It’s Frankie Grande as you’ve never seen him before, as the actor and LGBTQ advocate gets glammed up in drag for Macy Gray’s latest music video, “Undone.” The jazzy, slow-burning song is the latest release from Gray’s new R&B/funk collective, California Jet Club, and the music video features Grande mouthing the lyrics to the song while performing a burlesque-style striptease alone in a smoky bedroom.
The seductive number mirrors the provocative lyrics of the track, with Gray singing about the push and pull of a relationship that you just can’t quite let go of.
Gray and Grande premiered the music video at a special viewing party at Soho House West Hollywood Friday night, in front of celebrity guests like Nicole Scherzinger and Natasha Bedingfield. Grande introduced the video by expressing his longtime admiration for Gray’s music, while thanking her for taking a chance on him for the video.
Grande and Gray first met during the Rock ‘N’ Relief Covid fundraising concert in March, and the performer tells Rolling Stone that he and Gray hit it off right away. When the singer came to him with the concept for the video last month, Grande said he jumped at the opportunity to participate.
“I was extremely excited and comfortable with this role and this project, as well as unbelievably honored to be asked to star in this video,” he says. “Macy and I spoke about the song and the message she was hoping to convey about how unrequited love can cause a person to become undone, as well as her vision for me to be in drag. I immediately gravitated toward the concept.”
While Grande starred as Frank-n-Furter in a Los Angeles production of The Rocky Horror Show, and has appeared in videos with stars from RuPaul’s Drag Race, the new music video showcases a decidedly more mature — read: sensual — turn in drag for Grande, with the performer starting in a glittery, beaded gown before dramatically stripping down into nothing but a pair of of flesh-tone briefs.
The performer says he borrowed his dress in the video from Drag Race star Shangela, who also gave him some tips on how to move in the garment (and in the dramatic makeup and wig). Grande says Gray meantime, was honest about her inspirations for the song, which is at once about salvaging a relationship — and knowing when it’s time to break free. “As we discussed the character, a man who felt his partner did not accept him as he came to love himself in the world, I was able to step into those heels and live out loud,” Grande says. “I hope that when people see this video they will be inspired to live their truths no matter what society or a partner says, because it is when we are standing in our authentic self that we are happiest and unstoppable.”
In a release, Gray says “Undone” is “a song of self-expression and pure happiness, which offer a breath of fresh air needed to leave judgment behind and see things for what they are.” Gray wrote and recorded “Undone” during the pandemic with her California Jet Club ensemble, which also includes bassist Alex Hyhn, drummer Tamir Barzilay, and keyboardist Billy Wes.
Of course this isn’t the first time Gray has collaborated with a member of the Grande family. The singer popped up on “Leave Me Lonely,” a duet with Ariana Grande that appeared on the latter’s 2016 album, Dangerous Woman.