Student takes love for jazz on the road
Growing up with both parents involved in classical music, Vi gave it a try but discovered it wasn’t the perfect fit for him.
Without any lessons, Vi decided to major in jazz studies as an undergraduate based solely on the way jazz music felt and sounded.
He gained inspiration from MSU jazz studies faculty member Reggie Thomas, who helped him build a foundation and gave him the determination to teach himself how to play the guitar.
Vi’s first time playing the guitar was at the age of twelve, which is also around the same time he began singing.
But guitar wasn’t something he felt was a God-given talent, so he worked hard and finally, it became something he could be proud of.
“It is really emotionally ... and intellectually stimulating to play jazz,” Vi said. “There are so many things that go into the knowledge of it beforehand. When you get on the bandstand, all the intellectual preparation goes away and it’s just who you are.”
Vi had no idea he would meet his current band members while touring individually, or that they would become some of his best friends and roommates at MSU.
Roommate status led to the band’s name, Kim Vi and The Siblings, an ironic twist, and the foursome quickly established themselves in the public eye during a self-booked Eastern U.S. tour.
Vi’s college career in jazz has taken him on a journey around the world, to places as far afield as Trinidad. The group is currently planning a West Coast tour in August, following the release of their February album.
Vi said college is just the beginning and he plans to push his talent as far as it will take him.