We had the good fortune of connecting with Cago and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cago, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born in Urbana and grew up in Champaign– eventually graduating UIUC in Music Technology. Being in the city for so long, I had access to what felt like all branches of the hiphop scene there. I learned a lot of my sound by working with other artists and experimenting on a variety of different styles.

I even learned most of my performance chops by the way of a single open mic that I attended every week for 1.5 years at The Canopy Club.

I learned how to interact with people there, as both an artist and a human. I went from very antisocial and uncomfortable on stage, to enjoying being with the crowd and telling stories/hyping people up through my songs. They showed me how rich musical collaboration can be, and I continue to try and collaborate with as many people as I can today.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Well I got into music in an odd route; I was mostly a programmer and math nerd who was bullied through high school but I had a fascination with autotune and a lot of depressed thoughts. I ended up learning music through the computer by way of audio engineering– with pretty much no formal music training.

In my sophomore year of college, I changed my path and switched my major to music technology, struggling through the first couple semesters in theory and aural skills while other students flew through; having years of classical training.

Around that time, I started running a studio. At $20 a song, I remember running my first session of 12 hours. Only to walk out with 1 verse done and 20 paid haha. I didn’t make that mistake again 🙂

I learned how to run a business, but also how to create in that business at a high level. As a result of my experience in the studio– I assisted the University of Illinois in hiring professors for 4 new, student requested classes in the Music Technology field.

So, from mostly learning how to sing from Logic’s Pitch Correction; counting the letters up on a treble clef to spend 9.5 hours on a 30 minute homework assignment; and still being unable to play an instrument– I feel like anyone can be a musician in the modern day and age with just a little experience in recording and mixing. The tech side of music is so accessible these days and I feel like thats incredibly empowering.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Champaign is a pretty simple city– Breakfast you should go to the Original Pancake House. No doubt the best in town for breakfast, and get a large orange juice because it’s fresh squeezed.

Lunch we’re gonna head to Urbana (less than a 15 minute drive, its a merged city sorta) to the Courier Cafe. They always give you the extra milkshake in another glass so you’ll probably want one of those.

Dinner, perhaps the most important one if you’re just stopping in– Black Dog. Nationally rated as one of the best barbeque places there is, its absolutely amazing. I love the California vinegar on the brisket sandwich. The cornbread is to die for.

Desert, Jarling’s Custard Cup– really no comparison here. Best custard in town and right off of Kirby Ave, it’s just the right amount of buzz.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family, my close friends Rishi Kumar (V!SION) & Tony Daniello, and The Canopy Club (by way of Mike Ingram, Thee Delinquents, and many of the associated artists and regulars), have all been incredibly supportive and instructive in shaping my journey and character.

Website: https://cagomusic.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cago/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/itscago

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/itscago

Youtube: https://rebrand.ly/cagoyt

Other: https://linktr.ee/cago

Image Credits
Jason Morena, Tony Daniello

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