Indie music heartthrob Cuco has grown a devoted following for his lo-fi bedroom pop ballads. His career began at such a young age, so it makes sense to be curious about what high school he went to while he began producing music.
Cuco graduated from Hawthorne High School in Hawthorne, California. In high school, Cuco, born Omar Banos, was involved in extra-curricular musical activities such as jazz band and the school’s marching band.
Cuco has demonstrated his passion for music from a young age, and those stylistic influences are evident in his discography.
Early Life and Stylistic Influences
Cuco was born in 1998 to parents who were Mexican immigrants to California. He began playing music at the young age of eight and experimented with a wide variety of instruments.
He mentioned how he grew up listening to a wide variety of music, from the boleros that were his mother’s favorites to metal and hip-hop. As he told VICE, Cuco grew up listening to “a lot of Chicano rap like MC Magic, Lil Rob, and Baby Bash and that music had a lot of oldies elements to it and stuff like that.”
Cuco has also mentioned how important the psychedelic-pop band Tame Impala was for him growing up, especially their song, ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.’
He says his family background is crucial to his work as a Mexican-American and someone whose parents were immigrants.
In an interview with Agencia EFE, Cuco said, “My music isn’t necessary activist, but I think my presence in the industry and the presence of Hispanic immigrants and Latinos whose parents were immigrants is important … and I think just being in this industry is a form of activism.”
Cuco chose to go by ‘Cuco’ because of his mother, who would always call him ‘cuckoo’ as a child due to his hyper antics and comedic behavior. Although he’s kept the sense of humor that’s allowed him to connect with so many fans, his songs aren’t so hyperactive.
Musical Style and Discography
Instead, his signature style is a unique blend of the new generation of self-trained musicians who produce from their bedrooms, often referred to by the moniker ‘bedroom pop’, and genres like hip hop, jazz, and indie.
In a Teen Vogue interview, Cuco explained that most of the band he tours with come from jazz backgrounds, “It’s cool because we all improvise like crazy on stage too. Whenever something goes slightly off, we’re like, ‘You know what, I guess this one we’re just playing it by ear.’”
However, he did not start by touring with a band – he self-produced his first songs in his bedroom after teaching himself Ableton Live, a recording software.
The opening track, ‘Lover Is a Day’ from his 2016 album, “Wannabewithu’, garnered over 100 million Spotify streams. Another track, ‘Lo Que Siento,’ is massively popular and features dreamily romantic lyrics such as, “Dreaming of you when I’m alone / Baby don’t trip I’m coming home / Kick it with me, I don’t care if the sun is gone.”
Suzy Esposito with Rolling Stone described the basis for Cuco’s cult following as young people, many Latinx, that are drawn to “his stoner romanticism, his throwbacks to Chicano lowrider swag and the way he warbles sweet nothings in both English and Spanish.”
Cuco has amassed a cult following and remains down-to-earth on social media, including posting a heartfelt Instagram photo holding a copy of his debut album, ‘Para Mi.’
Cuco performed many sold-out live shows, including playing Coachella and Lollapalooza in 2018. Unfortunately, he had to cancel the rest of his 2018 after a bus accident landed him in the hospital, but thankfully he survived.
Although Cuco is signed with Interscope, a massive record label, and is a highly sought-after talent in the music industry, he hasn’t lost sight of himself, as evidenced by his carefree Spotify bio.
If you were to took up Cuco’s About page bio on the music streaming site, it doesn’t list his many accomplishments or describe his unique musical stylings, which have been described by NPR as “dreamy synths, catchy hooks and a bit of jazz trumpet to create a sleepy psychedelia vibe.”
No, instead, his mini-bio reads, “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH / THE PIZZA IS TOO HOT FOR MY MOUTH / LIFE ALERT WONT HELP ME / AHHHHH / PLS TELL PAPA JOHNS TO STOP SEASONING MY PIZZA WITH SULFURIC ACID / MY TRASH CAN IS LITERALLY ON FIRE / FROM THROWING YOUR MOMS SOCKS IN THERE / STANLEY COME HERE.”
Perhaps that tells you more about Cuco’s youthful and lighthearted style than a bio full of industry jargon ever could.