Frankie Cosmos makes perfect bite-sized pop songs about everyday experiences—things like pet ownership ("If I Had a Dog"), where to kiss people ("On the Lips"), and being 20 ("I’m 20"). In the two years since her debut album Zentropy came out, the singer, born Greta Kline, has earned rave reviews and grown a devoted fan base. Her new album, Next Thing, squeezes in 15 songs in under half an hour and captures how it feels to be young in 2016: simultaneously confusing, exciting, boring, and a little sad. Frankie has spent the last month touring across the country. I called her on a rare day off between shows to talk about eating on the road, her favorite cereal, and her ultimate breakfast dream.
Extra Crispy: So, what’d you have for breakfast this morning?
Frankie Cosmos: Today I had a toasted everything bagel with eggs, cheese, and avocado, and then I had a doughnut. Right after.
That sounds great. What kind of doughnut?
Is that a standard breakfast for you?
Not really, it kind of depends where we are on tour. We’re in California right now. We woke up in San Francisco at my cousin’s house and she took us out to a bakery. I’d say if I’m at a spot with bagels and other baked stuff, bagels are my go-to item.
I imagine what you have for breakfast must change a lot on tour?
Yeah—sometimes we’re go to an actual restaurant, sometimes we’ll have much worse fast food. There’s kind of a spectrum of junkiness.
When you’re not on tour, you live in Manhattan. What’s your breakfast like there?
If I’m home, usually I cook. I go through phases, I was in like an oatmeal phase pretty recently, where I’d make oatmeal in the morning with fruit, try and get filled up and get some energy to start the day.
What kind of oatmeal?
I really like quick oats, the kind you put in boiling water for like a minute.
What kinds of toppings are you putting in it?
I add in apples or bananas.
You’re going for a nutrient-rich breakfast?
Yeah, something like that. But sometimes we’ll have bagels, sometimes I’ll make eggs. If I’m being really lazy I’ll just have cereal.
What kind of cereal?
I like really crappy cereal, I love Frosted Flakes. Frosted Flakes with bananas is a good breakfast; I like to pretend it’s slightly healthy. Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, a lot of junky sugary cereals—those are my favorite.
The song "Too Dark" on your new album mentions drinking “bad coffee” and waiting for someone to call you. So I take it you prefer coffee over tea?
Oh yeah, I love coffee so much. I’m drinking coffee right now. I pretty much can’t do anything until I’ve had coffee in the morning, so definitely a coffee drinker.
How do you take it?
Black coffee, always. When I’m at home I make coffee, I have a really good coffee maker. I love iced coffee on tour, especially if it’s a warm tour, so right now I’m drinking an iced coffee. Actually today they were out of black coffee somehow but they were able to give me coffee with milk in it, so that’s kind of weird.
I don’t understand how that’s possible.
It was like some weird kind of San Francisco thing. They were like, “Well we don’t have black coffee but we have like, French coffee.” I’ll take it.
When you’re making coffee at home, are you particular about what blend you buy?
I don’t have any idea what I’m buying. There are definitely certain types of coffee that I like to drink better but I never know why.
What do you do while you eat breakfast? Read the paper, listen to music?
I often do emails while I’m eating breakfast. But on tour I’m just hanging out with the band, or also hanging out with whoever we stayed with the night before. It’s nice because you get to actually talk to your friends.
Do you change what you eat while you’re recording?
If I’m recording vocals, the only thing that I’ll change is I won’t have breakfast with dairy at all, because it messes with your vocal ability. It’s the same with the stuff I eat before I play a show, I’m not going to have a glass of milk before I play. I’ll usually have like a vegan breakfast if I’m recording vocals.
Do you eat meat?
So that’s where you stand on the breakfast meats question. What about fruit?
I feel like the main three for breakfast are banana, apple, or blueberries. Anything sweeter than that, I don’t want.
Banana’s kind of the classic breakfast fruit, for whatever reason. It’s kind of like bread?
Yeah, exactly, it’s really good and I always forget how easy it is. Like, if I’m on tour and we’re having gas station breakfast, I’m really excited when I remember I can just have a banana instead of horrible crap. It feels healthy and nobody’s touched it because it’s in that peel, it just feels right. It fills you up, and you’re not going to die from eating like four bananas a day.
Do you drink juice with breakfast?
Not really. If I’m at a place that has free orange juice with breakfast, I’ll often drink half of it, but I’m really not that into juice with breakfast. Actually, I had fresh grapefruit juice on tour because we stayed at our friend’s parents house and they had a grapefruit tree, and they made us fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice in the morning. That was pretty amazing. But OJ is not my vibe.
Besides fresh grapefruit juice, have you had any spectacular or weird tour breakfasts?
Let me ask my bandmates. [Asks bandmates] Oh, yes! We went to this place called City Cafe in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was like $4 for a plate of four huge, heaping scoops of vegetables or sweet potatoes or whatever. It was lunch food but for breakfast, and it was so good. We had a really good time there.
One last thing: Let’s say it’s your birthday and you want to have your absolute favorite breakfast. What do you eat?
It would be chocolate-chip pancakes. If it’s my birthday, I’m waking up at my parents’ house, and my mom’s gonna make me chocolate chip pancakes. That’s the hope for my birthday. That’s the dream.