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He started his music career in a small bedroom in his house a few years ago. Now Cuco, an Internet sensation, is wooing crowds around the nation including Columbus, Ohio. Last fall, Cuco appeared at the famous, Newport Music Hall near the Ohio State University campus. The historic venue is touted as America’s Longest Continually Running Rock Club.
Hundreds of fans filled the hall prior to the 8:00 p.m. show, quickly filling seats until it was standing room only. Prior to the opening of the show, fans danced to mariachi and loud Bamba music while shouting “Cuco”.
As the show began, fans screamed and some actually cried while throwing roses and sentimental objects up onto the stage. After a three hour concert, including an encore, Cuco promised the adoring crowd that he would return.
“I’ll be back again, Ohio!”
Cuco initially began as a Spotify singer who now creates a unique style of music and lyrics that appeal especially to teenage audiences. In just three years, Cuco has gone from “a hidden jewel of the Internet to an indie-music act so promising that he sparked a bidding war among record labels and walked away with a seven-figure deal from Interscope” (Washington Post, 2019).
A political enthusiast, Cuco told NPR that he struggles with the fact that the music industry has stereotyped him because of his ethnicity.
“ . . . just because I’m a brown artist, they immediately just label you as a Latin artist. They don’t really want to put you in different types of festivals and stuff; they just want to keep you Latin-exclusive. I don’t mind playing stuff like that, but my music isn’t just catered to a group of people. It’s catered to everybody.”
Cuco has made a point to use his music as a platform to advocate for immigrants’ rights. He headlined the first “Solidarity for Sanctuary”, a benefit concert series for immigrant families at risk of deportation, and other immigrant rights’ benefits by collaborating with Latin American musicians.
The Washington Post summed up his “bullet-speed ascent” as a result of how much he bares himself to fans, posts bathroom selfies and goofy videos on Instagram. He is described as laid-back and unassuming with a nerdy-cool demeanor.
A child of Mexican immigrants in Hawthorne, California, Cuco really didn’t expect much to come out of his love of music. He taught himself to play guitar when he was about 8 years old. He quickly learned that he was skilled at picking up instruments like the French horn, keyboards, drums and producing tracks on his laptop. After high school graduation, he released original songs on Bandcamp and SoundCloud (Washington Post 2019).