Student band Kim Vi and the Siblings opened for Chance the Rapper
Tuesday night, three students took the stage before Chance the Rapper in their band’s biggest performance yet.
Kim Vi and the Siblings grew from friendships between vocalist Kim Vi, guitarist Olin Clark, and drummer Judson Branam that were cultivated in the MSU jazz studies program.
Vi, a biomedical laboratory science senior, grew up in a musical family and said he's been messing around on the piano from a young age. He said he really found his passion in high school he started playing jazz.
Years later, opening for Chance the Rapper opened up new opportunities for Kim Vi and the Siblings.
“Chance is incredible,” Vi said. "What was really cool is to see musicians performing at that level.”
He said seeing the professional world of music was encouraging and inspiring, especially since he and the other band members are about to graduate and are looking forward to a career in music.
“Checking it out from a performer’s perspective rather than an audience perspective was really cool,” Vi said.
Clark, a jazz studies senior, joined band in sixth grade as a percussionist. But he really started loving music at the age of 12, watching his mother play the guitar on a family vacation.
Clark said he enjoyed playing in front of Tuesday’s crowd because they were incredibly appreciative of the music.
“It doesn’t really matter how big or small the crowd is, as long as everyone is engaged and listening,” Clark said.
For him, the best part of the performance was being a part of such an energetic stage presence.
Branam, who graduated from MSU last year, said his interest and passion for music was also ignited at a very young age.
When he was just three years old, Branam discovered his father’s CD collection and fell in love with a Green Day album. At the age of seven, he got his first drum set and started his own band with the neighborhood kids.
Now, Branam said his passion for music has turned into something a little more serious, though it’s still just as fun as when he was a kid.
Tuesday night’s show was Branam’s first time playing for a crowd that big.
“It was cool, I was very excited to have that opportunity...it was definitely an encouraging and confirming experience,” Branam said.
He said he can’t wait to make big shows like that happen for Kim Vi and the Siblings.
Vi said for the future, the band’s goal is to push themselves as far as they can.
“What we love about playing is bringing people together and having a good time,” Vi said, “We want to continue doing that with bigger crowds and new people and places that we haven’t been before.”
Kim Vi and the Siblings will be releasing a newly recorded EP in the near future, and will be opening for Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers next Friday at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo.
Though they definitely have plans for the future, Branam said they are a band that prides itself on taking things at their own pace. He said they acknowledge themselves as individual musicians before acknowledging themselves as a band.
Their personal professional goals haven't weakened their friendship.
“The Siblings has become more than just a band,” Branam said, “those guys are my brothers.”