With the final season of Orange Is the New Black premiering last month, one of the show’s breakout stars takes her boldest — and most vivid — artistic step of music career yet. On her birthday of all days.
Billboard is exclusively sharing the new single and music video from Jackie Cruz, who celebrates her birthday today on Aug. 8. Right in line with past singles like the standout party cut “La Hora Loca,” the just-released “Lucía Ocho” has a knocking, mambo-inspired beat with the 33-year-old shining in a slinky-yet-confident, bilingual delivery. The track features Nina Sky, the twin-sister duo who broke out on the charts 15 years ago with “Move Ya Body” and now stand as influential producers and artists on the independent scene.
“Lucía Ocho” comes accompanied with a gorgeous music video that visually touches on everything from vintage film to a modern-day street fashion. Jackie and her girls open the visual with a homage to silent films. Soon enough, the beat kicks in and the singer-actress drops confident lyrics “You want to kiss around my body” and “Escucha: I made it” surrounded by a gang of powerful friends both in a moody, neon-tinged bedroom and an abandoned parking lot. The video was co-produced by Cruz’s own Unspoken Productions alongside the Latina female-run, Her Productions, and directed by Chancellor Warhol.
“This song about being confident in your own skin, about finding your playful sexy side and owning it,” Cruz tells Billboard of her latest. “We all fall in love, but falling in love with yourself is a whole different animal. There’s nothing like being with your girls who know you and empowering one another to find that je ne sais quoi in each of us.”
She adds that having a seasoned partner like Nina Sky on board for “Lucía Ocho” not only helped her grow as an artist but led to even more collaborations.
“I’ve always been such a fan of Nina Sky and we met at an event where I was performing and they happened to be DJing,” she says. “I know Natalie was a bit skeptical at first since most people only know me as an actor, but once she heard the song, she was down. We went on to make two more songs after that. It’s so dope working with people that influenced your childhood and actually feel like family when you’re in the studio together. Nicole and Natalie are incredible women, mothers, and artists, and continue to be a huge inspiration for me.”
“Lucía Ocho” previews Cruz’s upcoming debut album Hija de Chavez, which Cruz says will be out later this month. The “very personal” release will include collaborations with her go-to writing partner Feefa, who collaborated with Cruz on tracks like “Don’t Waste My Time” and “The Truth.”
With her star-making TV show wrapping, but her debut album on the way, Cruz wraps saying “I’m feeling incredibly blessed at this moment in time.”
Watch the “Lucía Ocho” video exclusively on Billboard first (and be sure to wish Jackie a happy birthday today):