Written by Ashley Friedman
He’s one of those people that you have to ask yourself, “is there anything he can’t do?” His name is Frankie Zulferino and he’s been an artist to watch on Elicit’s radar for a while now.
Before we get into Frankie’s story, I feel like you should know a little bit behind the scenes. We received a press email a year back introducing Frankie to Elicit. His new single, “Stuck On You” had just come out and set the precedent for his upcoming album, No Boundaries.
We supported Frankie on Elicit by posting the press and helping spread the word where we could. At that point, I remember thinking, this guy is so multifaceted, and this felt like a moment in his career where he was completely confident in putting it out there that, yes, he can sing, he can dance, he does modeling and that’s okay to be good at all of those things, he doesn’t have to choose one.
“Ever since I was 10 years old I knew I wanted to be an entertainer. I was obsessed with watching my favorite artists’ music videos and concerts. I also loved musical theatre and watching movie musicals,” says Frankie. “I would run home every day after school to watch TRL (Total Request Live). I never missed an award show or a chance to watch people perform. It has been my passion forever and I could never imagine my life without it.”
Once a former member of the boy band, WOW, under the moniker, Frankie Presley, Zulferino eventually made the decision to pursue a solo career and around the age of 21, wrote his first song, “I Found You.”
“I wrote it with my vocal coach and her soon to be husband,” he comments, “It was actually their wedding song and a super special honor. That is something I will always treasure!”
In 2012, we saw Zulferino’s solo career come to life when he was featured as a contestant on the show The Next and mentored by Joe Jonas.
He’s even opened up for artists like Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo and Selena Gomez, and ton of others. But, on his list of dream collaborations is the one and only Jennifer Lopez.
“I’ve always looked up to her as an artist / performer. It would be a dream to share the stage with her one day! She is the ultimate entertainer!” says Zulferino.
As for the biggest lesson the singer has learned so far, Zulferino tells Elicit that it’s to trust his instinct more and to stop letting people change him.
“At the end of the day, of course you want to listen and take the opinion of others, but there also comes a point where you have to stand in your light and own who you are,” comments Zulferino. “We will never please everyone, there is always going to be more we can work on, more ways to grow, but we have to be confident in our skin and not change to please everyone else!”
His first professional performance was at the Hammerstein Ballroom at 19 years old. ”I remember feeling the same exact way I felt when I was 11 and the feeling is still the same today,” says Zulferino. “Massive butterflies in my stomach, my heart racing, my hand shaking a bit, and the second I hit the stage it’s like everything disappears and I’m where I was meant to be.”
That positive mentality constantly shines through with everything Zulferino does. “Dream until it’s done,” is a motto that inspires him on the daily. He tells Elicit that the motto really comes to life in a song that has yet to be released called “Until It’s Done.” “That’s exactly how I live my life everyday,” he comments.
If you follow Frankie, you know that he’s always been so grateful for his fans, also known as the #zmob. To show how thankful he is, he has even gone so far as to fly out and surprise fans for their birthday.
“My fans are my world! They are the ones coming to the concerts, streaming the records, buying the merchandise. I do it for my fans, it will always be that way!” says Zulferino. “One thing I want my fans to take away from my music [and my story] is the ability to go out and live their life, chase their own dreams and ignite a spark in their life!”
In almost every instagram video, twitter post, you name it, Frankie always pays tribute to his fans for their constant support. Zulferino tells Elicit about a recent compliment he received from a fan.
“She said that ever since she discovered me and my music I got her out of one of the darkest places in her life and made her feel alive again! To me, there is nothing more special than that. To be able to inspire and shine in a light in someone’s world is a feeling that nothing else can compare to.”
Zulferino has managed to entertain despite the COVID pandemic. During quarantine, he showed off his vocals with covers of classic hits like “Man In The Mirror.” He also released the music video for “I Feel For You,” and managed to showing off his super sultry dance moves to songs like “WAP” by Cardi B. Ft. Megan Thee Stallion.
In his most recent project, a cover of Marvin’s Gaye’s classic hit, “Let’s Get It On,” Zulferino comments that this was actually one of the fastest remakes he has done.
“I had a ballad version of the record, but I wanted to make a little twist to it… It’s one of my favorite songs ever. My fans always love it when I sing my acoustic cover to it, so I knew they would love a new version of it!” The love for Motown is often a recurring theme in Zulferino’s music, like in “Forever Girl,” one of his favorite originals to perform.
“I am really proud of all the records and the direction that my music is going in. My biggest goal has been to create records that people can relate to, but also music that makes the world dance again.”
Like other artists in the industry, Zulferino found a way to perform safely during the pandemic. “It was definitely a really big project to take on but ultimately, keeping everyone healthy and following all the guidelines was my number 1 concern,” he comments. “We hit a lot of roadblocks along the way, but the final outcome was amazing and I’m so happy I got to do it!”
From the outside, it looks like Zulferino has it all together. When asked what his secret was, the singer comments,”I wish I knew the secret to maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Just like everyone else, I definitely become overwhelmed trying to separate business and my everyday life,” says Zulferino. “I am such a perfectionist and I’m always wanting to do more. It’s hard for me to relax and chill because I am the type of person that feels like I should be working.”
He continues, “I’ve learned sometimes it’s best for me to just put my phone down on do not disturb, indulge in a tv show or a movie, and surround myself with friends and family who keep me grounded and balanced!”
Zulferino’s advice for up and coming musicians would be to stay true to who they really are, and “focus on building your fans and creating great music! At the end of the day there is nothing more important than the fans and the music!”
His ultimate career goal would be to perform at the Super-Bowl Halftime Show, but being the New Yorker that he is, MSG is a close second. “That would be a massive highlight and moment that I would treasure forever.”
Currently, Frankie is working on a ton of new music, but hasn’t decided on any official release dates as of yet. “I have been working on all new music during quarantine and I’m super excited for everyone to hear everything!”