Daydreamer and musician Destino Mondragon, who performs under the name DESTINO, loves pink clouds and purple-sky sunsets. They match the color of his hair, the gloss on his lips, and the polish on his fingernails.
On July 30, he's dropping a new queer anthem, "Break My Heart." Walking the line between retro-pop and R&B, the song is the stuff of late nights, crying in the streets during a summer rainstorm, and somehow managing to dance through heartache.
"Most of my music is pretty personal, I guess, but I wrote this cute love song about my partner and I," Mondragon explains. "It’s about the ups and downs of being in a relationship. It’s about being spiritually connected, but most importantly, it’s about young, queer love."
In "Break My Heart," he brashly declares that he's not looking for heaven.
"If I’m going to be excluded from 'heaven' for being gay, then I don’t want it," he explains. "I’m not religious, but I grew up in a very Catholic household. Religion isn’t my thing, but I don’t judge if it is someone else’s, you know?"
Mondragon, who runs Wide Eyed Entertainment, an artist promotion company, is a creative polymath, making music videos, mixing and writing songs, doing graphic design, and even throwing parties.
"I just really like using my skills to help other people in the scene that I believe in," he says. "Denver has a thriving underground music scene that really inspires me to put my best foot forward. I’m so inspired by people like That Kid and N3PTUNE, underground Denver queer music icons."
Mondragon polished his skills through the music education nonprofit Youth on Record's fellowship program, studying marketing and exploring why he makes music and art.
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"I learned the importance of being conscious of what I put out into the space around me," he says. "I also gained a large support system through Youth on Record. I have never had such a close group of music friends in my life. ... These people helped me to regain confidence in myself and my art, and translate that confidence into everything I do."
Denver has been a strong home base for Mondragon, who says he enjoys the underground drag scene, queer open mics and DIY concerts — much of which has transitioned online during the pandemic.
"This pandemic has been a strange and tough adjustment for me and my routines, but I’m getting through it," Mondragon says. "I’ve really been focusing a lot of my energy toward creating different art projects and putting together another album. I’ve got a few songs finished so far, and even know what my next single is going to be. Hint: Latino flair!"
Hear more from DESTINO at his SoundCloud page.