An Interview With Singer, Dancer, Choreographer and TikTok Star, FRANKIE ZULFERINO!
On April 30th, the NYC-based singer, dancer, choreographer, TikTok star, Frankie Zulferino, released his single, “Hit That.” The track features Universal Recording Artist Melii.
“A lot of my inspiration comes from old school Puff Daddy, Janet Jackson and Missy Elliot music videos, with a ton of dancers. When I went in to record the single my goal was to take what I love about the 70s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s and fuse it together. I want to genuinely sell who I am as an artist and as a person; I don’t think you can sell something massively unless you’re being true to yourself”
Frankie’s authenticity has not gone unnoticed by those who have inspired him to be who he is, like icons Janet Jackson, Neyo and Paula Abdul sending love to him and posting about his tribute videos to them. This past year alone he has garnered over 700K followers on TikTok.
Frankie’s been in the industry for such a long time and has such an inspiring story to tell about never giving up on your dreams (from being in the boy band WOW opening for Justin Bieber on tour, to signing with Johnny Wright, and also landing a spot on The CW’s The Next with Joe Jonas as his mentor).
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Learn more about Frankie Zulferino in the following All Access interview:
So what has this past year been like for you and your music? How are/did you get through the pandemic? Are things opening up now where you are? How do you feel about that? Did you get vaccinated yet?
This past year actually started out with a lot of excitement. I filmed a music video in LA in January, dropped my single “Say Less” in March, had a billboard in Times Square, and the next day headed off to the UK to tour.. Unfortunately two days later came the mandatory quarantine and I had to pack my stuff up and come back to the US. I got through the pandemic by starting a Tik Tok and really focusing on building a true fan base. I did a lot of connecting with people by doing Tik Tok and Instagram lives, concerts, zooms, calls etc.. It ended up being a very special time for me and having the time to connect with people like that ultimately helped my career. Things are starting up open up here and there! Still a few regulations but I’m ready to get back into the world excited to see where this crazy dream will take me..
Let’s talk about your newest single, “Hit That.” What was the inspiration for this song? Are you surprised at all by all the fast positive response to it? What was it like working with Melii on it? How did this collaboration happen in the first place?
The inspiration for “Hit That” came from really just wanting to bring feel good music back. Something people can dance to and just blast in the car. Any time I release new music I always hope everyone is going to love it as much as I do and seeing such an incredible response has been a amazing. I loved collaborating with Melii it’s always fun to work with someone who believes in my project, saw the direction I wanted to take the single, and she was all about it. It originally happened pretty quickly. My manager was connected to someone on her team! They sent over my demo of the original record and the rest was history.
How would you say that “Hit That” prepares listeners for more music from you? How does this track compare to anything else that you have released?
I feel like “Hit That” was a good introduction to all of the new records I’m releasing this year. It’s a pop/r&b record that is super rhythmic, with a throw back feel. That is the direction my next couple of records are heading as well.
What was it like making the music video for this track? How creatively involved with the whole process were you? What is the best and most challenging part about making a music video? How did the set stay covid-safe?
I love the process of making the music video because I love dancing, performing, and costumes just as much as I love singing. When it’s time to make a video or hit the stage it’s always a good time for me. I’m always 100% with how creatively involved I was with the process. I do everything from costuming to either choreographing or hiring the choreographer I see would best suit the vibe of the particular song. I pick the dancers, location and pretty much everything else that goes into making my vision come to life. The best part was working with so many talented people and the most challenging of course was making a video Mid-COVID… I made sure my dancers and I were tested before we went into any rehearsals! They were of course masked when not shooting.
Do you have plans to release more new music or a whole album soon?
I actually have enough records recorded to last me the next 2 years. And as much as I would love to put out a full album I feel it’s best for me, right now, to just be pushing my singles. My next single release is set for July! I know my fans are really going to love this one!
I would love to hear more about how some of your fans met up in Times Square to help promote you there! And then you surprised them by performing there for them! What was that all like? How did you hear about the meet-up? What was it like seeing your very own billboard on the Viacom Building?
MY FANS!! Ahh. So I have a Facebook exclusive fan page. One of the members posted that they wanted to organize a #ZMOB meet up and asked if April 30 worked for people… They all started planning to make it happen. Group dinners, meeting up to hand out cards and promoting me and my music all over the city for a whole weekend.. Randomly I’m in a meeting a couple of weeks after they start planning this, and it was decided my single would be released on the same day they all were meeting up… Well if you know me you know I LOVE my fans and would do anything for them so it only seemed perfect that I do a surprise concert for them… It was really the least I could do for what they do for me. The icing on the cake was having that billboard lit up behind me. Nothing makes me happier than my fans and performing, so it was the PERFECT DAY!
Where would you absolutely love to hear one of your songs playing?
I would ultimately love hearing my song playing out of my mouth in MSG with thousands of fans singing along (haha). But a realistic start would be the radio! It would be a dream to hear one of my singles on rotation daily so the whole world could hear my music.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be a singer? What do you think motivates you day in and day out? How did being in the boy band WOW teach you about being a musician?
I started off playing sports as a kid and when I was 11 my mom put me in dance classes… I then got into theater in school and the rest was history. I knew I wanted to sing and dance right then! What motivates me most is knowing there is a reason I was given this gift and I know I HAVE to share it with the world. I truly feel like that is why I was put on this earth. When I doubt myself, the love and support I get from my friends, family, and my fans always pushes me through. Being a part of WOW was an amazing experience I will never forget. It really taught me a lot about how this business is and how one day your up and one day your down, BUT, you have to keep pushing through if you really love it.
I’m curious to know about your experience on The CW’s The Next! What was it like being on that show and being mentored by Joe Jonas?
I loved the experience of being on the Next and Joe Jonas was amazing to learn from, but it made me realize that reality tv might not be for me. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have done it though.
Growing up, has music always been important in your life? If you weren’t a singer today, could you see yourself doing anything else? What is something else interesting/funny you are good at?
Music has always been a huge part of my life. I know and love all genres of music. If I wasn’t a singer I honestly don’t know what I would do. This is all I’ve ever wanted. Something else I’m interestingly good at is baseball. So maybe I would be in the major leagues? Who knows?
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
One of the biggest surprises for me was seeing my Janet Jackson Tribute video posted on her page and how it was loved by so many. It was for sure a highlight for me because I’ve looked up to and aspired to be that caliber of an artist my whole life. In my opinion I think the biggest challenge in my career to date is to see how different the music industry is now that social media plays such a huge part. Everything use to be about talent/ drive/ work ethic. It’s just very different now.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
At the end of the day I hope people will hear my music and it will bring them back to a time when music just made you feel good, sing at the top of your lungs, and dance along (knowing the choreography I am doing) from watching my music videos. THAT would be the ultimate dream.