Gen Z Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost on Why Music Is One of His Top Legislative Priorities

The lifelong musician, who's going to bat for artists on Capitol Hill, also shares his pump-up playlist

Maxwell Alejandro Frost Playlist
Illustration by Steven Fiche

    When Maxwell Alejandro Frost is asked to reflect on how he became the first member of Gen Z to be elected to Congress, he draws a straight line back to the first time he heard Camille Saint-Saëns’ “The Swan” performed on cello.

    “[It] was the first time I remember crying to music,” Frost tells Consequence. “And my dad just said, ‘It’s okay.’ Getting that vulnerability validated by my father, my dad, I think it really led to me who I am today. It made me okay with being vulnerable.”

    That vulnerability has inspired Frost to dedicate his life to service, and it’s what pushed him to run to become a representative for Florida’s 10th congressional district. As a progressive Democrat, Frost supports the Green New Deal, gun control, the decriminalization of cannabis and sex work, and reproductive justice. But a lot of Frost’s politics derive from his lifelong love of music.


    “One of my top three priorities for the next few months is actually art,” Frost says. While the arts conversation in Congress has typically centered on copyright law and arts education, Frost wants to focus on artists.

    “We’re the only major country in the world that does not provide direct grants to independent artists, venues and festivals to help spur their business,” Frost says. “In fact, it disproportionately impacts black and brown poor and working class musicians. And not just musicians, but artists who have to fund their dreams and use their rent money or use their food money for it.”

    He references Canada’s FACTOR, an artist development non-profit that has funded artists like Alvvays, Lido Pimienta, PUP, and Jessie Reyez, as a potential model to follow in the United States.


    “I think we need to support our independent artists more, and our government needs to be in the business of investing in American artists,” Frost says. He believes any investment in artists needs to include Medicare for All, affordable housing, and improved public transit.

    “A lot of it has to do with changing the way the money flows,” Frost points out. “Most of the art and culture grants go toward the big theaters, big museums, things like that. And these are important places, but the concern is that local artists usually won’t get a ton of opportunities to take part in a lot of these things. And our most vulnerable communities, most of them will never see the inside of these places. So how do we make sure that money is being distributed in an equitable way?”

    Frost’s passion for music extends beyond policy goals, as the 26-year-old sees how music can build community and bring more people into the electoral process.


    “Each member of Congress does a yearly event in their community. A lot of people do community picnics — we’re actually looking at doing a music festival,” Frost says. He also hopes to set up a series of concerts on Capitol Hill as a way of “bridging the gap between cool and consciousness.”

    Frost is no stranger to organizing live events. He and a friend run Mad Soul, a music festival that donates all proceeds to mutual aid efforts to help unhoused youth in Central Florida. And as student government president at the Osceola County School for the Arts (where he studied jazz drums), Frost hosted concerts in the school’s courtyard during lunch. He also worked for Goldenvoice for six years, pitching in at Coachella and Stagecoach.

    Maxwell Alejandro Frost playlist

    Maxwell Alejandro Frost playing drums at an event


    As an avid concertgoer — he celebrated his victory in November by tweeting that he was going to see The 1975 perform — Frost will have to scale back the number of shows he attends now that he’s an elected official with a busy agenda. However, he still hopes to get out to a handful of concerts this year, including Paramore’s arena tour, showcases at South by Southwest, and a Coachella weekend.

    Below, Congressman Frost shares 10 songs he’s bumping in his AirPods as he walks around Washington, D.C. and gets work done as a legislator.