ORLANDO, Fla. — Jorge Rayo seems at first glance like a happy 18-year-old wearing a chipper grin and glasses who’s passionate about music with a David Bowie poster hanging on his wall.
He keeps a sunny disposition despite what life has thrown at him with a diagnosis of osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, that he received in mid-2021. Since then, Rayo has spent countless hours at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, fighting through painful symptoms and chemotherapy.
Before he was sent home for hospice care, Rayo was able to realize a lifelong dream thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Using his artist name “RAYO,” which means lightning in Spanish, Rayo recorded a nine-song musical album based on the King Arthur story.
“One of the songs on the album is called ‘Eve’ and it’s about unrequited love. You love somebody and they can’t love you back,” he said in a phone interview. “I found that same idea in the King Arthur legend where Lancelot is in love with the queen, Guinevere, despite being King Arthur’s right-hand man.”
Rayo said he wrote the album through Lancelot’s eyes, calling the experience a “fun practice in writing.” He spent three days in a studio working with an audio engineer and playing guitar, piano, bass and synthesizers before releasing the album, “Guinevere,” on Oct. 15.
“Everything you hear on the album is me,” he said. “It’s a piece of art that I’m really proud of that I made. What most artists want is for their art to be seen. I hope a lot of people can relate to it.”
A musical journey began for Rayo when he began playing guitar at age 8 or 9. He continued to explore his craft in middle and high school while learning piano and taking music classes.
During his time in the hospital, Rayo connected with one of the music therapists and spent time delving into his craft.
“Music has always been there, no matter what,” he said. “It didn’t change anything, but it made me appreciate music a lot more, like what it can do to help ease you and help your mental state.”
The album first made its debut during a listening party with nurses, doctors and family members gathered at Seacrest Studio within Arnold Palmer Hospital.
“Every nurse that I ever met was there in that little room, all my doctors were there. Even my counselor was there and a lot of my family was there,” Rayo said. “I was smiling the whole time, I couldn’t help just being so happy there.”
Rayo knows that this album will prove an enduring legacy and provide a way for friends and family to continue connecting with him.
“I wanted the album to be the big thing that I leave behind and the thing that people remember about me,” he said. “They have this music and this art that I made. I find that really comforting for me.”