Born June 26, 1998, the alternative dreampop solo artist from Hawthorne, California known as “Cuco” is on the rise with beautiful lyrics and psychedelic songs. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Cuco, Omar Banos, is a prime example of young Chicano excellence. At the young age of 19, he has not one, but two phenomenal collections of music, a single on iTunes and Spotify, and a clothing collection on THE HYV. Even more impressive is his recent announcement that he will be going on tour in October.
When he was 8, he began playing the guitar and in 2013, through Instagram, he began to slowly step into the world of music. In fact, if you scroll far down enough on Cuco’s Instagram feed, you can find short videos of him playing the guitar and piano. As said in an interview with Mitu
“I finally started making my dreams come true junior year of highschool, I’d go home every day and just write music and just be producing.”
Unlike many other Mexican-American artists, Cuco incorporates a lot of Spanish into his music and speaks regularly about the Mexican culture. Unfortunately, far too often we see young Chicano artists attempting to erase their roots out of shame and fear of backlash. But in the face of Trump’s America, Cuco rises to the occasion by taking pride in who he is and being an advocate for social justice. Just recently he performed at a benefit for undocumented families put on by Mija MGMT that was raising funds for families at high risk of deportation. In a recent interview, Cuco spoke about what it means to be an artist of color to him.
“Being an artist of color is already kind of like an act of resistance, like we’re not supposed to make it we are supposed to stay in the ‘hood.’ We’re so talented Our minds and our art form are so intricate. It’s something that everybody should know about. Never in a million years would I think that I was going to be someone who represented a community that is very unrepresented.”
Cuco has been outcrying against gender inequality, discussing the dangers of “machismo” and how men are not being “sissies” when they speak out about issues. At his most recent performance in San Jose, he held up the Mexican flag and hyped up the crowd, applauding its diversity that included POC, people everywhere on the gender spectrum, and people of varying sexualities. His main message was expressing his love for all, reminding each of us that we are human and that we are all cherished.
Cuco’s 2016 mixtape Wannabewithu is a very mellow rock, abstract trip that takes you to another state of mind full of love and lust. Wannabewithu contains songs like “Amor de Siempre,” a love song in Spanish with a modernized twist to the classical Mariachi songs and “Lonleylife,“ a psychedelic song about waiting for love underneath iridescent pink and purple skies.
In 2017 he released Songs4u, an alternative collection of songs that give you insight into his daydreaming sound of love. With hits like “One and Only” and of course the masterpiece that is “Lost / Heart,” Cuco has blessed us with relatable songs that let us escape into his music. “Stay for a Bit” is reminiscent of your parents old Lowrider Oldies cassettes; it’s a track infused with Mariachi sounds over some poetic, 80s love lyrics.
Young, curious love has a reputation for being something only overly dramatic teenage girls feel. It is often spoken down upon as being so immature and naive, making it harder for us teenagers to stay hopeful about finding healthy romantic relationships. Cuco is paving the way for confused romantics, making it more socially acceptable for those of us that just crave to emote and explore the wonders of our hearts. His music speaks volumes on behalf of the young souls lost trying to find their place in this world. Not only does Cuco speak about things we are afraid to say, but he speaks it in the language we are so afraid to embrace.