Cynthia Castro
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Ever hear of a song that takes you on a journey?

By CECILE SAN AGUSTIN
Reporter

PEQUANNOCK - Ever hear of a song that takes you on a journey? For 23-year-old Cynthia Castro, doing exactly that is where she hopes her music will touch listeners. The former music teacher at Holy Spirit School here is an emerging Latin singer and pop star who will be releasing her first album next January. Born in Garfield, Castro said, "My songs have a message, have a journey. I want people to know through my music, 'Hey, I want to take you on a trip.' "

This Saturday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m., parishioners from across the diocese will be able to experience "that journey" at a benefit concert at Holy Spirit School where she will be performing classic standards and original songs from her debut album to be released in January.

Filippini Sister Marie Antonelli, principal at Holy Spirit said, "I'm very happy to have Cynthia return for this benefit performance. I feel she is a very good influence and role model for our children. The fact she is coming to do a benefit program for the school, I feel she believes in Catholic education and that she wants to see it flourish."

Like many successful singers, Castro's first audience was her parish congregation at Our Lady of Mount Virgin in Garfield where she joined the church choir when she was 10. A product of Catholic school education at both elementary and high school level, she learned a lot about music and enjoyed the participation in being part of a choir.

"I loved music since I was eight years old and I always had the ambition, this striving to sing," said Castro, a first generation born American whose parents came from Lima, Peru.

At 14, she became a cantor at her parish in which she said, "gave me great leadership, great responsibility and the confidence to sing."

Her dream of becoming a professional singer came to fruition as a teen-ager. During one Sunday at Mass while singing, a parishioner, Devon SanGiovanni, who was a children's songwriter who worked for Verex Entertainment, asked Castro to work on a children's project called "Diggity Devon." It was through that meeting that Castro got an audition and was signed by Verex Entertainment to manage her music career.

While Castro is emerging as a Latin pop star, she always keeps a sense of her faith within her. "Being a Catholic has helped me a lot because it helps create from faith - the music the honestly, the truth, the passion, the vulnerability," she said. "Sometimes being an artist, an upcoming artist and beginning musician - a performer out there in the real world requires vulnerability and a lot of passion for the music."

An American's Idols

Castro said there are many musicians who have inspired her such as late salsa legend Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan, Bono of rock group U2, Celine Dion, Shakira, Beverly Sills and Christina Aguilera.

Since graduating high school, she has been training professionally with concert pianist and artist developer, Vera Tisheff, who trained recording artist Vanessa Carlton and Grammy Award-winning musical director Paul Bagaev.

"The first two years allowed me to grow up physically and mentally. I just got my 'feet wet' about the business learning the fundamentals of theory, music and performing," said Castro.

This last year, she has been performing all over the U.S. including the Miami Fashion Week Awards Show and at Madison Square Garden in New York to sing the National Anthem, where she was the first Latino woman to do so. During the summer she has also traveled to Italy to promote her music.

For her album to be released next January, Castro describes her music as new wave Latin pop with many different styles such as classical and samba along with some reggaeton (a mix of reggae and Spanish beats) and a bit of rock.

About her music, Castro who also plays piano said, "It has all these different styles of elements so it allows the music to evolve and create something different."

Giving back to the world

As a music teacher at Holy Spirit, Castro brought a great sense of music appreciation to the fifth- through eighth- grade students. She left Holy Spirit to pursue her music career full time.

Sister Antonelli said, "You do need more people especially young people that want to give back. When I hear young people like Cynthia giving back, I always feel I'm speaking with someone with character, that understands life and appreciates the gifts that God gave them."

While at Holy Spirit, she taught the children about different kinds of music from Beethoven and Bach to Christina Aguilera and U2. She even taught them how to sing in Italian.

"They had a spring concert and they sang an Italian aria from the 16th century. It was really cool because it was different and they (the audience) wouldn't expect something like that."

In addition, Castro taught the students some very important life lessons. "I said to them the 'name of the game is confiden - The Beacon


Last spring, Cynthia Castro was teaching music to fifth-
through eighth-graders at Holy Spirit School in Pequannock.
September 22, 2007
Page: ENT01

Cynthia Castro to perform at school where she taught
JIM BOHEN DAILY RECORD

PEQUANNOCK -- Last spring, Cynthia Castro was teaching music to fifth-
through eighth-graders at Holy Spirit School in Pequannock. Tonight she
returns in another guise -- rising Latin pop singer -- as she and some
friends perform in a benefit concert for the school.
"We're excited about having the performance here," said Sister Marie
Antonelli, the school principal. "I feel that she was an excellent teacher,
and she's equally excellent in her performances."

Castro, 23, is completing an album of songs in Spanish and English for
release in 2008. Some of her songs can be heard online at
www.myspace.com/cynthiacastro.

"The music is very different," she said. "It has all different kinds of
elements: classical, hot beat, guitar, lots of strings, really different
kinds of harmony, but of course the voice leads it."

Also performing tonight are singer-songwriter Patrick Hudson and comedian
Nicole Briglio. Backing musicians include guitarist Mario Guini, who has
worked with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. The show also includes three
dancers.

"I'm just thrilled because it's going to be a benefit for the school, and we
have a lot of surprises," she said.

Castro's parents are from Lima, Peru. She was born in New Jersey and grew up
in Garfield, where she sang in the choir at Our Lady of Mount Virgin Church
from age 9.

"I just love singing," she said. "I remember singing since I was 5 years
old. It was something that fulfilled me inside."

When she was 14, the pastor hired her to be the full-time cantor, or leader
of song. She sang at every weekend Mass, every wedding and funeral.
Meanwhile, as a student at Immaculate Conception High School in Lodi, she
was president of the vocal ensemble and a member of the student council
executive board.

"That was a good four years," she said.

At 16, she was approached at church one day by a parishioner who was also a
songwriter associated with Verex Entertainment, a management and production
company in Englewood.

"You have the voice of an angel," he told her.

He introduced her to the company founder, Alexander Svezia, who became a
mentor. She also began studying with concert pianist Vera Tisheff. At 18 the
company signed her to a contract with the goal of making an album.

"My parents were a little bit iffy," she said. "I said, 'Mom, Dad, believe
me, I know I can do this. Just trust me.'"

The last five years of preparation have begun to pay off. Her song "Noche De
Verano" was nominated for Best Latin Song at the sixth annual Independent
Music Awards. She performed at the Presidential Inauguration's Latino Gala
in Washington, D.C., and sang "The Star Spangled Banner" at Madison Square
Garden for the New York Knicks' Latin night in 2006 and 2007.

Recently she received the 2007 Celebrity Style in Music Award from Miami
International Fashion Week, where she performed at the closing night's gala
runway show.

"I was nervous," she said. "Oh my God, the runway's long. I'm like, 'Don't
trip, don't trip.'"

Castro teaches voice and piano, and through a friend at Holy Spirit, she
learned of the opening there for a part-time music teacher.

"She was a role model for our children when she was here," Sister Marie
said. "She tried to instill in them a confidence, trying to bring out
various virtues as she taught them. Coming herself from a Catholic school,
she knew what it was all about. We were sad to lose her as a teacher, but
we're happy to have her as a friend."

Jim Bohen can be reached at (973) 428-6632 or jbohen@gannett.com.

BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURING CYNTHIACASTRO Tonight at 8 Holy Spirit School 330
Newark Pompton Turnpike, Pequannock Tickets $12; students and children $8
Call (973) 835-5680 www.cynthiacastro.com


Copyright (c) Daily Record. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the
permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc. - Daily Record


Before you find out who Cynthia Castro is... I just want to say that a few weeks back, I went to Camaradas in El Barrio, NY to see a new Latin Jazz band called San Juan Hill perform. Before they took the stage I saw this breath taking beauty take the stage, and for a moment I looked away but her voice and style quickly took control of the room (and me). She is very versatile and talented ... she is already a star in my eyes.
George Torres
SofritoForYourSoul.com - Sofrito For Your Soul


Former city resident looks for fame as a singer

By Ed Virgin, Staff Writer

Former Garfield resident Cynthia Castro, 22 began singing in the choir at Our Lady of Mount Virgin Church in the city when she was 5 years old.

A few years later after she became the church cantor, a singer-songwriter heard her sing at the church and told her "I know someone who will work with you."

At the time, Castro was searching for a vocal coach to help her perfect her pitch and master her melodies. She waited the whole summer to call, but when she finally did and get an audition, it changed her life.

She met her current mentor, Vera Tisheff, a classical trained pianist who has produced work for the likes of Vanessa Carlton, Duran Duran and Tony Bennett, at the audition. Since then, Tisheff has been teaching Castro different techniques five hours a day.

Each day is a separate lesson, whether its studying music created in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries, or learning how to hold a microphone. But for a person with such lofty ambitions, Castro realizes the work is worth it.
"It's five hours a day nonstop, but I love it," she said. "At the end of the day, who is Cynthia Castro? It has to be authentic."

The last few tracks on her debut album, which will be released in English and Spanish, are being worked on and Castro anticipates a release by the end of the year. Right now she is getting ready to do more touring ad promoting at radio stations. She is going to Europe this summer and then will get ready to form a band and begin performing with them.

Castro said her album will be a complete original, something people have never heard before. The music will mix soul and classic Latin sounds with "a modern urban attitude and twisting it a little bit," she said.

Castro is the first generation from her family to be born in this country after her parent emigrated from Lima, Peru.
"Coming out as first generation I really want to promote and honor the American culture as well as the Latina culture," Castro said.

She grew up in Garfield until she was around 14 years old. She was involved with the YMCA and library and said she loved the Christmas tree lighting every year. Last year she was the featured guest at the tree lighting.

In one of the songs on her upcoming record, "Noche de Verano," Castro sings about her summer night memories, which include evenings riding her bike at 20th Century Field. The song was recently nominated for Best Latin song at the Independent Music awards.

"Garfield gave me opportunities to be involved, keep active," she said. "As soon as my career starts taking off I really want to give back to Garfield."
Castro is nothing if not ambitious. Her ultimate goal is, she said, "to stand next to the greats." She wants to be on the level of Celine Dion in America and Shakira in the Latin market.

"My dream is to be at the Grammy's and Latin Grammy's," she said.

While she hasn't quite reached that big of a stage yet, she has performed at numerous locations. She was the first Latina to perform the "Star Spangled Banner" at Madison Square Garden and sang at the Presidential Inauguration Latino Gala. She also recently performed a show at hr alma mater, Immaculate Conception High School in Lodi. - Community News


Cynthia Castro will have a little extra spring in her step when she takes the stage Saturday night.

By Jeff Cummins
Staff Writer

Cynthia Castro will have a little extra spring in her step when she takes the stage Saturday night.

Castro has been in the spotlight before. She was the first Latina to sing the National Anthem at Madison Square Garden for a Knicks' game. She performed at the Presidential Inauguration's Latino Gala, and also at smaller performances, like the Latin Waterfront Festival in Elizabeth. But Saturday at Here's to the Arts will mark a new chapter, as Castro presents her own music live for the first time, performing an acoustic set with a piano, vocals and a guitar.

It's safe to say Castro will be just a little more excited than usual on Saturday.

Castro has done everything the right way. She's been trained vocally by Vera Tisheff, who trained Vanessa Carlton and Duran Duran. She also brings a mix that's very popular, singing songs in both English and Spanish. The challenge now is to move from being a successful cover performer to being an artist who excels at performing her own songs, hence the additional adrenaline she's feeling these days.

"I'm very excited because, in the past few years of my development, I've been doing mostly covers," said Castro, who has covered songs by Celia Cruz and Gloria Estefan. "When I was doing those covers, I was able to learn so much about Latin music and how these really great performers performed these songs, and now, my first time out the door, I'll be doing all originals, which is very, very vulnerable for me because it's new and people have never heard it before, and I have to give 100 percent to the audience all the time. It's an amazing feeling."

Castro's performance will also give the audience a sneak peek at her work. She'll be releasing an album made up of songs in both English and Spanish this summer and she wiklk perform some of those songs during her show at Here's to the Arts.

"My goal is to create something very original, like the great artists have done in the past. Take Celia Cruz for example," Castro said. "She was the queen of salsa. She made it and she owned it. Gloria Estefan had her first Latin pop hit when she was 24. I'm trying to create something that's going to last for a very, very long time. I love music. I love creating. The most important thing the audience wants to hear is quality and I definitely want the audience and the world to hear quality."

"I almost feel like I'm in a race and I have to get over these hurdles to get to the finish line," Castro said. "I'm almost at the finish line of this point in the process. This show is going to be a very vulnerable, bare, naked show. In the past, when I would perform covers, it would be with tracks and I'd have dancers or a backup singer or I'd bring some extra musicians to play, so this is going to be a different experience for me."

Castro is very confident, having put in all the work necessary to succeed. Still, she speaks of performing and feeling "vulnerable," something she said is a key to original music.

"I'm very confident in what I do. I chose to do this when I was 18," Castro said. "I've been in training ever since and I wouldn't change any of that. You see Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera and Madonna. In the beginning of their careers, they sang in front of 20 or 50 people. Now they're playing before 10,000, 50,000. That creates a lot of vulnerability and that's what people want. People want to see the artist allow them to come in, to take them on a journey. That's what music is: you go on a journey with someone. You feel their message. You feel their work. You feel their sound. You feel that emotion that they're feeling at that moment. For me, I have to give my soul, my heart and my love."

You get the feeling talking with Castro that she's on the verge of something big and that's one of the attractive aspects of seeing a performance at a venue like Here's to the Arts, which won't hold hundreds or thousands of people. It's an intimate venue that allows the listener to join the world of the artist, if only for a few hours.

Castro will perform one show Saturday at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact Here's to the Arts or log on to www.cynthiacastro.com.

- Essex Journal


Discography

Noche De Verano (single)
Tu Me Enganaste (single)
Olvidandome (single)
Chicas Feat. Brigante (single)

Photos

Bio

ENGLISH
Cynthia is fast becoming the premier female artist in Latin music. Like many children of immigrant parents, she considers herself both Latin and American. Her Latin side gives her music incredible passion an emotion, while her American side gives her the freedom to develop her natural talent and pursue her artistic dreams.

Cynthia got her start singing in the children's choir of her church and by age 17 was the Parish Cantor. She began to perform at various events in the New York area, including the EPIC Foundation Gala to promote autism awareness and the New Jersey Pops Orchestra. She was signed by her current record and management label and has developed into a featured solo artist.

Cynthia’s dynamic talent is the talk of the Latin music world. Her sensual sound, five octave vocal range and original music make her a Latina performer with undeniable crossover appeal for today’s multi-lingual Latin-American audience. She has guts, passion, beauty and a voice to propel her into the hearts of all audiences.

She has performed throughout the U.S. on TV and at live events including the 2007 Miami International Fashion Week Awards Show, the National Latino Literacy Festival, the Presidential Inauguration's Latino Gala, the Calle Ocho Festival in Miami, Univision’s “Estrellas Al Despertar,” Telemundo’s “El Noticiero” and ABC 6 Philadelphia “Panorama,” and more.

Cynthia was honored to be the first Latina ever to sing the “Star Spangled Banner” at Madison Square Garden in New York City for the New York Knicks Latin night “Una Noche de Ritmo” in 2006 and 2007. She was honored to receive the 2007 Celebrity Style in Music Award from Miami International Fashion Week. In addition, her song “Noche De Verano” was nominated for Best Latin Song for the 6th Annual 2007 IMA’s– Independent Music Awards.

Her talent has attracted world-class performers to her debut album, including Grammy Award winning percussionist Cyro Baptista (Paul Simon, Sting), bassist Francisco Centeno (Aretha Franklin, Thalia, Whitney Houston), guitarist Mario Guini (Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez), guitarist Ricardo Ramos (Obie Bermudez, Rob Thomas) and trumpeter Hector Colon (Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco). She is classically trained by renowned concert pianist and artist developer Vera Tisheff; who trained multi-platinum recording artist Vanessa Carlton and Grammy Award winning musical director Paul Bogaev.

Cynthia is poised to be her generation’s pop Latina music sensation.

WWW.CYNTHIACASTRO.COM

Management:
Verex Entertainment
50 E. Palisade Ave, Suite 211
Englewood, NJ 07631
(201) 567-8815 / info@verexinc.com

SPANISH
Cynthia Castro rapidamente esta convirtiendose en una artista novedosa de la Musica Latina. Como muchos jovenes de padres inmigrantes, Cynthia se considera Latina y Americana. Su lado latino le da una pasion incredible y emocion por la musica , mientras que su lado Americano le provee la libertad para desarrollar su talento natural y de perserguir sus sueños artisticos.

Su talento dinamico ya es del hablar dentro del mundo de la musica latina. Su sensualidad y su registro de voz de cinco octavas y la originalidad de su musica la hacen una presentadora latina que sin duda alguna lograra el traspaso del doble language de la audiencia Latino-Americana. Ella tiene las agallas, pasion, belleza y una voz que impulsa su musica dentro de los corazones latinos.

Cynthia comenzo cantando en el coro de su iglesia y subio como la espuma para convertirse en la vocalista principal de su parroquia. Ella ha sido presentada a varios eventos en el area de New York incluyendo La Fundacion de Gala Epic para promover la advertencia del audismo y tambien invitada por la orquesta Pop de New Jersey.

Ella se presento en Univision " Estrellas al Despertar", Telemundo " El Noticiero", y en el programa de cable "La Nueva Ola", Diamante.Otras presentaciones en vivo que incluyen El Festival Latino en la Florida "La VIVA Broward, la inaguracion Presidencial de La Gala Latina, Festival de Miami en la Calle Ocho, estuvo tambien en la 5th Celebracion de Nuestra Herencia Hispana en Pennsauken, New Jersey. En adiccion Cynthia tuvo el honor de ser la primera hispana en cantar el himno National "Star Spangled Banner" en Madison Square Garden y tambien interpreto " O Canada" para los New York Knicks de Noche Latina "Una Noche de Ritmo en Marzo 2006. Su cancion "Noche De Verano" fue nombrado para Mejor Cancion Latina para el sexto Anual 2007 IMA– Los Premios Independientes de la Musica.

Su talento ha atraido figuras del mundo clasico de su album, incluyendo el ganador de Premio Grammy percuccionista Cyro Batista(Paul Simmon,Sting), Base, Francisco Centeno(Aretha Franklin, Thalia, Whitney Houston), guitarrista Mario Guini (Marc Anthony,Jennifer Lopez), guitarrista Ricardo Ramos (Obie Bermudez,Rob Thomas) and trompetista Hector Colon (Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco. Ella esta entrenada clasicamente por la re