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This is Donrico De Castro, the Yellow Master

Donrico De Castro was exposed to music early as a child, helping his father at his DJ gigs and singing to the soulful styles of Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Barry Manilow, Tom Jones, and Engelbert Humperdinck. With this musical upbringing and encouragement from his parents, Donrico began performing locally in Sacramento.

Also known as the "Yellow Master”—a name he was given in middle school that reflected his favorite color and the yellow clothes he'd often wear—the Filipinx American singer-songwriter and tenor ukulele player hopes to inspire people to create music, the same way other Filipino artists motivated him.

“I feel like representation is very important. I want to be that for someone else. I want to make someone feel that when they see me out there performing, they could do it too,” he said.

Donrico’s songwriting journey began in high school, a time he refers to as the “renaissance of the Filipino Youtubers.”

“Jeremy Passion, Gabe Bondoc, AJ Rafael. They were creating all these beautiful songs and expressing emotions,” Donrico said. “If they didn’t lay down the foundation for me, then I wouldn’t be able to have started writing the way I do.”

Musician Donrico De Castro with his ukulele named Tsumugi on January 28, 2023 in Sacramento. The instrument was handpainted by artist and photographer Nia Onit. Photos: Ashley Villanueva @lustingforlight

Donrico views songwriting as documenting stories, events, and aspirations to share with the community. He utilizes creative metaphors in his original song “Good Will” to demonstrate the hope of finding love again:

“Old clothes/Find new lovers/You’ve known no other/Type of love.”

“The song talks about those moments when you feel like you’re secondhand and won’t find love and compares it to going out and getting secondhand clothes from a thrift store. It’s old clothes, finding new lovers,” Donrico said.

The central message Donrico hopes to convey to his listeners is the emotion of each song.

“If it really resonates with the person, then they’re going to really appreciate the song on a different level,” Donrico said.

Donrico also serves as the Coordinator for the Sacramento Songwriter Circle, a diverse group of songwriters of all genres that supports original music. Community members are welcome to participate and meet every first and third Wednesday of the month at the Library of MusicLandria, a nonprofit organization with various programs, such as a lending library of music equipment.

“Songwriter Circle was founded to create a space where people can share amongst their peers. If you don’t know how to write a song, that’s great because it’s a great place to learn. Everyone’s very welcoming,” he said.

Donrico has a few projects in production and is currently working on a song with Raindrop Studios, Crystal, and Rainer Rose, who sang backup vocals and helped him master his song “Goodwill.” His upcoming project is based on the Hayao Miyazaki animation, Howl’s Moving Castle.

Listeners have much to look forward to in 2023. Donrico invites his supporters to continue to support him and other artists.

“I believe in the power of community. The power of a very welcoming community goes a long way. Go out and support your friends and your local artist. Go to their shows, buy their art, commission them for your projects, watch their films, see their comedy shows,” Donrico said. “Support can be as little as sharing one of their posts or songs to your stories or commenting something uplifting.”

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