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Meet Juan Lugo of Cayey Cicada

Today we’d like to introduce you to Juan Lugo.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Juan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
When I was a kid, I saw musicians almost like superheroes. I never thought I could do it. I only got started in music when I was almost done with my undergraduate studies in criminal justice. I had recently learned to play guitar and started jamming with friends who were gigging in the local reggae scene in Puerto Rico, which I loved. After a short while, I was doing gigs with them.

I fell in love with playing guitar. It made me feel connected in a way that was beautifully addictive. I would drive to a town two hours away in the west coast of Puerto Rico three times a week to play with a reggae band, I enrolled in music school, and I decided that being an artist could be a reality for me.

After that, I spent about five years gigging while studying music and working different jobs, from roadie to parking attendant. Then almost ten years ago, I moved to Los Angeles. I got a Master’s degree in Film Scoring and gigged in different local music scenes playing salsa, reggae, pop, Afro Puerto-Rican music and covers.

After a few attempts at original music bands that fell apart, I decided to start a solo project and Cayey Cicada was born. It’s a bilingual indie-pop project undeniably influenced by all the different music genres that shaped me both as a person and as an artist.

I released my first single Little Bit in 2017 and since then, I’ve continued to make music independently and play gigs while working different day jobs. I have released 15 songs with Cayey Cicada – 5 singles and two EPs. Along the way, I also learned how to record, produce and mix, and started experimenting with filmmaking and editing through a self-documentary series called “The Lone Diaries.”

My latest single is called Te Quise and was released in August of this year. Ironically given the times of isolation that we’re living, this is my first collaboration on Cayey Cicada. It’s a lo-fi type of beat by Forastero Galáctico written and produced by me that speaks about being inside moments of “so near and yet so far” and the different endings we imagine to our own stories. I am currently working on new tracks I am hoping to release soon.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has definitely not been a smooth road to get to where I am today. I have faced many of the struggles that most independent artists go through, both externally and internally. Some days can be frustrating, but eventually you start seeing the rewards of your work.

Music is a tough business and I had to learn the hard way that sometimes you have to lose some to gain some, that time management is key, and that you must fight each day to show up for yourself and put in the work.

One of the biggest challenges for me was understanding everything that goes into music production and mixing and how the overall business and management part works. I didn’t want to have to rely on other people, and the only way to achieve that was learning to do things myself.

Now that I’m at a place where I feel like my sound and identity as an artist are more defined, I have started working with like-minded collaborators and other fellow artists to continue on this process of growth.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
Cayey Cicada is an indie-pop project meant for celebrating reality and the ups and downs of life. I see it as an alter-ego of my identity as an artist and as a human being.

Cayey is the name of the last town where I lived in Puerto Rico before moving to Los Angeles; and cicadas are known in some cultures as the announcers of summer. In my songs, I try to convey that feeling of summer warmth that incites movement from within.

I love it when someone comes to me and shares that they identify with my song, or that one of my songs carried them through a meaningful moment in their life.

I am most proud of the fact that I’m still here pursuing what I love.

I believe that to be part of this world, you have to be your own universe. You have to embrace who you are and everything you do with an honest approach.

Music is the way I express who I am and what I feel, so it inherently has its own identity.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is something that I believe exists and can also be created. Being in the right place at the right time is a positive energy that you can attract by just showing up with an open attitude everywhere you go. That alone can take you a step closer to a life-changing opportunity. It’s a matter of mindset and disposition. This way of thinking and living has led me to cross paths with people who have become friends and collaborators for life. I’d say I’m a lucky person for sure.

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Image Credit:

Alain Emille, Raiza Nohelia Lopez

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