10 LGBTQ+ Artists You Should Already Be Listening To

Add them to your playlists, stat!


 

(SPOT.ph) There's still a lot left to be done when it comes to LGBT representation in all forms of media, whether in movies, TV shows, or in music. But it's good to know (and finally see) that LGBT artists are finally getting the platform and recognition that they deserve—not just for them, but for everyone who can relate to them as well. So, we round up 10 artists that you should definitely add to your playlist—that is, if they aren't already there.

 

Hayley Kiyoko

Must-listen: “Curious,” “Girls Like Girls,” “Gravel to Tempo”

Dubbed by her fans as “lesbian Jesus,” singer-songwriter Hayley Kiyoko identifies as a gay woman. She actually started out as part of the band, The Stunners, which toured with Justin Bieber in 2007. She was also part of a couple of Disney Channel movies and shows like Wizards of Waverly Place and Lemonade Mouth. Now, she has a solo album called Expectations, where she sings about having crushes on girls, which she was once afraid to talk about in her dream-pop tunes. “I didn't want to lead with [my sexuality] because I didn't know what people were going to think. I felt like people weren't going to accept me as a pop artist. Not to make myself sound special, but there’s no one out there. It’s scary,” she shares in an interview with Billboard.

 

 

Perfume Genius

Must-listen: “Queen,” “Slip Away,” “Just Like Love”

Perfume Genius a.k.a. Mike Hadreas began his music career by starting up a MySpace page in 2008. His art-pop-slash-indie-rock music talks about his experiences being bullied—because he was the only one who was openly gay at his school. With four studio albums to date, he’s been known for his eccentric looks and his original sounds that take a deeper look at sexuality, his health, and how the world treats gay men.

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Janelle Monáe

Must-listen: “PYNK,” “Q.U.E.E.N.,” “Tightrope”

Singer, songwriter, rapper, and music producer Janelle Monáe has been releasing one great album after the other, and has even starred in critically acclaimed films: Oscar-winning Moonlight and Hidden Figures. She’s been hounded by questions about her sexuality and in an interview in 2011, expressed that she wanted to wait before talking about it. Now, with her 2018 album Dirty Computer, Monáe freely sings about her womanhood and queerness. She has expressed identifying with bisexuality and pansexuality. Monáe also reveals that her sexual freedom has always been in her music, if you listen close enough. (Fun fact: Her song “Q.U.E.E.N." was supposed to spell out the word "queer," instead, though "queer" can still be heard in the backing vocals.)

 

 

Olly Alexander

Must-listen: "King," "Shine," "If You’re Over Me"

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When his synthpop band, Years & Years, got signed to a music label, lead singer Olly Alexander was allegedly told not to talk about his sexuality. It was part of "media training" they went through so they knew what to answer during interviews. But Alexander didn’t follow the advice. Instead, he takes pride in being an open example for people who are also figuring out their own sexuality by using his indie-pop tunes and soulful lyrics.

 

 

Kehlani

Must-listen: "Honey," "Gangsta," "Distraction"

Her first major-label studio album SweetSexySavage was only released in 2017, but Kehlani has always explored her creativity through dance and as a part of a pop cover band called PopLyfe. Her contemporary R&B sound and heartfelt lyrics openly talk about her developing feelings for girls, and in a series of tweets, says that she identifies as queer. "Not bi, not straight. I’m attracted to women, men, REALLY attracted to queer men, non binary-people, intersex people, trans people,” she explains. She’s also worked on a few songs with Hayley Kiyoko.

 

 

St. Vincent

Must-listen: "Los Ageless," "New York," "Cruel"

St. Vincent—whose real name is Anne Erin Clark—was actually part of Sufjan Stevens’ touring band. She puts together jazz, soft rock, and electropop in the five critically acclaimed albums she’s released. Though she’s had relationships with Kristen Stewart and Cara Delevingne, she’s opened up about her sexuality in an interview with Rolling Stone, saying, "I believe in gender fluidity and sexual fluidity. I don't really identify as anything." She also talks about the topic in an interview with The Sunday Times, explaining, "I'm not one for gender or sexual absolutism in the main; I fully support and engage in the spectrum.”

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Bronze Avery

Must-listen: "Leave Together," "Secrets," "Pressure"

If you’ve ever wanted to level-up your R&B-slash-pop game, Bronze Avery is about to be your new go-to. With his smooth vocals and swoonworthy lyrics, you’ll soon fall in love with his upbeat love songs. Growing up in Orlando, Avery was especially devastated when the Pulse Nightclub shooting happened in 2016. “I was extremely heartbroken. Everyone here was. And I was more so shocked that something like this could actually happen somewhere I grew up, somewhere I was literally visiting every week. It was so insane. Not only me, but it inspired and connected everyone in the Orlando area to come together as one,” he shares in an interview with Into.

 

 

Lauren Jauregui

Must-listen: "Back to Me," "All Night," "Expectations"

She may be known as one of the members of all-girl pop group Fifth Harmony, but Lauren Juaregui is also busy creating a path of her own as a solo pop singer. She’s been very vocal about her political stance and even wrote an open letter to supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump where she came out as bisexual and talked about how their actions are affecting "all the progress [they’ve] made as a nation."

 

 

Kevin Abstract

Must-listen: "Echo,""Bet I," "Empty"

Rapper Kevin Abstract caught the eye of fans and critics with his debut album MTV1987, which was influenced by musicians like Frank Ocean and Justin Timberlake. He also founded the hiphop group Brockhampton. His 2017 album, American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story, received critical acclaim, with verses about the struggles of growing up gay and being a person of color.

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