Artist of the month: Cuco

Julissa Rangel

Heavy synthesizers, melancholic guitar riffs, blaring trumpets, the contralto sound of the keyboard and lyrics in both English and Spanish nostalgic of failed relationships are only a few elements of lo-fi artist Cuco’s music.

Music consistently plays a large role in 19-year-old artist Omar Bano’s life. With the influence of Chicano rap, Spanglish music, metal and Spanish oldies, the first generation Chicano has been able to build a large fanbase to zealously support his alternative-dream-pop music. Through lyrics like, “Will you love this part of me? My lover is a day I can’t forget,” Banos avidly incorporates emotions into his work, something Latinx men are typically discouraged from doing.

Bano’s broad usage of the trumpet, guitar and keyboard allows him to create unique tracks, like his autotuned cover of Bobby Capó’s 1952 “Piel Canela,” which is only accessible on SoundCloud. Other songs, like dreamy Spanglish “Lo Qué Siento” and “Lover Is a Day” feature short pauses followed by a blaring trumpet, just one of the influences of his Mexican upbringing.

Using his platform to advocate for immigrant rights, Bano often shares messages that shed light onto individuals and their families who could possibly be facing deportation as well as the increasingly confusing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals deal. In 2017, he headlined “Solidarity for Sanctuary” at the Lodge Room in Los Angeles, the proceeds of which were given to the Central American Resource Center or CARECEN.

Despite all this, Banos is still able to take a relatable approach to his music, releasing “CR-V” an ode to his car, where he sings, “I look like a mom in my CR-V . . . I’m so average in my CR-V.” He’s also notable for integrating Star Wars references into his lyrics, “Processing the information transferred from your mind to me at light speed like the Falcon from the original Star Wars trilogy,” and sharing popular memes on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Banos’ May release of “Chiquito” or “Little” was a six-song release of his earlier SoundCloud work, including songs like “Summer Time High Time” which features rapper J-Kwe$T, and the unexpectedly alternative “Dontmakemefallinlove.”

Listen to our Spotify playlist here.