Arts

Jacques Kuno ’20 Embraces Community and Family with Music

O.Tung/The Phillipian

Jacques Kuno ’20 cites his community and family as a main source of influence for his singing.

From a young age, Jacques Kuno ’20 has loved performing. In fourth grade, when Kuno visited a restaurant with his family and happened to have his ukulele with him, he knew he had to perform.

“I had my ukulele, and there was this guy sitting on the stands of this restaurant we were at, and he let me go up and play for the restaurant for like ten minutes, and I thought that was really cool. It made an impression because I was really young,” said Kuno.

Encouraged by his parents and the people around him, Kuno began to pursue singing when he was in kindergarten, joining several choral groups and choirs. Since then, singing has been a large part of his life.

Kuno said, “Singing was kind of just ingrained. My parents always thought I was a great singer and encouraged me to pursue that. I started taking guitar lessons and started using guitar in conjunction with my singing to do a lot of performing through middle school in coffeehouse kind of stuff, which was fun, and that spurred me to keep going.”

Kuno said his parents helped him develop his love for performing by pushing him to sing for friends and guests.

“My parents are the kind of people who are super nice and have lots of friends from far-reaching places, and they’re mostly friends from college or high school, and they host people a lot. Whenever they had people over at the house, one of the main attractions is me getting to perform for everyone. They’re always like, ‘Jacques, you got to play!’ and I say, ‘Alright, I’ll play!’” said Kuno.

In fifth grade, Kuno started beatboxing by imitating techno music, beat drops, and other sounds he heard on the radio.

“I’ve always been very rhythmic, and I think beatboxing is a way in which I can exercise that rhythmic affinity. I love having the ability to have my mind sync with my mouth and beatboxing is a way in which I can do that… I try to pick a lot of different knacks for different talents that may seem useless but make me more interesting as a person or help me in some way,” said Kuno.

Although Kuno enjoys the technical aspects of singing, he is also largely drawn by the social and communal elements of performing.

“The community is a big reason of why I sing. When I go to social gatherings, they were just kind of chill, but when I pick up a guitar and start to perform everyone joins together, and it sort of unites us all. I think that’s really nice and is a definitely much preferable to not having that because it adds so much to parties and things like that. I make a lot of friends that way because I can sing and beatbox. It’s for sure helped me out [in] my first couple weeks here,” said Kuno.

Since arriving at Andover this fall as a new Upper, Kuno has become a part of Yorkies, Keynotes, and Fidelio, and he looks forward to singing every night as well as performing at Coffeehouse and Grasshopper. According to Kuno, he also hopes to perform at various restaurants downtown on the weekends or at any gigs he can find.

Shree Menon ’20, a friend of Kuno and fellow Yorkies member, said, “He has a very, very strong voice with amazing projection. He has a very wide range and can sing a lot of parts, and his personality blends in really well with the music. You can see that, and he’s very comfortable in talking to anybody. I think his nature will shine through in his singing.”