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Sueco’s breakout single, “fast,” introduced him as an artist who was on the precipice of making it big. He wasn’t quite balling yet, but once he got that first big check, he could finally splurge on a Crunchwrap Supreme AND a Baja Blast. “I went from living with five of my homies in the back room of my dad’s house, struggling to get 99-cent bean and cheese burritos and picking cigarettes off the sidewalk, to having a whole bunch of money,” Sueco says, laughing. “I could rent this big house and everyone had everything they needed. It was a very big life switch. I went from being broke to being the person with the most money I’d ever known.”

Like many artists of late, TikTok played a pivotal role in Sueco’s success. He’d been dropping music to SoundCloud for a few years before “fast” came along, but none of his earlier singles resulted in a trending TikTok sound or millions of streams on Spotify. “At the time, I knew that it was something special before we even released it,” Sueco says. “I always send my music to my friends and to girls. Usually people will be like, ‘Oh, I like this.’ But everyone called me and was like, ‘Holy shit, you need to release this.’ So I knew it was going to do something, but I had no idea it was going to do what it did.”

Photos by Jimmy Fontaine

Photos by Jimmy Fontaine

Unlike many of those who have followed with viral TikTok songs, Sueco wasn’t destined to become a one-hit wonder. He’d been honing his craft for years and just a few short months later, he satiated his fans with his EP, “Miscreant.” “Miscreant” was an opportunity for Sueco to flex his versatility and prove his success wasn’t a fluke.

Sueco’s musical upbringing was quite nuanced as his interests strayed far from the hip-hop of “fast.” He grew up singing in the church choir and fell in love with drums through playing “Rock Band.” Green Day’s “American Idiot” was his first introduction to pop-punk and he got his start performing in screamo bands in high school. These experiences shaped who Sueco is and “Miscreant” was his way of presenting that to the world.

“Because I’d been making different types of music all throughout my life, I wanted to show people that I wasn’t just ‘fast,’” Sueco says. “In the short term, honestly, it wasn’t the best move. Everyone just wanted me to do songs like ‘fast,’ but I knew I was something more than that. Looking back on it, it was the best decision I could have made for the long term, but it was kind of scary because I didn’t know how people were going to react.”

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“Miscreant” was Sueco’s first step in showing the many facets of his sound, and he’d spend the next few years fine-tuning his sound before releasing another project. He no longer wanted to jump from rapping on one track to belting out punk lyrics on the next. Instead, he wanted to find a way to blend these genres together to create something totally new—giving rise to his 2022 debut full-length album, “It Was Fun While It Lasted.” The genre-bending sound wasn’t the only chance Sueco was taking on “It Was Fun While It Lasted;” he was also opening himself up in a way he never had previously, making it his most vulnerable body of work.

“I made about half of the record before I went sober,” Sueco says. “I would wake up, black out, go to the studio, talk about my feelings and make a song. The writing process was obviously a little different after I got sober, because I wasn’t getting super fucked up. I wanted this album to be the ending chapter of being lost, not knowing what was going on and being fucked up all the time. I wanted to look back on it and not think, ‘It was terrible and I’m past it,’ but be able to accept it for what it is. The album is a story of dark to light and death to life.”

Photos by Jimmy Fontaine

Photos by Jimmy Fontaine

Sueco got into music as a way to work through some of his issues, particularly the loss of his mother to breast cancer at 15. He’s doing the same thing on “It Was Fun While It Lasted” by openly discussing his battle with substance abuse. Creating music serves as a coping mechanism for Sueco, helping him work things out, but the impact goes far beyond himself. The honest way he documents his struggles resonates deeply with his fanbase, letting others who are battling addiction know they’re not alone. Many of them have shown their connection through tattoos in his honor.

“It feels like I’m doing my job right,” Sueco says. “For a lot of these people, whatever I’ve done is so impactful to them that they feel compelled to get me or something related to me permanently on their bodies. My whole purpose in doing music is to help people and these tattoos reaffirm that, which is sick.”

With a deluxe version of “It Was Fun While It Lasted” and a headlining tour in the works, there will be ample opportunities for Sueco to observe even more fan tattoos in the flesh. He’s come a long way from picking up street cigarettes and through it all, he has managed to overcome the fears that once “Paralyzed” him, is far from being a “Loser,” and can finally say, “It’s Going Good!”

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