Lander Braggs found his dream at Bradley

Ask senior Lander Braggs who his musical influences are and he might burst into an impromptu concert featuring songs by Drake or John Legend. The Chicago native has a great set of pipes, which is no surprise, given that he’s performed rhythm and blues and other musical genres in numerous venues since he was four years old.

Braggs came to Bradley to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering with the goal of either serving in the military, like his grandparents and stepfather, or specializing in biomedical engineering and building products that advance human health. But about 18 months ago, Braggs decided he needed “to fight for what I really love.” 

Once he decided to switch majors, studying performance would have been a natural option for the singer, but Bradley’s music and entertainment industry major has proved just as valuable. 

“I'm learning about its importance and how you can weave your way through the industry and in a lot of different ways other than being a performer,” he said. “… I've been interested in promotion and working with a record company, something like that. But my goal is to work — on my talent and then on something that will get me an opportunity somewhere to do whatever they want me to do.”

Group projects, such as coordinating the logistics for a series of lunchtime concerts with vocalists in the Michel Student Center, have allowed Braggs to serve as team member, performer and talent judge. 

“I’ve never been on the other side of (auditioning),” he said. “It’s not a very easy job. You have to have discussion; you can’t just base (the decision) on what you think, especially since we had such a small pool.”

To support himself, Braggs drives an Uber, bartends and works as the lead student manager at the Renaissance Coliseum. He credited his time as an engineering student for teaching him how to stay focused and his managerial role for giving him staff development tools.

Writing lyrics — a longstanding but never tried interest of Braggs — has given him another musical outlet, one he hopes to use next fall when he participates in Bradley’s Hollywood Semester. He said he hopes his internship will lead to a job offer after graduation in December. Barring that, Braggs sees it as an opportunity to gain exposure for his music. Last May, he performed the Michael Bublé hit “I Just Haven’t Met You Yet” at the Bradley Idol singing competition.

“If I go out there and my music is already to a level where I want it to be, it’ll (the experience) be even more perfect. It’s just a huge opportunity for me on top of all the requirements I need to finish my degree.”

He’s grateful to Bradley for providing such a supportive, caring community environment. 

“I have found my fun,” Braggs said. “My professors are exceptional. They care. They literally care about what you want and what you want to do with your life.”

S.L. Guthrie

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