Sean Michael Leonard Anderson was born on March 25, 1988 in Santa Monica, California to Myra and James Anderson. When he was 3 months old, he moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he was raised by his mother, a school teacher, and grandmother. Anderson's grandmother, Mildred Leonard, served in World War II, and was one of the first ever black female captains in the United States Army. He attended the Detroit Waldorf School and graduated from Cass Technical High School with a 3. 7 GPA. In his later years in high school, Sean showed his rhyming skills on a weekly basis as part of a rap battle contest held by Detroit hip-hop station WHTD. In 2005, Kanye West was doing a radio interview at 102. 7 FM. Hearing about this, Sean headed over to the station to meet West and perform some freestyle. Initially West was reluctant to hear him, however he gave Sean 16 bars to rap for him. According to Big Sean, West enjoyed his freestyle: "As we get to the entrance of the radio station . . . we stopped in the middle of the doorway. He starts looking at me and bobbing his head. " After the freestyle, Sean left West his demo tape. Two years later, West signed Big Sean to GOOD Music. Sean has cited West, Eminem, The Notorious B. I. G. , and J Dilla as his influences.