Extraordinary: A Typical Day in the Special Life of Michael Joe Lanari

Eighteen-year-old Michael Joe is a self-taught drummer who plans to study music in college.

Before COVID-19, Michael Joe was a DJ at a central Arkansas pizza restaurant. “We were at lunch one day and the owner came over to the table and he and Michael Joe just hit it off and were talking and he asked Michael Joe what he wanted to be when he grew up,” says Fran. “He said that he loves to sing and dance and play music.” After learning that Michael Joe was the DJ at family events like the annual Fourth of July celebration, the owner asked Michael Joe to entertain guests in his restaurant.

At school, Michael Joe gives the football team encouragement when they all sit together at lunch. Last year, FOX 16’s Nick Walters even chose Michael Joe and the football team to highlight in a series about good news in the community.

“My favorite subjects are getting to know more about math and science,” says Michael Joe.

His first choice for college is Union University in Tennessee,and he is excited to go. According to Fran, he meets all of the requirements in the extended program for self-care skills and guided independence.

“I am thinking about making music in college. I would like to bring my laptop, headphones and microphone and record my first song. I’d cut it out in two or three weeks. I’ll look for someone to help me do it. I don’t know how to record a song,” Michael Joe says with a big smile, but he hopes being close to Nashville along with his love of country music will help.

Michael Joe is a self-taught drummer who learned how to play by doing his own research and finding lessons on the internet. He also wants to be a lead singer and has a knack for acting. He is interested in touring with another artist as a DJ, coming along to pump up the crowd.

“Michael Joe does not want to start out small, he wants to go big,” says Fran.


Michael Joe’s Big Faves

Favorite Artist: Luke Bryan
Favorite Place to Travel: California
Job that sounds fun: Mouse escort at Chuck-E-Cheese
Hobbies: Play with his Xbox and his chocolate lab

Heather Honaker is circus ringleader for three kids 4 and under — two typical, one not, but they all think they are special. You can follow along as the messiness unfolds around her family by reading Little Rock Family’s Special Family section and the Typically Not Typical blog.

If you know of any Extraordinary people you’d like to see featured, email heatherphonaker@gmail.com.

Originally published in the November 2020 issue of Little Rock Family.

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