By Genesis Miranda
La Habra Journal
La Habra may seem like a small city, but great things can come out of a close community. For Juan Pablo Castillo, known by his artist name JP Castillo, La Habra was a major stepping stone and a great memory for his singing career.
Castillo came to the United States from Costa Rica when he was only 8 years old. He and his family moved around quite a bit through cities like Southgate, Norwalk, Paramount and finally La Habra.
Coming from a musical family, it’s no wonder why Castillo has a love for music and the stage. His mother was a singer and his father was a drummer.
Growing up in a religious family, Castillo was trying to figure out his own path. In school he tended to be timid and shy. “I was trying to develop my relationship with God,” Castillo said.
It wasn’t until Junior year of high school, at La Habra High School, where Castillo met David Montoya. Montoya became the choir teacher and one of Castillo’s most memorable encounters.
Prior to Montoya, Castillo said there was no established choir class or program. The summer of his sophomore year the school offered vocal classes. But it wasn’t until Montoya came to the school that a choir program began.
When the choir was formed, Montoya wanted to create a group of student leaders, which Castillo formed part of. “[Montoya] is a very happy person, he treated us all as individuals,” said Castillo.
During one of the many competitions Castillo attended with the La Habra High School choir, he ended up being the only male vocal. And much to his surprise he won the award for “best male solo.”
It was there at La Habra High School where Castillo developed relationships with Montoya and his classmates; and he learned vocal skills that would stay with him until this day.
“I am very grateful for that and [Montoya] opened up a whole new world for me,” said Castillo.
After high school Castillo attended Fullerton College for a couple of years, first as an instrumental major and then as a vocal major.
He formed part of the “Cabana Boys” as their drummer and later as a vocalist.
Performing with the “Cabana Boys” Castillo said he loved the energy he received from the audiences.
Although he ended up dropping out of college, Castillo’s opportunities as a singer soon followed.
After accompanying a friend to an audition at Disneyland, Castillo ended up auditioning himself and landed a job offer from Disney. It was his first professional job offer and he knew he could not let this go.
Unfortunately at that moment, Castillo was undocumented and waiting on his paperwork to arrive. He explained his situation to his potential employers and thought he would have to let it go.
Luckily all of his documentation and paperwork arrived a day before he would have had to sign paperwork for the job offer and he landed the job with Disneyland. He formed part of the High School Musical cast as the main singer and as Aladdin.
“I’m a bold person. It took a lot but it was a great experience for me,” said Castillo. “Passion must be converted into discipline.”
After that experience, Castillo went on to Osaka, Japan to work for Universal Studios and stayed there for about a year in a home studio he created for himself.
He also traveled to Europe to participate in a Michael Jackson tribute show called “Thriller Live” in London.
“I never lost my focus,” Castillo said.
Soon after, Castillo received a call from a friend who said he would be forming part of a Jackson reunion tour and that he had recommended Castillo as a vocalist.
He later received a call from Jackie Jackson himself who then invited Castillo to form part of the team.
They toured Japan, Canada, the United States and parts of Europe.
“It was an experience I will never forget,” said Castillo. “I can’t even say it was a dream come true because I never even dreamt this would happen.”
Other experiences Castillo has had are touring with artists like Prince Royce and Jennifer Lopez.
Castillo has since then landed a record deal with the label Crossover and has released a single titled “Tu Ausencia” featuring fellow artist Gotay.
He is currently working on his second single to be released sometime in the next few months and his EP album which he hopes to release later this year.
“I am an artist that wants to inspire people,” Castillo said. “Inspire all the young people to reach their goals. We all have a purpose.”
JP Castillo’s music can be found on social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as @JPCastilloMusic.