Ellona Rano Santiago (born August 1, 1996) is a Filipino-born American singer from San Lorenzo, California. She was a contestant on American television show The XFactor produced by Simon Cowell. Ellona first taken part in Season 1 as part of the ten-member group InTENsity mentored by Paula Abdul which came in 12th place. Ellona returned again in Season 3, where she is part of the Girls category, mentored by Demi Lovato. Ellona placed 6th overall out of 16 finalists from thousands of hopefuls.
Ellona has been singing since the age of 3 and has joined dozens of talent shows. In 2011 Ellona won Ichiban Idol, where American Idol season 3 finalist Jasmine Trias was a guest judge. Ellona has had a successful Youtube channel with over 2,000,000 views in total.
Ellona started singing before she could speak. At the age of 3 she started singing and dancing for family gatherings. Her early training was taught by her mother who used to sing to her even when she was still in her womb. Her older sisters and cousins also influenced her in honing her skills.
As years go by, Ellona was enrolled by her parents to Barbizon Modeling School for professional training (2005-2006) in San Francisco, California. She performed at IPAAC Convention (International Performing Arts Academy) and placed Best in Talent in December 2006. At 10, she became the youngest cast member of the musical-comedy called “Amerikana” led by Fil-Am Singer-Actress-Comidienne Fe Delos Reyes who became her mentor. Ellona’s professional vocal coach was Miriam Pantig who is also an International Singer-Actress.
Ellona is a member of Our Lady of Good Council Children’s Church
Choir in San Leandro, CA. Aside from sharing her voice; she is also the teen advocate for Project Resoled, a non-profit organization in which its core objective is to provide refurbished children’s shoes to improve the mental, emotional, and physical health of impoverished children in developing countries such as Philippines. Since Ellona’s involvement in 2012 with the organization, it has raised more awareness for different sectors and individuals to donate and participate in the program.
Her older sister Shalimar aka Charlie Rano also was a member of the Church’s youth choir subsequently took the music field seriously from being a solo artist joined the pop-girl group called 4Play Ladies, who were featured on America’s Got Talent Season 6. Ellona’s dancing skills was developed by learning from her sister’s band. She is also taking up dance lessons and collaborating with her friend Ysabelle “LilBigz” Capitule, another young talent who was featured on The Ellen Show and was a back-up dancer for Willow Smith.
Subsequently, upon Ellona’s achievement in her successful stint on The XFactor show, and her participation in providing footwear to impoverished children in developing countries, the Mayor of San Leandro, Stephen Cassidy, has proclaimed on January 13, 2014, as “Ellona Santiago Day” The City Council has commended her for being an inspirational representative for the youth in striving to achieve her dreams and in making a difference in the world. Furthermore, on February 14, 2014 during The Arroyo High School Assembly, Ellona was surprised by the whole student body, faculty and staff as they coordinated with the California State – Senator Ellen Corbett, Congressman Eric Swalwell and The Board of Supervisors – County of Alameda with whom individually presented their award and recognition to Ellona in honoring her achievements and also proclaimed her as an inspiration for the youth.
Ellona’s social media followers abound termed as “Ellonatics”, continues to make a positive impact for the youth, not only in her local community but all over the world; simultaneously, she makes headway through the music and entertainment industry.
“Never let anyone take control of your dreams, it is yours to pursue” -Ellona