Photo courtesy of Paper Magazine
6 LGBTQ+ Musicians to Keep Your Eye On
The battle for LGBTQ+ rights were being fought for decades, before marriage equality became law in the United States in 2015.
Generations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activists paved the way for the progress we see today. 2018 saw the likes of Hayley Kiyoko bag an award, MNEK release a debut album, Christine and the Queens reinvent herself as Chris, and Janelle Monae come out to the nation as being queer.
We’re hoping that 2020 will pave the way for even more LGBT+ artists and bands to make headlines.
Here are six up-and-coming LGBTQ+ artists we think you should be paying attention to in 2019!
Bronze Avery is one of the biggest queer artists to keep your eye on.
Bronze is a breath of fresh air, in a genre that often does not recognize the experiences of queer people of color. His pop music is up-beat, fun and flirty; described by Bronze as “bedroom sheets meeting the dance floor.”
Bronze told PinkNews: “The pop world is resistant to a black male singing true pop music, so much so that I’m always asked if I sing R&B music- unless I’ve stated otherwise. “But then the urban world is resistant to having a gay guy in their sessions. I will always sing pop music, and I will never apologize for who I am, where I’ve come from, or who I love. I’ll be open and unapologetic in my music forever and ever.”
Leo creates a stunning concoction of pop sounds with undertones of RnB and a garnish of Bollywood.
Celebrating being queer and Muslim, his songs have no pronouns, which he says is important to him because “I want my music to be a space where no-one feels ‘othered.’
“Pronouns and gender are used as weapons to exclude people, whether that’s incorrectly gendering trans people, or calling a young gay boy a girl for being flamboyant.
“In the world I make with my music that doesn’t exist.”
The frontwomen of Vic + Gab, decided to call it quits, in name only. The duo played their final Vic + Gab show at last October, but it was no goodbye- just a see-you-later. Now, the sisters have returned with a new name — Reyna.
Reyna’s latest sparkling single, “Heartbeat,” does more than just capture the unbearable, universal pangs of heartache. Premiering exclusively on Billboard, the video is a colorful visual celebration of the sisters’ Mexican-American heritage. “We wanted to show more of our culture because there are a lot of people like us right here in the U.S. We wanted to say, ‘Hey, you’re not alone. We’re all going through this together,’” Vic shares
Vic Banuelos describes her first Pride as an awakening: “I found people that were going through the same struggles I was, and I became more comfortable with myself.”
Annie Clark (AKA St. Vincent)
Annie Clark, AKA St. Vincent, is by no means a new artist in the music industry- but Clark hasn’t gotten nearly the recognition she deserves from the industry. Annie attended Berklee School of Music, but decided to end her career as an LGBTQ+ student in order to pursue her music career- and she’s doing pretty darn good for herself.
Clark has released 6 albums since 2007, starting with her debut album, titled Marry Me, to most recently, MASSEDUCTION, which contains some heartbreaking ballads like “Happy Birthday, Johnny,” and some absolutely amazing bops like “Los Ageless,” which earned her a 2018 NME award nomination.
Ian Simpson (AKA Kevin Abstract)
Musician and filmmaker Kevin Abstract was a teenage outsider — now he’s making art that’s essential for all of us.
Ian Simpson works under the stage name Kevin Abstract, and is the creator of young America’s favorite boyband, BROCKHAMPTON.
Abstract is not one to shy away from taboo subjects, continuously speaking out about the homophobia, racism, and other hardships he has faced. The Texas rapper battles drug addiction, heart break, and wanting to escape from society throughout his journey.
At the end of the day, Kevin urges us to accept and love ourselves. Although he’s experienced his fair share of negativity, he’s managed to embrace it all- and create an album that gives haters a big “eff you”- as described in the final track “I Do (End Credits)”
Kevin, like many other Americans, faces the struggles of being unaccepted into society. But as the leading voice for not only LGBTQ+ millennials, but millennials dealing with voicelessness, he’s looking to inspire those to accept themselves with even more music that’s to come.
Beatty is associated with acts such as Cody Simpson and BROCKHAMPTON.
Ryan Beatty first gained popularity in 2011 by posting covers on YouTube. The release of his debut EP, Because of You, which is no longer available on iTunes or Spotify but debuted at #1 on the iTunes Pop Charts, only continued his success.
Ryan came out publicly as gay in 2016 and the album is some of the first work where he is using male pronouns in his lyrics and frankly talking about sex. In his songs, he reminisces about making out with a cute boy at a high school dance and sings about the boys in his life that he shares cigarettes with now. Things have come full circle for the artist who once didn’t feel comfortable or like he was even allowed to sing about liking boys.
Beatty made a musical comeback in 2017, lending his vocals to BROCKHAMPTON on their song “BLEACH.” Beatty released his first song following his hiatus, “Bruise,” the following year, announcing his debut album soon after.
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