As far as independent artists go, Rocco DeFinis continues to evolve and surprise. He is emerging from a truly one of a kind year and dropping his brand new single ‘Escrow’, complete with a video being filmed at a legendary East Coast LGBT haunt. I caught up with DeFinis as he prepared to drop ‘Escrow’ (which is available for streaming as of 01/15/21) and we chatted about his new music, his signature sound, & how when live performing comes back, it “will be magic”.
Michael Cook: Tell me about the new single “Escrow”…
Rocco DeFinis: My song ‘Escrow’ is about materialism, and addiction. I started writing the song twelve years ago. Originally it was about a person in my life who had reached great financial success, however spiritually and emotionally they were lost, and depressed. During the pandemic, I finished writing the song after losing several people in my life, and the rest of the lyrics just came to me like flowing water. We often search for external things to make us happy. Ultimately and hopefully, we find out we desire so much more out of life, and deserve more.
MC: You are filming the video at Paradise in Asbury Park, NJ. Tell me about he choice of location and why it was important.
RF: I selected my videographer Carlo Anthony with Carlo Anthony Media first because I am a fan of his work. I told Anthony what my vision for the music video was and he suggested Paradise. I was very excited when I found out we got access to shoot the video there. As a out gay artist, it is important for me to highlight our spaces. Now more then ever, we need our spaces to survive. And Paradise is iconic. I also think given the nature of my song, it’s important to address the duality of those spaces, the good and the bad. So we can make them even better for generations to come.
MC: For those that have not heard your music, tell me about your style and sound.
RF: My music is constantly evolving and changing. Those that know me would tell you I am a dancing queen, and love that I love club music. However, I have a very deep spiritual side. So my music reflects a hybrid of generes including hip hop, dance, pop, rock, and r&b. I think when folks first hear ‘Escrow’ they will be surprised it is the same artist who wrote the song ‘Give Em What They Want’ which was my first single. I am versatile; no pun intended. Kind Of…
MC: As a Philly boy, what does the LGBT community mean to you and how would you describe it?
RF: I am a Philly Boy through and through, and wouldn’t change it for the world. I have also had the pleasure of living in NYC and parts of New Jersey. I view the LGBTQ community as one big diverse family. Families know all the ins and outs of each member. LGBTQ people know what other queer people go through and can lend support to each in ways non queer people can’t when it relates to community issues. We are tied together in a uniquely beautiful way in this human experience. I am proud to be apart of this global movement for equality, and to be a part of queer artist history. Just like any family we may argue at times, but the love never goes away.
MC: As someone who has performed Off-Broadway, how do you see Philadelphia and the Broadway community in general coming back? Are you ready to get back on-stage yourself?
RF: My heart goes out to all the people that have lost work/employment during the pandemic, especially those in the entertainment industry. I am very proud that my community has taken this pandemic seriously, we need to continue to lead in this way. In àddition, I am extremely inspired by the tenacity of entertainers making the best out of a crappy situation, and doing virtual performances. I have seen a lot of Philly Drag Queens and singers taking charge and killing it on Facebook Live, etc. I really encourage people to support these artists during this time, this is their passion, and their livelihood. I have no doubt we will all return to normalcy, and once we do, it will be magic. I cannot wait to perform my music live, though I have also enjoyed doing some virtual performances as well. There is nothing like a live audience and the energy you exchange in that moment of live performance. For now, you can find me shaking my ass on TikTok. It ain’t Broadway, but will have to do for now. Like a boss of mine once told me “Make It Work”.
MC: Can we expect more music in 2021? What do you have planned?
RF: I wrote so many songs during quarantine. It was my therapy and peace of mind. I have plans to record more music with Thomas Jay of Rotation Records who produced ‘Escrow’. We have a lot of exciting things planned to display my versatility as an artist. For the first time, I will be doing a crowd funding campaign to raise funds. I want to be able to give my supporters more art, and content and don’t want financing to stop me from that. For now, I am very excited for the release of ‘Escrow’ and the music video that follows.
MC: How have you been staying inspired and creatively fueled during this time?
RF: My mother Joanne McGlinchey passed in February of lung cancer. In March the world shut down. I was not inspired at first to do much of anything. However as time went by, I really wanted to pay tribute to her legacy. So I started creating dancing/singing videos, and writing songs. I am a person that needs to move, otherwise I get caught in my pain. So that’s what I do now to get through each day. Create art and show gratitude I get to live another day.