Portland-based queer pop artist Frankie Simone makes her debut today with new video for “War Paint,” taken from her LOVE//WARRIOR EP which will see release on June 1. The Puerto Rican powerhouse gives us a taste of what’s to come with this banger of a song. She spoke with Billboard about her mission of love and acceptance. Check out the exclusive interview and video premiere HERE and preorder/presave the EP HERE.
Frankie Simone offers a vision of pop music as a conduit for collective enlightenment, self-empowerment and awakening. Pop rarely transcends the constraints of dominant culture — but Simone’s incantations of radical self-love aren’t just transcendent, they’re transformative. Frankie Simone’s music exists, she says, “to celebrate every type of human.”
It’s a message Simone has worked hard to communicate, through youth outreach programs and community work—and in various musical projects over the years. And in 2014, she had a breakthrough: She put together a collaborative, experimental music project with her wife —dancer and performance artist Che Che Luna—and crowdfunded a west coast tour that began in their then-hometown of Santa Cruz, California and wrapped up in Portland, Oregon. Simone and Luna fell in love with the city, and decided to move there.
Portland, one of the least diverse cities in America, may not seem like the likeliest home for an emerging queer, Puerto Rican pop star. But after overcoming the initial shock of the city’s constant rain, she found friends and allies in the city’s deep-rooted artistic community. And on many levels, Simone is a quintessential Portlander: she reads tarot cards, she carries crystals in her pocket.
Her vision is confident and fearless—especially for an artist just getting started on her musical journey—and she’s eager to share the credit with Luna. Sharing the stage, they create something both powerful and vulnerable, soulful and radical. “We are each other’s biggest fans,” Simone says. “We champion each other and we push each other. We have big dreams, and together we truly know we’re unstoppable.”
Simone is a High Priestess of Pop: the stage is her pulpit, and her message of love and acceptance is universal.