South Seattle Musician Kicking Off Smooth Jazz Tour in Columbia City

South Seattle Musician Kicking Off Smooth Jazz Tour in Columbia City

By Amber Campbell

Many people know him as the new Director of Economic Development for Southeast Effective Development (SEED), but Rainier Beach resident Lance Randall is also a talented jazz pianist gearing up for a live show in Columbia City.

A church musician since he was nine years old, Lance currently serves as lead musician at First AME Church in Seattle. His jazz fusion band Lance Randall & The Nu-Jazz Playas performs widely and Lance writes everything they play.

“What I love about playing music is being able to use my creativity to express my feelings through melodies and words,” he says. “I feel like people are listening to what I have to say when I share my thoughts this way.”

But music isn’t all he’s passionate about. Lance also enjoys his day job.

“My work focuses on improving the quality of life in Southeast Seattle by recruiting and retaining businesses in the community, creating jobs and providing workforce development pathways to help people fill those jobs,” he says.

Lance adds that he especially likes working with businesses in Southeast Seattle to help them grow and prosper. With 20 years of experience, including eight years as Business Retention and Expansion Manager for the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, and several awards in the field of economic and community development, Lance is a powerful advocate for small companies looking to resist the wave of gentrification sweeping the city and maintain a local foothold.

“SEED is thrilled to have Lance Randall aboard,” said SEED’s Executive Director Lance Matteson. “He’s an expert at helping entrepreneurs launching small start-ups find affordable commercial space.”

Coincidentally, the difficulty in finding small spaces was recently cited as one of the biggest challenges facing very small, locally-grown businesses.

This week, Lance was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions for our People in Your Neighborhood column — a series of interviews with some of South Seattle’s most interesting and engaging people.

LanceRandall_musicLance Randall


Rainier Beach

How long in South Seattle?
9 years

Where from originally?
Macon, Georgia

Day job:
Director of Economic Development, Southeast Effective Development (SEED)

What do you like most about your day job?
Working with businesses in Southeast Seattle to help them grow and prosper.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Knowing that I will have another opportunity to make a positive difference in someone’s life.

Tell us about your work in the community.
My work focuses on improving the quality of life for the citizens in Southeast Seattle by recruiting and retaining businesses in the community, creating jobs, and providing workforce development pathways for the people to fill those jobs.

What motivates you to do this work?
The simple fact that I am helping people achieve their goals.

What are you passionate about?

What are your hobbies?
Golf, bowling, billiards and visiting restaurants of various cuisines.

Tell us about your family:
My father is a Judge and Chief Magistrate and my mother is a retired nurse. I have four sisters whose professions are, a pharmacist, respiratory therapist, politician and author. I also have four children and two grandchildren.

What’s your most favorite thing about South Seattle?
The diversity is very appealing to me. It is wonderful to live in a place where the citizens are comprised from people all over the world.

What’s your least favorite thing about South Seattle?
It does not get the attention it deserves. This is a great community with great people and a lot of opportunity. More people should frequent the area.

Where is your favorite place to go in South Seattle?
Rookies. That shrimp Po Boy and bread pudding is amazing.

If you could live anywhere besides South Seattle, where would it be?
Georgetown. I really like the old brick buildings and walkability of the neighborhood.

If there was one thing you could change about South Seattle, what would it be?
The perception that businesses can’t do well in the community. There are many vibrant businesses in the neighborhoods in Southeast Seattle. Based on the raw demographics and cost, this is the best place in Seattle to operate a business.

Who inspires you?
My parents. They are the most incredible people I know. I give them all the credit for raising me the way that they did, which has resulted in being successful, productive and positive.

What was the last thing you read?
“Dear White People, Letter to a New Minority” by Tim Wise.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being in heaven where everything is perfect.

What is your greatest fear?
The destruction racism is causing to our society.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Being too trusting of people.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Not doing things they said they are going to do, and doing things they said they would not do.

What is your greatest regret?
Not doing a biography on my paternal grandfather. He was a great civil rights leader and businessman. He made a profound impact on many people’s lives especially mine.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My entire family.

What is your current state of mind?

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Raising my children as a single father during the most critical times of their lives.

What is your most treasured possession?
A painting of Moses that was given to me by my parents.

What do you most value in your friends?
Respect and loyalty.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My grandfather. He was paraplegic with limited use of his arms and legs, but he never let that stop him from achieving his goals. I learned from him that no matter your circumstance, you can still be a winner.

What is it that you most dislike?
Hate, whether subtle or in your face, it is a cancer on our world.

What else should we know about you?
The characteristics of my name “Lance” and astrological sign “Aries” align very well, and I am member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Featured image: Lance Randall & The Nu-Jazz Playas. See them perform this Sat., March 19, at Rainier Valley Cultural Center (3515 S. Alaska, Seattle, WA 98118). Get tickets here.


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