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.

    Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost’s 10 Go-To Tracks:

    “Little by Little” by The Marias – The Marias do such a unique job of putting you in a trance. It’s the combination of the groovy psychedelic band and the almost alien-like voice of Maria, the lead singer. “Little by Little” just happens to be one of their grooviest songs. Walking to the Capitol listening to this is pretty badass.

    “C’mon Baby, Cry” by Orville Peck – I honestly used to be an “everything but country” guy and then in comes Orville Peck. I heard this song live before I heard the record, and the vibe of the audience and Orville’s voice made me fall in love.

    “Send One Your Love” by Stevie Wonder – Stevie has been my favorite artist for most of my life so every year I have a different song I’m obsessing over. It was a tough and stressful past year of campaigning, and “Send One Your Love” gave me a dose of the serenity and love that powered my campaign.


    “Me & You Together Song” by The 1975 – I’ve been a fan of the band since 2014. I remember falling in love with the music after I saw them live with some friends here in Orlando because the whole show made me feel nostalgic about music I’ve never heard before. This song really gives me that feeling and makes me want to dance with my best friends. Good on any day.

    “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure – It’s quite simple. It’s 10:30 p.m. and I’ve just returned from a full day of work in DC. It’s cold as hell and I’m super hungry with absolutely no groceries but there’s a Lime scooter right outside my apartment. I rent that scooter and blast The Cure from my little phone speaker riding through DC in the middle of the night to find nourishment.

    “Times Flies” by Rico Nasty – I’ve never seen Rico Nasty but every time I jam to her music I feel like moshing at a show. Sometimes you just need some hype mid-day to keep yourself going. Rico Nasty [is better than] coffee.


    “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” by The Beach Boys – After a long day, this comes on as I either make an old fashioned or cook a meal. I grew up listening to The Beach Boys because of my dad and Pet Sounds remains one of my favorite albums to this day. Also, extra points for being in one of the best Mad Men episodes.

    “House of Woodcock” by Jonny Greenwood – Yes, yes, yes. This is from the masterpiece film, Phantom Thread. I remember replaying the opening to that movie over and over again because of this song. I have a wake-up playlist that consists mainly of classical and jazz music. I hear this song just about every morning. I’m convinced I know what a sunrise feels like because of the melody and composition of this song.

    “HelGa” by Phony Ppl – I’m so lucky to have booked Phony Ppl three times for three very unique events: My festival MadSoul in Orlando; a drive-in protest; and my DC Swearing-In party. “HelGa” makes me feel like I’m floating and dancing through the best parts of my childhood like Mr. Magoo (but in a good way). It’s one of those records that remind me why I love music so much.


    “Chanel” by Frank Ocean – Frank Ocean has a way of helping me be okay with some of the things in my life I might’ve seen as negative. This is my favorite Frank song because it’s done that very thing so many times. I tend to sit in my sadness while listening to music. It allows me to be vulnerable in such a controlled environment.