A profile of Cuco, otherwise known as Omar Banos, from California Sunday, to explain how a kid goes from SoCal goofball to an unsigned star in the music business.
Cuco’s is a poster-child narrative for going unsigned in the age of streaming: bypass the hassles and risks of traditional models, assemble your own entrepreneurial team, record on your own timetable. But in the music business, independence isn’t entirely synonymous with freedom, as streaming services now dictate much of how an unsigned artist (or any, for that matter) becomes popular.
Despite touring’s slog, his live shows manifest what Cuco means, culturally. “When we went to Texas for the first time, or the Bay Area,” says Doris, “I felt like I saw the same community of kids no matter what city we went to. He made it very clear, every show, with this spiel of how tight it is to see a sea of brown kids and that all sexual orientations and gender identities are welcome as well, and this is your space. This is for us.” Except for Cleveland. That, they profess, was a lot of white people.
(The video above isn't mentioned in the story, but it's our personal favorite.)