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Singer turns around life and music

June 05, 2005|by CHRIS COPLEY

chrisc@herald-mail.com

Sometimes an artist does not fully come to life until they let old ways die.

For Arturo Castro, the death of the old ways nearly killed him as well.

"I had friends who were into alcohol, selling guns, drugs. It's a scary feeling - to the point that I put the gun I carried to my head," Castro said. "(God) called me: 'Arturo.' No one called me by my full name. I fell down on my face."

From that moment in 1999, Castro's life turned in a new direction. A recording artist from the age of 14, he began writing, performing and recording Christian praise music. His just-released CD, "Real Love," caps six years of new dedication and new music.

Castro's main message: It's never too late to get right with God.

"I got into certain things I regret, but it gave me perspective," he said. "I really believe people in my community experience these things and think God won't forgive them. But he will."

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Now 37, Castro has been ministering with his music for six years. His wife, Wenda, has been a full partner. They perform and record as Brother Art & Destiny. On the CD, Wenda Castro recorded a prayer, sang background vocals on many tracks and sang a English-Spanish bilingual duet, "Te Amo," with her husband.

The Castros have four children - three boys, 17, 12 and 10, and a 9-year-old daughter. The family moved from Brooklyn to Gaithersburg, Md., and eventually to Hagerstown in part to provide a better life for their kids.

The other attraction they found in Hagerstown was a home church. The Castros have been active in the praise band of Bethel Assembly of God on Wilson Boulevard in Hagers-town.

"Real Love" features a variety of musical genres - rap, praise music and spoken word over original music. Castro wrote most of the words and music; other contributors were his wife, his sister Dawana Castro and brother Johnnie L.R. Castro.

Some of the songs on "Real Love" were originally recorded for an album released in 2000. They were remixed for this CD by Fred Petit, a Frenchman living and producing music in Gaithersburg. Petit produced "Real Love," which has a professional sheen.

Castro's influences are diverse. Raised Pentacostal, he left the faith in his teens when his questions about life were not adequately answered by church leaders. One person he did connect with was John Green, a teenage drummer who opened Castro's eyes to a wide spectrum of music, especially rock 'n' roll.

"He introduced me to Sting, Mick Jagger, the Rolling Stones. I never forgot that," Castro said.

With his album and ministry of music, Castro hopes to be an influence himself.

"I can't regret where I've come from," he said. "We are where we're supposed to be. I believe in God's timing."

Copies of "Real Love" are available from DEG Records in Hagerstown. To hear samples or to order copies of the CD, go to degrecordsinc.com on the Web.

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