Omar Banos (born June 26, 1998), known professionally as Cuco, is an American singer-songwriter from Hawthorne, California. His music has been described to blend elements of bossa nova, indie-pop, and psychedelia.

Cuco in November 2018
Cuco in November 2018
Background information
Birth nameOmar Banos[1]
Born (1998-06-26) June 26, 1998 (age 25)
Inglewood, California, U.S.
OriginHawthorne, California, U.S.
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, producer
Years active2015–present

Teaching himself how to make his own music, Cuco self-released his first EP, Wannabewithu in 2016, which featured some of his first songs to go viral, "Lover is a Day" and "Amor de Siempre". He then released his second EP, Songs4u, the following year. Cuco rose to prominence following the release of his 2017 single, "Lo Que Siento", allowing him to drop out of college to pursue a music career.

Signing with Interscope Records in 2019, he released his first studio album, Para Mi (2019). He released his second album, Fantasy Gateway in 2022, created with producer, Manuel Lara. He released his third EP, Hitchhiker on November 10, 2023.

Early life edit

Omar Banos was born an only child in Inglewood, California, on June 26, 1998, to immigrant Mexican parents.[6][7][8] His mother, Irma, came from the city of Puebla, while his father, Adolfo, came from Mexico City.[8][9] He grew up in the city of Hawthorne, California,[10] and began playing music at the age of eight. He had experimented with trumpet, guitar, keyboard, drums, bass guitar, mellophone and French horn before the age of 15.[11] Banos attended junior school in Lennox and graduated from Hawthorne High School where he played in the school marching band as well as the jazz band.[12][13][14]

Career edit

2015: Heavy Trip edit

After graduating, Banos uploaded a slide guitar cover of Sleep Walk by Santo & Johnny to YouTube, which gained thousands of views.[15] He began producing and releasing songs from his parents' home and releasing them onto Bandcamp and SoundCloud.[16] In January 2015, Banos released his first EP on Bandcamp, titled Heavy Trip.[17] In the same year, Banos had released his first song, "Yeah" on SoundCloud under the moniker of Heavy Trip.[13][18] He then switched to Cuco, which was a nickname given to him by his mother as a child.[19]

Cuco performing at Primavera Sound in May 2019

2016–2017: Wannabewithu and Songs4u edit

By the age of 18, Banos had self-produced his first mixtape Wannabewithu in 2016, after teaching himself how to use Ableton Live software.[10][20] Cuco released his second mixtape, Songs4u in 2017 when he started playing at clubs in Southern California, selling out his first two venues.[21] Cuco released his first single "Lo Que Siento" in 2017, which has reached over 320 million streams on Spotify alone.[22] Following the success of "Lo Que Siento," Cuco dropped out after a year of attending Santa Monica City College to pursue a career in music.[8]

2018–2019: Para Mi edit

Cuco collaborated with American singer Clairo for the single "Drown", which was released in August 2018.[23] He then collaborated with Polyphia on a track called "So Strange" off their album New Levels New Devils, which was released in October 2018.[24] Cuco played alongside saxophonist Kenny G at Coachella in April 2018,[25][26] as well as at Lollapalooza in October 2018.[27] In February 2019, he collaborated with his childhood Chicano rap idols MC Magic and Lil Rob on a track called "Search".[28] After a bidding war that lasted two years, Banos signed under Interscope Records in March 2019.[29] On April 2, 2019, Cuco released "Hydrocodone," the lead single for Para Mi, before releasing "Bossa No Sé" with Jean Carter on May 22, 2019.[30][31] Cuco later released his debut studio album, Para Mi, on July 26.[22] The album touches on recent problems that Cuco has experienced first-hand, including a tour bus accident that sent him and his band to hospital.[15] It debuted at 94 on the US Billboard 200.[32]

2022-present: Fantasy Gateway and Hitchhiker edit

On April 29, 2022, Cuco released "Caution" as the lead single from his sophomore studio album, Fantasy Gateway. On July 22, 2022, Fantasy Gateway was released via Interscope Records. The 12-track LP includes appearances from Kacey Musgraves, Adriel Favela, Bratty, and DannyLux.[33] On March 10, 2023, he collaborated with indie pop band the Marías on the song "Si Me Voy", later performing at the Camp Flog Gnaw music festival in November of that year.[34] He released his third EP, Hitchhiker, on November 10, 2023, which included 6 tracks.

Artistry edit

Musical style and songwriting edit

Banos' musical style blends elements of bossa nova and indie pop.[35] Suzy Exposito from Rolling Stone described his music as "psychedelia-soaked love ballads".[8] Brett Calwood told LA Weekly that Banos's music has "smooth Latin influences with a nostalgic lean".[36] Banos blends English and Spanish lyrics over what he describes as "alternative dream pop" melodies that have "a lot of synthesizers" and "a lot of 808's".[37][38]

Influences edit

Banos grew up listening to Chicano rap from names such as Lil Rob, Baby Bash and MC Magic,[20] as well as Spanish rock, boleros and other old ballads that his parents would play around the house.[14][39] He listens to jazz, classical music and trap music, and has cited Kevin Parker of Tame Impala and Ariel Pink as some of his major musical influences.[19] In an interview with Jesse Thorn from Bullseye, Banos described how the song, "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" by Tame Impala helped him with visualizing his career in music and navigating his life in high school.[40]

Discography edit

Albums edit

List of studio albums, with selected details and chart positions.
Title Album details Peak chart positions

Para Mi[42]
  • Released: July 26, 2019
  • Label: Interscope PS
  • Formats: CD, digital download, streaming, vinyl
94 6
Fantasy Gateway[43]
  • Released: July 22, 2022
  • Label: Interscope PS
  • Formats: CD, digital download, streaming, vinyl

Extended plays edit

Wannabewithu (2016)[44]
1."Lover is a Day"7:37
2."Cupid's Quiver"4:20
3."Amor de Siempre"5:21
4."When We Meet"4:37
Total length:27:19
Songs4u (2017)[45]
1."One and Only"3:26
2."Winter's Ballad"4:37
3."We Had to End It"5:49
4."Neon Baby"3:54
5."Stay for a Bit"4:05
6."Lava Lamp"5:08
7."Rest Easy, I’ll See You Again"3:58
8."Lost / Heart"4:32
9."I’ve Left My Body and I Don't Want to Come Back"1:30
Total length:36:59
Cuco on Audiotree Live (2018)[46]
1."Lo Que Siento (Audiotree Live Version)"4:14
2."Lava Lamp (Audiotree Live Version)"4:57
3."Lover is a Day (Audiotree Live Version)"7:43
4."Summertime Hightime (Audiotree Live Version)"2:17
5."Amor de Siempre (Audiotree Live Version)"5:12
6."We Had to End It (Audiotree Live Version)"5:05
Total length:29:28
Chiquito (2018)[47]
1."Lucy (feat. J-Kwe$T)"4:47
4."Summer Time High Time (feat. J-Kwe$T)"3:28
5."Mi Infinita"4:32
Total length:22:54
Hitchhiker (2023)[48]
2."Planet Express"4:20
3."Give it the World"4:08
4."Mesh Camp"3:44
5."Junkies and Rarities"4:34
Total length:24:14

Singles edit

As lead artist

Year Title Certifications Album/EP
2017 "Lo Que Siento" Non-album singles
2018 "Sunnyside"
"CR-V" Chiquito
(with Clairo)
Non-album singles
(with J Kwe$t)
2019 "Hydrocodone" Para Mi
"Bossa No Sé"
(with Jean Carter)
2022 Caution Fantasy Gateway
Time Machine
Fin Del Mundo
(with Bratty)
2023 "Si Me Voy"
(with the Marías)
Non-album singles

As featured artist

Year Title Album
2018 "So Strange"
(Polyphia featuring Cuco)
New Levels New Devils
2019 "Search"
(MC Magic featuring Cuco & Lil Rob)
Non-album singles
(Girl Ultra featuring Cuco)
"Fix Me"
(Dillon Francis featuring Cuco)
(Lilbootycall featuring Cuco and J Kwe$t)
Jesus Said Run It Back
"Take Me Before I Die"
(Pouya featuring Cuco)
The South Got Something to Say
2020 "Off the Goop"
(Yung Gravy featuring bbno$ and Cuco)
Baby Gravy 2
2022 "La novela"
(Boy Pablo featuring Cuco)
Non-album singles

Bandcamp releases edit

Heavy Trip (2015)[17]
1."go home"3:28
2."swear on a soul"4:09
4."face in space"2:43
Total length:13:44

Music videos edit

List of music videos, showing year released and directors
Year Title Director(s) Ref.
2018 "Sunnyside" Ambar Navarro [50]
"Summertime Hightime"
(featuring J-Kwe$t)
Mu$ty Boyz [51]
"CR-V" David Gantz & Theo Cohn [52]
2019 "Search"
(MC Magic featuring Cuco & Lil Rob)
Ali Zamani [53]
"Hydrocodone" Jazmin Garcia [54]
"Bossa No Sé"
(featuring Jean Carter)
Pasqual Gutierrez [55]
"Feelings" Francisco Outón [56]
"Keeping Tabs"
(featuring Suscat0)
Pasqual Gutierrez & RJ Sanchez [57]
2021 "Paradise" Cliqua [58]
"Forevermore" Cliqua [59]
"Under The Sun" Carlos Lopez Estrada & Jeff Desom [60]
"Piel Canela" Basa [61]
2022 "Caution" Cole Kush [62]
"Sitting In The Corner (feat. Kacey Musgraves & Adriel Favela)" Dan Streit [63]
"First of The Year" Suscato [64]
2023 "Best Disaster" Eric Foster [65]
"Si Me Voy (feat. The Marías)" Carlos Lopez Estrada & Jeff Desom [66]

External links edit

References edit

  1. ^ Banos, Omar. "ASCAP Ace Search". Mexican Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  2. ^ Galil, Leor (July 26, 2018). "Bedroom-pop wunderkind Cuco forges a new path for pop". Chicago Reader. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  3. ^ "Cuco Mania Heats Up With Release of Debut Album 'Para Mi'". Billboard. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  4. ^ "After Signing a Seven-Figure Deal, Cuco Is in Control". Billboard. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  5. ^ "Cuco". Interscope Records.
  6. ^ "Cuco Is Back with a New Label and a New Sound". Red Bull. March 8, 2019. Retrieved August 18, 2019. born Omar Banos in Inglewood, California
  7. ^ Myers, Jess (July 3, 2019). "10 Artists You Should Celebrate This Cancer Season". Ones To Watch. Retrieved August 22, 2019. Cuco – Born on June 26, 1998
  8. ^ a b c d Exposito, Suzy (September 25, 2018). "Amor y Cuco: How a Band Geek Became a Chicano Heartthrob". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  9. ^ Ruiz, Matthew (August 28, 2019). "A Conversation With Cuco and His Parents About the Joys and Perils of Sudden Stardom". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Cuco rising: How a teen romantic from Hawthorne is becoming the buzz of the biz". Los Angeles Times. November 10, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  11. ^ Graves, Shahlin (June 28, 2019). "Interview: Cuco on music as escapism + his upcoming debut album 'Para Mi'". Coup De Main Magazine. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  12. ^ 8 Things About Cuco You Should Know! | Billboard, retrieved August 18, 2019 – via YouTube, I went to school in Lennox
  13. ^ a b "Cuco is an indie-pop prodigy on the verge of mainstream fame, but last year his career hung in the balance after a trailer crashed into his tour van. Here's the story of his comeback". Red Bull. March 25, 2019. Retrieved August 18, 2019. Banos played horns for the Hawthorne High marching band at school
  14. ^ a b Bergado, Gabe (June 24, 2019). "Meet Cuco, the Spanish-Singing, Trumpet-Playing Artist You're Going to Fall Head Over Heels For". Teen Vogue. Archived from the original on June 24, 2019. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  15. ^ a b Lopez, Julyssa. "Cuco went from nerdy kid to indie-music hero – and shattered Latino stereotypes in the process". The Washington Post.
  16. ^ "Cuco strikes the right balance". The Columbian. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  17. ^ a b "Heavy Trip by Cuco", Bandcamp
  18. ^ "Yeah – Cuco", SoundCloud
  19. ^ a b "Interview with Cuco: The Chicano Artist From The South Bay". Teal Magazine. Archived from the original on June 4, 2019. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  20. ^ a b Domanick, Andrea (May 25, 2017). "Cuco Is LA's New Romantic, and He's Only 18". Vice. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
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  23. ^ Wang, Steffanee (August 1, 2019). "The new Cuco and Clairo song is proof that youths are going to take over the world". The FADER. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  24. ^ Darus, Alex (August 8, 2018). "Polyphia totally diss Ronnie Radke with new album announcement". Alternative Press. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  25. ^ Fessier, Bruce. "Coachella announces 2018 lineup: Beyoncé, The Weeknd and Eminem to headline". Desert Sun. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  26. ^ Malicse, Kristine (April 13, 2019). "Coachella 2019: Yes, Kenny G performed a saxophone solo at the festival". Press Enterprise. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  27. ^ Herrman, Alex (July 30, 2018). "Everything You Need to Know About Lollapalooza 2018". Red Bull. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  28. ^ Arunarsirakul, Alissa (March 15, 2019). "MC Magic Teams Up with Cuco & Lil Rob for a Spanish-Drizzled Love Song, "SEARCH"". Ones To Watch. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  29. ^ "Cuco Inks Seven-Figure Deal With Interscope After Lengthy Courtship, Bidding War: Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  30. ^ Bloom, Madison (April 2, 2019). "Cuco Shares New Song "Hydrocodone"". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  31. ^ Darville, Jordan (May 22, 2019). "Cuco and Jean Carter's new song "Bossa No Sé" is a heartbroken end to cuffing season". The FADER. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  32. ^ a b "Top 200 Albums | Billboard 200 chart". Billboard. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  33. ^ Bloom, Madison (April 29, 2022). "Cuco Announces New Album Fantasy Gateway, Shares Video for New Song: Watch". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 15, 2023.
  34. ^ Lotz, Griffin (November 13, 2023). "Camp Flog Gnaw 2023". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 22, 2023.
  35. ^ Hsu, Hua (July 26, 2019). "The Extreme Highs and Lows of Cuco's Début Album, "Para Mí"". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  36. ^ Callwood, Brett (July 23, 2019). "Album of the Week: Cuco's Para Mi". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on July 23, 2019. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  37. ^ Berlatsky, Noah (June 13, 2019). "LA singer-songwriter/producer Cuco blends Spanish and English in psychedelic daydreams". Chicago Reader. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  38. ^ Duran, Amaris (September 5, 2017). "Meet 'Cuco,' The Chicano Artist That Fights Machismo With Love Songs". The Odyssey Online. Archived from the original on October 16, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  39. ^ Villafranca, David (July 27, 2019). "Chicano star Cuco: Hispanics' presence in music industry is form of activism". EFE. Archived from the original on July 28, 2019. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  40. ^ Thorn, Jesse (August 9, 2019). "Psychedelic bedroom pop musician Cuco". NPR. Archived from the original on August 10, 2019. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  41. ^ "Billboard Alternative Albums | Week of Aug 10". Billboard. August 10, 2019. Archived from the original on August 6, 2019.
  42. ^ "Para Mi", Apple Music
  43. ^ "Fantasy Gateway", Apple Music
  44. ^ "Wannabewithu by Cuco", Apple Music
  45. ^ "Songs4u by Cuco", Apple Music
  46. ^ "Cuco on Audiotree Live – EP by Cuco", Apple Music, archived from the original on July 29, 2019, retrieved August 18, 2019
  47. ^ "Chiquito – EP by Cuco", Apple Music
  48. ^ "Hitchhiker – EP by Cuco", Apple Music
  49. ^ "Gold & Platinum: Cuco". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on June 25, 2021. Retrieved June 23, 2021.
  50. ^ CUCO – Sunnyside, retrieved August 18, 2019 – via YouTube
  51. ^ CUCO – Summertime Hightime (feat. J-Kwe$t) (Official Music Video), retrieved August 18, 2019 – via YouTube
  52. ^ CUCO – Summertime Hightime (feat. J-Kwe$t) (Official Music Video), retrieved August 18, 2019 – via YouTube
  53. ^ MC Magic SEARCH featuring CUCO & LIL ROB, retrieved August 18, 2019 – via YouTube
  54. ^ Cuco – Hydrocodone (Official Music Video), retrieved August 18, 2019 – via YouTube
  55. ^ Cuco – Bossa No Sé ft. Jean Carter (Official Video), retrieved August 18, 2019 – via YouTube
  56. ^ Cuco – Feelings, retrieved August 18, 2019 – via YouTube
  57. ^ Cuco – Keeping Tabs (feat. Suscat0) (Official Music Video), retrieved September 12, 2019 – via YouTube
  58. ^ Cuco – Paradise (Official Music Video, retrieved November 8, 2021 – via YouTube
  59. ^ Cuco - Forevermore (Official Music Video), retrieved November 8, 2021 – via YouTube
  60. ^ Cuco – Under The Sun (Official Video), retrieved November 8, 2021 – via YouTube
  61. ^ Cuco - Piel Canela, retrieved December 17, 2021
  62. ^ Cuco - Caution (Official Music Video), retrieved April 30, 2022
  63. ^ Cuco - Sitting In The Corner (feat. Kacey Musgraves & Adriel Favela), retrieved July 21, 2022
  64. ^ Cuco - First of The Year, retrieved December 28, 2022
  65. ^ Cuco - Best Disaster, retrieved February 16, 2023
  66. ^ Cuco - Si Me Voy (feat. The Marías), retrieved March 9, 2023