Miguel Lucero has to sing.
Even at 11:30 at night, when he’s the only person awake in his family of nine at their Andersonville home, the 14-year-old Lucero can be heard belting out tunes of Frankie Lymon and other performers.
“I think music is a part of who Miguel is,” said his mom, Susy. “He feels it and can’t help but let it out. Sometimes when Miguel is belting out a song at the top of his lungs, he needs a gentle reminder that although I love his singing, it’s 11:30 p.m. and he probably needs to keep things down. He tends to forget because he loves it so much.”
Lucero, a freshman focusing on Media Arts animation at The Chicago Academy for the Arts, has been a singer and musician since he could walk. He is one of seven siblings in the Cielito Lindo family band, which has upcoming performances all over Chicago, including in the city, plus suburban Berwyn, Addison, Carol Stream, Frankfort, Wauconda, Arlington Heights and numerous other places. With the band, Lucero sings and plays the trumpet – the lone brass player in Cielito Lindo. In the past, he played the guitar.
The band has performed the national anthem at Chicago Bulls games, and Lucero has performed the song at the United Center twice by himself as well, including once this season.
“I love to sing and I just love to perform,” said Lucero, who is the second oldest of his siblings.
He also loves animation. With only his iPhone, he has created numerous animations, including “Battle of the Seasons,” which won “Best Design” at the recent Media Arts Winter Juried Festival.
“I love using my creative skills in music and transitioning that to animation,” Lucero said. “I’m getting to do all this really creative stuff.”
Chicago Academy for the Arts Media Arts Chair Jess Meliza said it’s “so exciting to see a young person who is otherwise so involved with his family in a creative pursuit forge his own way in the arts.”
“Miguel came to us ready to experiment, expand and learn a new discipline,” said Meliza, of Ukrainian Village. “He has soaked up a great deal of technique and theory in his first year.
“Miguel's family is very close and supportive of one another. He very clearly loves spending time with them … but his time at The Academy has allowed him to blossom and become an independent artist.”
Lucero said balancing school and commitments to his family band can be tricky, but he’s been able to do it. On road trips to performances – where the family crams all nine members and their equipment into one Chevy Suburban, Lucero does homework while sitting in the middle row sandwiched by two siblings.
He loves having six siblings and describes living in a house of nine as “never boring.”
“I always have someone to talk to,” he said.
He also feels at home at The Academy, which has fostered his creative passions. Susy Lucero said the school is the “perfect fit” for her son.
“When it was time to choose a high school, the animation major at The Chicago Academy for the Arts was the perfect fit for Miguel since he was always interested in drawing, storytelling and movement in animation,” she said. “Once we met the faculty, staff and students, we were absolutely elated about the possibility of our son having a place where he would feel accepted, supported and encouraged in pursuing an education in animation. It has been an absolute dream come true to hear our son come home every day from school thanking us for sending him to The Academy.”