Traditionally, the way music represents love has been limited — not just in terms of who is typically featured in love songs (i.e. heterosexual couples) but also in terms of the types of relationships people sing about (i.e., monogamous ones). Non-binary, Latinx pop artist Frankie Simone is changing this on both fronts with music inspired by the challenges and rewards of navigating a queer, polyamorous relationship.
Simone’s latest single, “On Our Own,” was written during a difficult time in their relationship with their wife Che Che Luna, when their needs differed so much they had to turn away from each other and focus on themselves. But the single is is nevertheless uplifting – on the fun, catchy, EDM-infused track, Simone combines melodic electronic instrumentals and a prominent keyboard track with an anthemic chorus and danceable beat in the vein of Kygo or Galantis. “We can heal our hearts if we move to the rhythm/It’s in the melody and no don’t forget it/There’s a song we sing and oh won’t you sing it/All together now,” multiple voices chant in the refrain.
“I wrote ‘On Our Own’ as a mantra for healing, to help expand my perspective, and provide myself with a different vantage point as I navigated extremely challenging times in my relationship,” says Simone. “Writing this song helped me regain my own personal power and, in a lot of ways, find the light at the end of the tunnel. This song feels so relevant right now during this time of extreme isolation. I hope folks can listen to it and feel less alone amidst the pandemic and current state of the world.”
The track is off Simone’s debut LP Sensitive Creature, much of which is dedicated to their relationship with Luna, whom they’ve been with for eight years. Even though it was written while in partnership, Simone wrote it largely about turning inward as the couple explored polyamory for the first time, guided by the question: “How can we allow ourselves the space and room to continue to grow and shape-shift and change as we get older, and how can we do that in partnership?”
The answer to these questions was an album with an overarching message of independence. In the R&B-inspired “Be Myself” featuring KayelaJ, Simone sings about remaining true to themself even while coupled. In the sassy Sleigh Bells-esque “KING,” they rap about celebrating their body and sexuality. In the poppy “Slow Down,” they talk about rising above obstacles in their relationship.
While most of the songs have a positive spin, many of them were borne from heartache as Simone watched their wife fall in love with someone else. “It’s taking the listener through the depths of the darkest depression in my life,” they explain. “I chose to turn inwards and really found a well of personal discovery and radical self-love. It’s truly the first time in my life that I’ve fallen in love with myself. A lot of the songs,I wrote from this perspective of my ideal self speaking to this deeply depressed Frankie to help pull me through it.”
They hope the album sets an example for others interested in polyamory, or simply shows them it’s a possibility. “We’re kind of proof of that, as we’ve moved through this really fucking intense journey, and throughout this journey, we’ve found incredible amounts of healing,” they say.
The album also explores other adjacent themes, including mental health and identity. “Goddexx,” for instance, validates the worth of people marginalized by society: “I am womxn/I am queer/I am brown/All that you fear/Like it or not I, I am a goddexx/I deserve to be worshipped.”
Simone released their first EP, LOVE/WARRIOR, in 2018, with similarly fun, electronically infused pop exploring queer identity and relationships. “I think about my first record, and it felt almost like I had so much to say, I was screaming about it, especially with my queer identity,” they reflect. “I wanted to have positive queer music people could find or discover or connect with.” While the new album is more about Simone’s inward journey in their relationship, their goal of encouraging and uplifting queer listeners hasn’t changed.
Simone is aiming to release a video for every song on the LP to create a visual album. So far, they and Luna star in a flirty video for “Slow Down,” and she dances alongside KayelaJ in the “Be Myself” video.
While Sensitive Creature documents Simone’s path toward accepting their wife’s other partnership, they’ve since formed an additional relationship of their own as well, which has inspired more music. That’s the exciting thing about Frankie Simone’s ever-evolving exploration of love in various forms: their fans get to be on that journey with them.