Pride Month has returned for 2019, so get out your flags and show some love for the LGBTQ+ community! Whether you’re a part of the community or just an ally, there are loads of ways to celebrate Pride Month and actually make it count. In an industry dominated by straight people with heteronormative songs, LGBTQIA+ love can get lost in the sound, but that doesn’t have to be inevitable. Celebrate the fierceness of our community by supporting our LGBTQ+ musicians – and give love to these varied and well-deserving musicians.
1. Hayley Kiyoko
Hayley Kiyoko – yes, Velma from Scooby-Doo! – shot to fame in the build-up to her debut album, Expectations, due to her aesthetically-stunning lady-loving video for ‘Girls Like Girls’ going viral. Out, loud and proud, Hayley has smoothly picked up a fervently dedicated – and, you guessed it, mostly LGBTQ+ – fanbase, who bring huge rainbow flags to her shows and dub her the ‘Lesbian Jesus’.
Even if you can’t relate to Hayley singing about the same gender, her smooth vocals, infectious melodies and heartfelt lyrics will get you singing your heart out in no time.
2. Tash Sultana
Tash Sultana is a non-binary multi-instrumentalist ‘one-person band’. Tash has gone from dealing with drug addiction from an early age and busking on the streets of Melbourne while out of a job to touring internationally for their own album. Theirs is a fame well-deserved.
If you’re looking for a sound you can sit down with and get lost in, Tash is your musician. While a lot of their music focuses on their instrumentalism, their lyrics are deeply personal and heart-wrenching, adding an extra layer of meaning to their already transcendental psychedelic rock sound.
Moving along to heavier music, PVRIS is an aesthetically-pleasing alternative rock band headed by the lesbian Lynn Gunn, a stand-out LGBTQ+ figure within the alternative rock scene.
Although PVRIS do play some happier songs, they prefer to accentuate their dark, slightly otherworldly aesthetic with deeply personal lyrics about breakups or struggles with depression. Lynn’s ability to switch from the light ethereal to the dark and the rough through the texture of her voice gives PVRIS a fascinating edge to their lyrics.
4. Mykki Blanco
Mykki Blanco is a transgender and multi-gendered ‘punk’ rapper, poet, performative artist and activist. As an explosive, aggressive and liberating musician, Mykki defines the ‘queer’ even if he may not totally accept the label of ‘queer rap’; he is the pinnacle of self-definition in an era of queer individuality.
Recently, Mikky featured as Joan of Arc in Madonna’s video ‘Dark Ballet’. If you want to stray from the beaten path of pop mainstream, then Mykki is the person for you.
5. The Aces
Sometimes described as the ‘love-children of HAIM and The 1975’, but undoubtedly owning their own separate sound, The Aces have managed to find a niche in bright-sounding indie pop written and performed solely by women. The four-piece, who have been together since high school, are still starting out, but have already released an album and toured America.
The drummer and singer, Alisa and Cristal Ramriez respectively, are both queer, but do not want The Aces to be thought of as a gay band. Instead, they let the music do the talking: catchy vocals, bright guitar-focused structures and energetic beats make The Aces a sure fire way to spice up your Pride playlist.
Perhaps best known for his songs ‘Bloodstain’ and ‘Ten Feet Tall’, Wrabel is a gay singer and songwriter from LA who connects a haunting take on pop with open, honest lyrics. As well as releasing his own songs, he has written songs for various top artists, including Ellie Goulding and Pentatonix.
Listening to Wrabel is the right choice for anyone who wants to share a moment with their music. His desperately soulful voice is bound to pin you to the spot and make you appreciate the sentiment behind his words. In particular, his song ‘The Village’, written about a transgender person in a close-minded community, pays particular homage to the LGBTQ+ community.
7. Janelle Monáe
Janelle Monáe has been an embedded part of the music industry for twelve years now. A born innovator, she debuted her ‘android’ persona for ten years, combining music with performance art and expanding the boundaries of pop, funk, R&B and soul to create truly special audio-visual experiences.
This is much the same twelve years on, though recently Janelle has embraced authenticity over android persona and came out as pansexual. Consistently creative, challenging and electric, Janelle Monae is an easy pick to elevate your Pride Month playlist to a whole new level.
8. King Princess
The genderqueer multi-instrumentalist King Princess has not been around on the music scene for long, but like Hayley Kiyoko, her outspokenness about her lesbianism has gained her respect and adoration.
While Kiyoko embodies a heavy, saturated pop sound, King Princess is heavy in another way: guitar-focused and mellow, her music is nonetheless dripping in sentiment. Citing influences such as Led Zeppelin and Jack White, King Princess embraces the more alternative side to pop, opting for the slow dance and the slow feelings. Authentic to the very core, King Princess is a perfect musician to listen to at the end of the night.
9. Kevin Abstract
Perhaps best known for his involvement in the ‘world’s best boyband’ Brockhampton and for his prior releases – and for being a meme – Kevin Abstract is an alternative hip hop artist from Texas.
With influences like Frank Ocean and Kanye West, Kevin’s music proves to be popular with mainstream audiences interested in rap – Brockhampton, especially, has a loyal fanbase in American teens in particular for having a fresh and interesting outlook specifically more relatable to the generation of today.