On Friday, June 14, thousands of people gathered to watch musician Iam Tongi perform in the John W. Hart building.

The musician performed for a sold-out crowd in the Hart Auditorium.

Tongi performed from 7:30-9:15 p.m., featuring fan favorites such as “Monsters,” “Why Kiki” and “Cool Down.”

Merchandise was available for purchase with various T-shirt styles and sizes offered.

Ainsley Keppner, a junior studying communication with an emphasis in strategic organization, has attended and enjoyed multiple concerts hosted by Center Stage.

“I had such a fun time watching Iam Tongi with my friends,” Keppner said. “I love how BYU-Idaho provides concerts like this with such kind and talented people.”

Tongi’s career catapulted after his American Idol audition, where he connected with audiences through his heartfelt story about his father’s passing.

He made history as the first Pacific Islander to win the star-searching TV show, American Idol. His initial audition earned a standing ovation from celebrity judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.

The artist has collected over 100 million views on social media, making him the most viral artist in American Idol history, as stated on his verified website.

“My dad is the one who inspired me to do music,” Tongi said. “He pushed me to do it. He’s the one that really believed in me.”

Tongi expressed that his family’s tragedy profoundly impacted him, leading him to temporarily pause his music career. Subsequently, his mother played a crucial role in his healing process, which eventually led him to audition on American Idol.

The artist stated his life has been adventurous since winning season 21 of American Idol. He expressed gratitude for the opportunities he’s been given and what is in store for him.

“We’re going around, playing a bunch of shows and just having the time of our lives,” Tongi said. “We just jam out and do what we love.”

The musician’s next step in the industry is to record an album. Tongi emphasized his eagerness to produce new music as he’s been dedicating the majority of his time to the studio. He highlighted his commitment, noting that he has been recording numerous songs.

[Iam Tongi preforming on stage]

Iam Tongi preforming on stage. Photo credit: Anna Clifford

Tongi’s faith also holds significance in his life, as he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The singer voiced his gratitude towards his mother as she helped him stay grounded in the Church throughout his life. According to Tongi, she encouraged him to participate in frequent family prayer and scripture study.

Tongi also shared his testimony on prayer, illuminating that during his time on American Idol, he made a point to pray every morning and night.

“It helped me stay grounded and remember who I am. The Church has helped out a lot, especially on my journey,” Tongi said.

The artist voiced that being a musician is amusing because of the creative freedom. Tongi emphasized his passion for creating new pieces and exploring possibilities in the recording process.

“You ask, ‘Oh, what about this?’ and then it sounds bad. Then, you know, you just take it out. It’s just messing around, and that’s what I love to do,” Tongi said. “My favorite things are just performing and making music.”

Tongi will continue to perform in various states throughout the rest of the year.

To learn about more upcoming events at the BYU-Idaho Center, check out its website.