Santo Alimo, known as SoNto, performed his first set in front of a small audience Wednesday evening at Open Mic Night.
With the mix of rain and snow outside Wednesday, campus seemed quieter than compared to busier nights, but there was still activity in the Quarry room.
Around 8 p.m. Alimo walked into the room and checked in. Walking toward the stage, he greeted a friend sitting in the audience before preparing for his set.
With his guitar on his back, he stood near the bar in the Quarry room.
A marketing major at St. Cloud State, Alimo has been to Open Mic Night in the past, but decided not to perform until the Oct. 28 show.
“This year, I wanted it to be perfect,” he said. In recent years, he’s been working full time. Plus, he has a class schedule to keep. But, this year, he’s been able to practice, a lot.
“I just love music, and playing guitar,” Alimo said. Two performers came before Alimo. Before going on, he seemed restless, but it wasn’t because he was nervous, he explained. He was excited.
“I don’t even care if I mess up,” he said. “I just want to do it.”
Alimo said he’s self-taught when it comes to guitar, and he’s starting to pick up piano because it helps him with melody. Hopping back and forth between instruments, Alimo practices guitar for a half hour per day, and dedicates an hour to singing.
He said, “You have to have dedication. You have to be persistent.”
And currently, He’s working on an electronic dance and rap mixtape that’s geared toward college students, while also helping his friends promote their music, he explained.
“I’m hoping to do well,” he said.
The performance before SoNto’s was done. He was up. Getting on stage, he flipped open a pair of dark sunglasses, situated his guitar and introduced himself to the audience. He said he’d only play one song.
He began to play, the room was quiet, except for his voice and the guitar. Not long after, Alimo was stepping down from the low-lit stage to an applause.
Having played a few shows before this, Open Mic Night was his first time performing while playing an instrument.
“I think it was good,” he continued. “I feel pretty good, but there is always room to improve.”
After graduation, Alimo hopes to build off of a business idea he has, while helping his friends promote their music, he said. But, before then, he plans to perform at Open Mic Night again.
“It’s like a dream come true,” he said.