Francesca Cayla Castro is a guitarist and vocalist from Chicago, Illinois. She is currently studying at Berklee College of Music with a full scholarship and is double majoring in Performance and Contemporary Writing and Production. While being nominated by the Guitar Faculty as a Guitar Department Achievement awardee, she has also been selected to be in Berklee’s most prestigious ensembles including the Terence Blanchard XTET and the Tower of Power ensemble. She has also worked with Jazz legends including Terri Lyne Carrington, Nicholas Payton, and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Her debut EP "Day by Day" featuring her original compositions is out now on all platforms.
She has performed her own shows in the Chicago area including the Chicago Jazz Showcase, 210 Restaurant and Bar, Buddy Guy’s Legends, Uncommon Ground and other venues. She has also performed in Cleveland, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Nashville, and Honolulu.
Ever since I was a little girl, I remember my parents playing music around the house. While they are not professional musicians, my dad plays guitar and my mom sings. According to them, they knew I had something special when I was 3 years old and started to sing along to songs in tune. One day after being inspired by my mom, I told her that I wanted to sing too. Being the cool parents that they are, they got us a karaoke machine.
At the time, I thought this karaoke machine was the coolest thing ever! My parents started to notice my love for singing and had me start performing - all while I had just lost my two front teeth. My two older sisters also introduced me to their favorite bands and we would watch music videos together all the time. Being inspired by these artists, I knew I wanted to be a rockstar.
My dad taught me guitar and I would listen to songs and try to play it back on the guitar, learning songs from the Beatles to Jackson 5. Fast-forward to middle school where I would join orchestra and band (I played the violin and clarinet). In high school, I was in the jazz band. I would audition for the high school jazz ensembles around Illinois and would get into the top groups. I also received multiple scholarships to attend music summer camps and won competitions for guitar and vocals during my senior year.
Surrounding myself with talented musicians made me realize that music is the right path for me. Music is the best way to communicate how I feel and something people can relate to. I strive to create music that anyone can enjoy while still having a connection to the soul.