Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, Michael began his musical life as a thirteen-year-old trumpeter. At that time, he saw his first REAL dancing marching band on television. It was the Grambling State Tiger Marching Band! From that time on, says Michael, I knew that I wanted to be in that band. I had never seen anything like that before. His parents and aunt, all from Louisiana, attended Grambling, and had a lot to say about the band. His mother(Carrie Thomas), school teacher and ardent jazz fan, would play her jazz albums and would be boppin' around to Jimmy Smith and Clifford Brown. His father (Anthony D. Thomas), school teacher, choir director, and church congregational leader, was a devote Ray Charles fan. Vegas was never a jazz town, so Soul, R&B, and Show bands were the sounds he heard the most of during those times. All the while, Michael was getting a firm background in traditional trumpet and French horn techniques.
Throughout high school, Michael earned positions in the All-County and the All-State Ensembles playing French Horn. He also regularly performed with the Las Vegas Civic Symphony under Phil Gromco. From that point, it was time to go to where else, but to Grambling State. At Grambling, he majored in music performance and computer science. Michael took full advantage of all music ensembles including, of course, the Marching Band and the Jazz Ensembles. Under the direction of Conrad Hutchinson Jr., he learned what hard work and dedication can do for a performing group like Grambling's band. Michael worked his way through the ranks, and ended his career with the band as drum-major. Hutch would rather march with a hole in the band than have someone in it making mistakes. Plus he would leave you behind, notes Michael. He did not tolerate mediocrity at ALL.