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Wow!! I’m so proud of my dear friend, Jo Im! She just landed an interview =D


Jo Im is a Korean-American jazz singer who I was lucky to grab an interview with this week. Check out her cover of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Like a Star” above!

Can you give us a little background? What do you do besides music?

I just graduated this last year, and right now I am working as a waitress. However, I am working on applying to grad schools for teaching social science and music. Besides working on music, I also like to hike, do pilates, and cook!

How did you get interested in singing and music?

I first started in the same way many children are introduced to music in a Korean family – through classical piano lessons. In high school, I was a piano accompanist for a choral group called the Women’s Ensemble, and it was mandatory for every student to take a sight-singing test. Right after I finished taking the test, the choral conductor, Mrs. Alderman, told me she was surprised to hear my voice and encouraged me to audition for her other advanced choral ensembles. From then on, I auditioned for many vocal groups and fell in love with singing even more. 

Who could you list as your major influences?

I have many major influences! But these would be the ones I can think on top of my head: 

Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, Sarah Vaughan, Rihanna, John Coltrane, Katy Perry, Kurt Elling, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Rachelle Ferrell, Amel Larrieux, Leah McFall, Ariana Grande, and Rita Ora.

What are the top 10 most played songs in your music library?

“Happy” by Pharrell, “Problem” by Ariana Grande, “Nature Boy” by Kurt Elling, “Yonce” and “Ghost” by Beyonce, “In a Sentimental Mood” by Sarah Vaughan, “Phresh Out the Runway” by Rihanna, “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry, “My Favorite Things” by John Coltrane, and “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera.

You release a lot of your covers on Youtube through Arella TV, can you tell us a little about that?

My friend Jay Arella asked me to do a Christmas music video with him; it was a cover of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” After that we just started making more music videos, and before we knew it, we made six videos together. However, I am planning to make my own Youtube channel soon!

What does your family think of your venture into music?

At first my family was a little cautious because the pursuit of a music career is very risky financially. However, once they saw that my professors truly believed in my musical abilities, they began to support me in creating music. My mom feels nervous about me pursuing music as a career but the rest of my family supports me but would encourage me to have a back up plan. 

Do you feel that your ethnicity or identity has helped you or held you back in any way?

I felt being Korean-American in America held me back when it came to pursuing a singing career because singing was considered risky and unprofessional. You don’t see any Asian American women in mainstream music. Not only that, but for one to possibly enter the industry, they must fit certain stereotypical roles that degrade and pigeonhole Asian and Asian American women. This held me back because in the past, I was always hesitant and afraid to show my family my passion for singing. However, when it came to being a classical pianist, my family had supported me more because like many Koreans believe, the classical piano was considered a “dignified” and “virtuosic” solo art. 

When it came to a musical performance career, the classical piano is one of the most stable instruments to play. Nevertheless, playing the piano gave me an advantage because I was able to sight-read and use my knowledge of music theory to enhance my progress. In addition, I learned a lot about discipline and ambition from Korean culture, so that helped me excel in my musical skills because my work ethic was built upon those values. 

What’s next for you? What can we expect in 2014?

I’ll be experimenting with music a lot since I’m still trying to find myself musically. I will also be releasing my own Youtube channel and posting a lot more videos there. Hopefully, I will start writing and producing my own music!

Is there any advice you’d give to someone pursuing music?

Do not let fear stop you from being original. Continuously experiment to discover yourself. When it comes to covers, try to find a way to change and find your own identity, whether it is through a concept of a music video, variation of melody, arrangement, instrumentation, and improvisation. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, embrace criticisms, ignore hate, and spread love!

This time, a Frozen cover! We thought it would be really cool if we did a “Brady Bunch” style music video and really have fun with it. Definitely a challenge!! I still have so much to learn about how to make green screens work correctly. But I’d love to do more videos like this in the future. If you’ve tuned in for a while now, thank you so much for your viewership. It means so much to us! We hope we made you smile, if even for just a little bit. =)

Thanks again for watching!

- Jay

Vocals: Jo Im, Jay Arella

Film and editing: Jay Arella

Hi everyone!! I’ve been really busy lately, so I haven’t done too many videos in a while, but I have a new one out today - it’s a cover of one of my favorite songs, “Like a Star,” by Corinne Bailey Rae. My friend, Jo Im, takes the mic and does an incredibly intimate and wonderful job with it, and I’d love to share it with you all! If you could watch it, I would seriously appreciate that so much. Thanks for all the support!! 



"How would you react if you saw your ex with a new love?" 

"Fade into the Background" is a concept video developed by Cloud Media Productions. The story follows Mark as he tries to deal with a range of memories and emotions that rushes back into his head as he sees his ex-girlfriend, Mia, with a new love. 

Benjamin Mark Nabong as Mark
Chrystal Kim as Mia
Danny Pham as New Guy
Joshua Juan as Mutual Friend

Joshua Juan
Ben Nabong
Josh Bui
Earnest Roxas
Randy Mekdara
Donovan Kouthiraj
Danny Pham
Sebastian Romawac

Choreography by:
Joshua Juan & Benjamin Mark Nabong

Written, Directed, Filmed and Edited by:
Jay Arella & Benjamin Mark Nabong


Hi everyone! I directed and edited a new video with my good friend, Ben Nabong, who is a talented dancer, actor, musician, and writer! It’s a music video to Ne-Yo’s “Fade into the Background,” featuring an intimate and original story by Ben, dynamic choreography from Joshua Juan in colloboration with Ben, extremely talented dancers from Collective Faction @ UCR, and an incredibly charming and real performance from Chrystal M. Kim. It took quite a bit of time to complete, working around our schedules, but we finally made it happen.

We’re working together to create a partnership called, “Cloud Media Productions,” so stay tuned for more videos coming up within the next few months. If you’ve been watching, thank you so much for all of your support! It sincerely means the world to me. Hope you enjoy our film and the rest of your week!

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