Lunchtime Talent, put on by the Missouri Students Association’s College Music Committee, showcases the talents of student musicians multiple times over the course of each semester. On Sept. 11, the showcase will feature sophomore Gibraun Mitchell, a veteran artist in MU’s music scene.
“Gibraun has played for Lunchtime Talent before,” says Abbey Tingle, marketing chairwoman of the committee. “And he competed in Mizzou Idol, which is also put on by College Music Committee and the Department of Student Activities. People have tweeted about him before, and he’s really popular, so we’ve decided to bring him back.”
Mitchell, who describes himself as versatile, plays and listens to all kinds of music but is primarily an R&B artist. His grandmother, Fontella Bass, is known for the song “Rescue Me,” and played music with Mitchell in his younger years. When coming to MU, his pursuit of music led him to numerous on-campus performances, including Lunchtime Talent.
“I think (Lunchtime Talent) began because a lot of people come to Mizzou loving to play music, but it’s not always practical to study music,” Tingle says. “I think it’s a way to get your name out there, especially as a student musician, because there are outlets to perform in Columbia if you write a lot of music.”
Mitchell, however, describes himself as more of an arranger.
“I don’t write,” Mitchell says. “Mostly because my older cousin and my dad write most of our songs, and I’m more of an arranger. I arrange a lot of music that they will write, and around campus I mostly do covers.”
Music is Mitchell’s number one plan for the future, but he also enjoys studying physics as a hobby. (The music industry, he says, is not always very reliable.) To keep his dreams alive, Mitchell is minoring in jazz, and constantly searches for opportunities to play music around campus.
“First, I found Play the Part (a student music exhibition highlighting the careers of various African-American musicians), which was the first big music thing I heard about at Mizzou,” Mitchell says. “I didn’t know music was that big at Mizzou, but I got into Play the Part, and from there on, I got emails to do others types of performances around campus.”
Of these performances, the most notable was Mizzou Idol, which Mitchell performed at last year. Singing Mario’s “Let Me Love You” and being named one of six finalists, Mitchell’s popularity took off.
“Mizzou Idol was really fun, and it was a bigger crowd than I expected it to be,” Mitchell says. “I didn’t know how big of an event it was until the actual day of. (Last year’s) Lunchtime Talent was also cool, and I got really comfortable with the crowd and singing and performing by myself.”
Despite his recent spike in popularity, Mitchell is not new to performing music in front of crowds. He has been a multi-instrumentalist since his childhood, playing both guitar and piano, and continues to make music with his two little sisters. Even without his MU performances, Mitchell has a lot of experience in the music community.
“The biggest crowd I’ve ever performed for was when I sang the national anthem at a NASCAR event at Gateway (Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill.),” Mitchell says. “But my most important memory would have to be Interscope Records. When I was younger, I went off to LA with a band that I used to sing and dance in.”
At MU, Mitchell describes the goal of his performances as enjoying the experience, rather than trying to gain popularity.
“A lot of people try to tell me, ‘Gibraun, you need to try to win,’ but I look at it as trying to give the audience a good show and making sure I’m having fun,” Mitchell says.
Lunchtime Talent, which will be from noon to 1 p.m. in the MU Student Center, is a good match for Mitchell.
“Lunchtime Talent is not necessarily a big performance because a lot of people are studying and eating lunch,” Tingle says. “The overall goal is to allow students to be creative and keep playing music.”