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LGBTQ+ Artists Worth Listening To

By Diamond Marie Pedroza
Music Journalist

On April 16, 2021, the queer community was blessed with the news of Angel Olsen, a singer-songwriter, coming out as gay. Four days later, alt-rock musician, Ezra Furman, revealed she is transgender.

The news has led me to not only revisit some of my favorite songs from Olsen and Furman, but to also revisit some of my favorite LGBTQ+ musicians. Below I have included some of my favorite LGBTQ+ musicians, along with a Spotify playlist of LGBTQ+ musicians.

Image via Holly Miranda, The Drums, Against me!, and Perfume Genius

ROCK

Holly Miranda has been on my radar since I saw a YouTube video of her performing her song, “Pelican Rapids,” in 2010. Since then, she has released three albums. 

I recommend listening to her albums, The Magician’s Private Library and Holly Miranda.

Jonny Pierce is the lead singer of the alt-rock band, The Drums. Though The Drums has had members come and go, Pierce has been the only member that has stayed leading the band through the entirety of its existence. 

I recommend listening to The Drums album, Portamento.

Laura Jane Grace is known for being the lead singer of her punk rock band, Against Me!. In 2012, she came out as transgender and shook the punk rock scene to its core. Though her coming out could have impacted the band poorly, Against Me! was able to retain the majority of its large fanbase.

I recommend listening to Against Me’s! albums, Searching for a Former ClarityNew Wave and Transgender Dysphoria Blues.

Perfume Genius is one of the most vibrant and artistically versatile musicians currently releasing music. He is open about his sexuality in his music, and, in recent years, has become more comfortable with expressing his androgynous side.

I recommend listening to his entire discography.

Image via The Magnetic Fields, Rina Sawayama, SOPHIE, and Baths

POP/ELECTRONIC

Stephin Merritt is most famous for leading his band, The Magnetic Fields. He is a musical genius, not only because he is able to play dozens of instruments, but also because he achieves lyrical perfection in every album he releases.

I recommend listening to his song “Strange Powers,” and albums, 69 Love Songs and 50 Song Memoir.

Rina Sawayama exists in a world of her own but can be compared to a young Britney Spears or Lady Gaga. Though she has only released one album, she has received worldwide critical acclaim, and recently duetted with singer, Elton John. 

I recommend listening to her album, Sawayama, and song, “Cherry.”

SOPHIE was a pioneer in the electronic music community and passed away in January 2021. She mastered the art of music production, and lent her brilliant skills to help other artists, like Charli XCX, improve their music.

I recommend listening to her entire discography.

Baths, or Will Wiesenfeld, is one of the first musicians I saw perform at SXSW in 2011. Just like his performance style, his music is fun and eccentric.

I recommend listening to his album, Cerulean.

Image via Jackie Shane, Kevin Abstract, Silvana Imam, and Syd

HIP-HOP/R&B/SOUL

Jackie Shane was misgendered by the media throughout her career, due to the fact that she only publicly came out as transgender when she was 76-years-old. She was popular in Ontario during the 1960s, but her music was beloved everywhere. Her talent was fully recognized in 2017, when her compilation album, Any Other Way, was nominated for a Grammy award.

I recommend listening to her compilation album, Any Other Way.

Kevin Abstract is one of the founding members of his hip-hop collective, Brockhampton. However, he has released three albums on his own.

I recommend listening to his songs, “Empty,” “Echo,” “Peach,” and “Baby Boy.”

Silvana Imam is one of my favorite foreign rappers. She is unflinching when it comes to addressing issues surrounding homophobia, racism and politics in her lyrics.

I recommend watching her short film, “NATURKRAFT,” where many of her songs are featured.

Syd was a member of Odd Future, a hip-hop collective, until she left and formed her multi-genre band, The Internet, with some other members of Odd Future. Her solo music is more explorative of her sexuality than her music with The Internet is.

I recommend listening to her album, Fin, and song, “Missing Out.”

You can listen to these musicians and more on my Spotify playlist:

Featured Image by Diamond Pedroza

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