UCI Graduate & "Survivor" Winner Releases New Album

Robin Fenchel September 4, 2012

Aras Baskauskas is both a UCI graduate and winner of the TV reality show “Survivor.” But that’s not all. The 6-foot 4-inch former basketball player recently released a solo album, has founded a Santa Monica-based Russian-style winter hat company,  is a mostly vegan yoga instructor, volunteers at a youth camp, commutes by bike, and likes to garden in his spare time. What spare time?

Baskauskas attended UCI on a Division-I basketball scholarship and earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy before going on to earn a master’s degree in business. And he did it all in five years. From there, he went on to win $1 million on “Survivor: Panama- Exile Island” at the age of 24, and he hasn’t slowed down since. In 2006, he opened a yoga studio in Cape Town, South Africa to escape his fame from the TV show.

He adds, “We all have our personal barriers. After I won ‘Survivor,’ I got really depressed. It was just too much. Too much exposure to the elements, to myself, to the world. I couldn’t vibrate that high for that long.”

Clearly, Baskauskas has found his rhythm once again. After picking up a guitar for the first time since childhood, he is an accomplished singer-songwriter who just released a new album called “The Tree and the River.” He notes, “By going through all that, I discovered my real passion is music. I just wanted to use that to make something that would stop people and give them a moment of space. Inspire them to explore their own moments.”

Baskauskas regularly plays gigs in the L.A. area, and has toured in Australia when he opened for the band Dispatch. His 2009 song “Save Me” made it on NBC”s show, “Mercy,” and Baskauskas says he has become good friends with Damien Rice, an Irish singer-songwriter.

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