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A native of Chicago, IL, Michael Manson took interest in the electric guitar at the age of 14. Influenced by the music of Al Jarreau and intrigued by the technique of Jarreau's bass player Abe Laboriel, Manson's love of music soon began to shift towards the bass guitar. At 15, he and a group of friends formed Togetherness, releasing an album and two singles before Manson left to join the Navy six years later. After returning to Chicago to obtain both his B.A. and Master's in Music degrees, he joined City Lights and began performing regularly on Chicago's jazz circuit. In 1999, he was invited to play the Montreux Casino Lights '99 festival. Sharing the stage with the likes of Boney James, George Duke and Kirk Whalum, he made connections that would eventually lead to a spot performing on the Montreux Jazz tour. While a performance there alongside his idol Al Jarreau could have been seen as a career-high, Manson continued to branch out, producing and writing while on tour. In September, 1999, he co-produced Brian Culbertson's "I'm Gonna Miss You" and did the string arrangements on Blaque's debut offering. In 2002, he focused on his own work, releasing The Bottom Line on A440. While the album was the first to truly showcase his talents as a songwriter and solo performer, it also contained "Seven Whole Days," a track written by esteemed R&B artist and producer Babyface.