more awards, hopefully. I want to attend Berklee College of Music when I go to college, and hopefully go on to become a professional musician and do tours. 

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