The SoCal singer-songwriter Cuco (born Omar Banos) is doing things his way. Upon the release of his 2016 mixtape, Wannabewithu, the 20-year-old Hawthorne, California native quickly built up a cult following online, mostly of young Latinx folks drawn to his cool ideals, his nods to Chicano style and the way he pipes up in both English and Spanish—his style, called by some, “an alternative dimension of Latin pop.”
He left Santa Monica College in 2016 to pursue music full time after reaching considerable success with his 2017 self-released single, “Lo Que Siento (What I Feel),” — nearly 21 million Spotify streams worth to date. He would spend the next year producing a stream of singles and EPs, releasing Chiquito in Spring 2018.
Although many record labels have been contending for Cuco, he truly believes in producing and releasing his own music. (He distributes digitally through U.K.-based company AWAL, Artists Without a Label.)
While he’s doing his own thing, Cuco has spent plenty of time on the festival circuit, from Coachella to Lollapalooza; he’s even taken his live act as far as Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand (where he spent much of September).
The only child of immigrant parents, the young Mexican-American continues to live with his family in Hawthorne, where instead of buying his own place, he’s decided to help remodel the house he grew up in.
Cuco is keeping it kicking. He’ll continue touring through the fall, with pit stops at Austin City Limits and some dates on Kali Uchis’ upcoming In Your Dreams tour. He’s looking to release his first full-length album in summer of 2019.