Cassidy Guerrero sees a desire among the young people in Gilroy to express themselves through music, yet the opportunities to do so in the city are minimal.
Guerrero, the artist known as 1 A.M., hopes to one day create a dedicated space in Gilroy, where young people from throughout the city will come and participate in a place where their talents are encouraged while learning new techniques to bolster their skills.
“There’s opportunity in Gilroy,” she said. “Not just for us as local artists, but for local youth. Youth love music, regardless of the genre. A lot of them like to explore and express themselves.”
The Gilroy native is looking to lead by example. During her time in high school and college, Guerrero taught herself how to produce and engineer music while writing her own lyrics.
Now, seven years later, Guerrero has recently completed her 17th studio project, and with the Covid-19 pandemic halting her live performances, she has been looking at ways to further evolve as an artist, such as creating her own clothing.
Describing her sound as hip-hop and R&B, Guerrero said she is beginning to explore her singing in her work, adding that she is inspired by many different artists and genres of music.
Her latest release is “Window,” a seven-track album sponsored by the Santa Cruz Arts Council that chronicles her struggles of growing up in a home with a single mother.
Guerrero said she wanted to share her story to show others in similar situations that they are not alone.
“A lot of people are struggling,” she said. “It has become more apparent now in 2020. I thought it was important to share with my fans and the rest of the world that we are all dealing with it.”
Born and raised in Gilroy, Guerrero said she “wasn’t the most popular kid in school,” and couldn’t spend much time with her single mother who was busy working to support the family.
So, Guerrero turned to music, which had always been a part of her life since performing in choir as an elementary school student. She said she began taking it more seriously during her junior year of high school when she joined a breakdancing group, started writing poetry and taught herself music production.
A 2013 graduate of Gilroy High School, Guerrero earned an associate’s degree in digital media from Gavilan College, and is currently pursuing another degree at Cabrillo College.
Izaiaz Barrera has been helping Guerrero expand her network and get her music out to more listeners. Barrera said networking with other artists at shows throughout the Central Coast has been critical in getting the word out that Gilroy is home to talented musicians such as Guerrero.
Guerrero said many local artists have helped her along the way, including Reckless, Young Javie, J. Khan and Jay King, among others.
“She’s continuing to work every day,” Barrera said. “We want to let the people of Gilroy know that there’s an artist that’s actively trying to bring positive change.”
Guerrero hopes to inspire other young women to pursue their passions and not be intimidated.
“I’m a minority, I’m a woman doing all this independently,” she said. “I encourage other young women whether they are interested in music or art, just pursue it.”
To listen to and purchase Guerrero’s music, visit iam1am.com.