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Imon Santos: A Fresh Celebrity

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Irvine chapter.

Does the name Imon Santos sound familiar to you? If not, here’s a hint: Imon recently performed in Soulstice 2014 and won the People’s Choice Award. The day after his Soulstice competition, he sat down for what became a chat rather than an interview followed by a song for the audience.

At the question “What does it feel like to be called a ‘Campus Celebrity’?” he laughs. However, he humbly states that even though he has competed in multiple talent competitions at UCI and that he often hears his name thrown around, he does not feel any different nor does he think that he should be viewed any differently. On another note, he does appreciate that he has all the love and support from family, friends, peers, etc.

“My first year has been unforgettable and not what I expected,” the first-year states. He describes the experience as filled with meeting new people and creating memories that will be cherished for a very long time. However, being at UCI is not all fun and music. Preparing for Soulstice and having to take care of academics was a particular struggle. He describes how two nights before Soulstice, he had his rehearsal call time at midnight and got called to be on stage at around 12:20. To top it all off, he had an 8 am lab that morning but ended up not sleeping that night because he still had work to do for that lab. In other words, balancing his academics had been a struggle during the “Hell Week” of Soulstice, describing his attention and dedication as “80 music, 20 school.”

With all the talent that his fans have witnessed, people cannot help but wonder about the musical background. “I was raised on it. We sang karaoke all the time, so I grew up with a mic in my hand,” the singer explains. Although, the length of his singing has had much longer practice than playing guitar. He began playing when he was 10 and started taking lessons only to stop taking them because he got bored, in which he pursued learning on his own. The first-year says, “Music was a passion from the beginning.” For Santos, when he sings, when he plays his instruments, and especially when we performs, he gets lost in his own world. However, through his performance his goal is to share the enjoyment he feels with the whole crowd. Santos explains it as “Every song has an emotion. When I sing, when I perform, I want the crowd to feel the emotion, feel the way I feel, and have as much fun as I do.”

In the midst of the conversation, Santos often mentions PAIR (Middle Earth’s talent show) and Soulstice. Unlike Soulstice, Santos actually debated whether or not to audition for PAIR. In fact, he auditioned last minute where he signed up for a slot to audition on the same day because there were no other time availabilities and he was available at the time he signed up. He got in. As the talent show was coming closer, he was at constant debate on what he should play. The day of the talent show and “the shower got him thinking.” As he got on stage, he took the risk and not played the song he prepared and just had fun. When he was announced the winner, he was very surprised seeing as he “Wanted PAIR to be a chance to de-stress and have fun. Winning was not the goal.”

In contrast to PAIR, Soulstice was Santos’ biggest goal of his first-year. In fact, he called Soulstice, “legendary.” He was very nervous at his audition because he was by himself. His talent coordinator later told him that one of the other coordinators was singing his song, “Puzzle Piece.” Santos says that during “Hell Week” of Soulstice, he realized that time flew by too quickly and it took him by surprise. However, he did say that no matter how surprised he was at the time, he was not nervous rather he was ready and excited. The performance itself was “the funnest show I have ever performed because there was such a great vibe, dancing on stage, and I got to perform with family and my RA, Colin.” On winning the People’s Choice Award, Santos was quite surprised. He didn’t expect to win  because in terms of number logic, the dance teams would have more supporters. The experience made him realize that he had such a great support group himself. 

For the aspiring and emerging musicians out there, Santos has something important for you. “Whether you’re playing an instrument, singing, or dancing – it’s all a craft, which makes us all artists. The most important is that you are truly expressing you.” Santos believes that talent takes hard work, practicing and just honing the skills you have. “Just do you and that makes you a better artist.”

In the next few years, Santos hopes to meet many, many more people in the music industry, begin recording and get his music out there. In other words, he wants to make his name known. He would like to give a shout-out to his supporters, his family, his Lorien family, and his RA Colin. 

After getting the chance to know this fresh “celebrity,” there is so much more to him than his talent. Before providing a singing sample, Santos humbly states, “I’m just one guy, but with all these supporters around me, I’m more than that.”


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Jamrensze De Leon (goes by J-Mi), became a member of Her Campus UCI during Spring 2014. She graduated in June 2017 with a double major in Educational Sciences and Sociology. During her time at UCI, she has held positions such as: Resident Advisor in Middle Earth Housing, Community Assistant in Camino del Sol, the Vice President of Community Council in Middle Earth, a Coordinating Board representative in the Government of Undergraduate Student Housing (GUSH), GUSH's National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) Leadership Development Chair, and more! Some of her hobbies include baking, dancing, writing poetry, being behind and in front of the camera (photography), and other DIY crafts. She is also on instagram (jmi_deleon). You can totally follow her adventures there! She loves being a part of something great, something big, and eventually wants to use all the skills she’s learned and make a difference in the world. So why UCI? Because she fell in love with it. She loves the vibe, the people, the park in the middle of campus, and the fact that the campus goes in a circle. Random Fun Fact: She and Hello Kitty have the same birthday. That might be the reason she loves the color pink so much!