Today, the drag presenting and boundary pushing pop artist Tripping Jupiter is proud to share their newest single “We Are Starlight” — a cosmic and deeply emotional rock ballad about how humans of all walks of life are all made up of the same matter that once came from the stars. The song has an anthemic and sweeping pop rock sound that evokes massive acts like The Killers or Kings of Leonbut with a distinctly David Bowie flair, with bass playing done by frequent Bowie collaborator and legendary session musician Gail Ann Dorsey, who appears on several tracks on the forthcoming Tripping Jupiter album. You can watch the music video for “We Are Starlight” below:
The video for “We Are Starlight” tells the story of a young child — a representation of Tripping Jupiter architect Madstone Rowan’s younger self as portrayed by a child actor dressed in identical drag makeup and matching outfits — traversing across New York city and slowly attracting a diverse crowd of strangers who follow her to a park. The video’s emotional climax features Tripping Jupiter coming face to face with their younger self, as the crowd of onlookers and the two main characters all become entranced by the vast sky above them, realizing that we all come from the same place. The video was executive produced by Mike Smith (director of the Amazon Prime documentary Cherry Grove Stories) and directed by Mike Fisher.
Mike and Mike’s initial storyboards immediately captured the vision of what Madstone had in mind, and the casting of Gia Innamorato, a 9 year old child actor, for the starring role of Young Madstone in the video really brought everything together. “She literally makes the video”, Madstone says “I can’t imagine it existing without her. I was made up in drag by the amazing drag artist and make up artist Eric Dorsa – and the decision was made to make up Gia in the exact same way. So we’ve got a little 9 year old girl in full drag, looking amazing, starring in this video about bringing a message of love and connection to the entire world – and she just makes the whole thing come together. Gia’s exuberance and joy comes through so clearly in this video, as she makes her journey through the streets of New York City, touching the lives of everyone she meets along the way.”
In addition to Madstone Rowan (they/them), the singer and multi-instrumentalist behind Tripping Jupiter, and bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, “We Are Starlight” features the work of billboard charting producer and mentor to Tripping Jupiter Barb Morrison (they/them), a platinum record holder who has worked with the likes of Blondie, Rufus Wainwright, Franz Ferdinand, LP. and many more. Barb’s production work on “We Are Starlight” adds a much needed sense of epic scale, with Madstone saying that “They made it grand. They made it big. They gave it the production it deserved… Barb had said that they wanted the listener to imagine that they were standing on the side of the Grand Canyon, looking at the vast expanse of all that beauty.”
Speaking to the cosmic themes of “We Are Starlight” and their inspirations for writing it, Madstone said, “While wrestling with the depression and anxiety throughout the pandemic, I had gotten into watching physics videos. Videos on the universe, the origin of the universe, the vastness of the universe. And I was reminded of something I had heard years earlier – that all we are comes from the stars. One night I was listening to a physicist saying that the very iron in our blood, the element that allows our blood to transport oxygen and keep us alive – didn’t come from our world. The element of iron was born out of supernovae billions of years ago, right after the birth of the universe. And every single iron atom that exists in this universe, including the iron in our blood that allows us to breathe and process oxygen – came from those stars billions of years ago. As the astrophysicist Carl Sagan famously said ‘We are made of star-stuff’
This perspective – looking at the world from a galaxy-wide point of view – is why the message of love and unity of “We Are Starlight” and its video aim to communicate land so powerfully. “When I think about the craziness of the world these past few years, the misunderstandings, the wars, the inequality, the bigotry – I think of how, really, we are all made of the same elements”, Madstone says. “They came from the stars billions of years ago. No matter what our differences, ultimately, they are small. We are starlight.”
The release of “We Are Starlight” follows the recent Tripping Jupiter single “Lipstick of The Brave”, a moving piano ballad with a personal message dedicated to freedom of gender expression. The single was accompanied by a short film with hand-drawn animation directed by illustrator, animator and two-time Academy Award Nominee Bill Plympton and has been selected for a number of film festivals, including Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival, Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, Big Apple Festival and Screenplay Competition, OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival: Miami Edition, Cherry Grove Archives Collection Film Festival, Montreal Independent Film Festival, and the aGLIFF/Prism Film Festival in Austin.