As we all know, June is Pride Month, and what better way to celebrate the rainbow flag than listening to some music made by those in the LGBTQ community?
Sure, you should really be listening to these artists all the time because they’re incredible and talented in their own right, but Pride Month is a great way to put a spotlight on these artists, as well.
So without further ado, here are 15 queer artists that should be on your radar. Happy Pride!
OK, so this one is pretty obvious seeing as Lady Gaga is one of the biggest pop stars on the planet. Not only has she been a champion for the gay community, but she came out as bisexual early on in her career and has always been proud of it.
Her latest album, “Chromatica,” debuted last year, and fans are patiently waiting for a tour soon, now that life is starting to get back to normal (well, somewhat). Give the fans what they want, Gaga!
Sam Smith has always been a part of the queer community when the song “Stay With Me” came out and became a certified hit, but Smith also announced a few years ago they were non-binary and they use they/them pronouns.
Smith’s latest album debuted in 2020, and while it wasn’t as big of a hit as their earlier work, it’s still a record full of fantastic songs. Make sure to check out “Diamonds.” It’s a great song.
Annie Clark, otherwise known by her stage name, St. Vincent, has been tearing up the alternative rock scene for years, but her 2021 release “Daddy’s Home” is next-level good. St. Vincent is a queer woman pushing down boundaries and barriers in a straight man’s world, and it’s incredibly refreshing to see her do so.
Sivan, who hails from South Africa, is on his way to becoming one of the biggest pop stars in the world. His latest record, 2018′s “Bloom,” is full of electro-pop hits that are perfect for the dance floor, and one song even featured another pop superstar, Ariana Grande. Sivan has been out his entire career, which just goes to show how far we’ve come from pop stars like George Michael or Freddy Mercury, who had to hide in the closet at the start of their careers.
It’s insane that Petras’ music hasn’t caught up to the mainstream yet, but for the time being, fans of this transgender pop star from Germany are just happy she’s turning out hit after hit. Petras released “I Don’t Want It All” in 2017, followed by many more singles and EPs that show off her electro bubblegum-pop aesthetic. If you’re planning on going to a Pride festival in a major U.S. city this summer, chances are, Petras will be performing, and you won’t want to miss her. Also, her 2020 song “Malibu” is an absolute bop and you should already be listening to it.
Sleater-Kinney is a band that came shooting out of the queer and feminist riot grrl movement in the early ’90s in the Pacific Northwest -- and has gone on to become one of the best punk rock bands of all time. The band took a pretty long hiatus, but they came back in 2015 stronger than ever with the critically acclaimed album “Not Cities To Love.” Fast forward to 2021, and Carrie Brownstein (you may recognize her from “Portlandia”) and Corin Tucker are back with a new album called “Path of Wellness.”
This Australian singer/songwriter came on the scene with her 2015 debut album “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit” to critical acclaim, and went around the world performing her grungy rock music. Barnett’s music is full of twisty guitar riffs that verge on being punk, but her witty and playful lyrics are what really make her a standout. A lot of LGBTQ artists tend to make pop music, so it’s nice to see some representation in other genres of music, like alternative rock. Barnett’s partner, Jen Cloher, is also a fantastic musician and worth checking out.
If you watched the Grammy Awards a few years ago, then you saw Carlile absolutely crush her performance of her Grammy-winning song, “The Joke.”
Carlile has been making incredible music that finds a middle area somewhere between country and folk, but it was truly inspiring to finally see her talents shine on the Grammy stage. Carlile is very vocal about being an out and proud lesbian, and writes many songs about her wife and daughters.
If any artist is going to keep the legacy of Prince alive, it is Monae.
Monae has been putting out Prince-inspired music for a few years now, but 2019′s “Dirty Computer” truly cemented her as a future legend in the music industry. The Grammy-nominated album is full of glossy synths, bass lines that truly slap and enough groovy guitar riffs to make your head spin. Monae also came out as pansexual in 2018, making herself a visible member of the LGBTQ community who younger people can look up to. We don’t see her star fading any time soon. Now we just need a new album from her!
If you’ve watched “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” then you know who this next queen is. Despite a disappointing sixth-place finish on season seven, Mattel took the screen time she had and turned it into lemonade. Mattel competed on the show’s third season of “All Stars” and won the competition, taking home $100,000 and releasing two country albums, “Two Birds” and “One Stone.” There are many drag queens who make their own music, but Mattel is serving up music that none of her peers come even close to replicating. She’s like a real-life doll version of Dolly Parton.
Let’s make one thing clear: Bounce music wouldn’t be what it is today without Big Freedia. The New Orleans icon has been making music since the ’90s, and her impact can be seen on many new artists making music today. Big Freedia really hit it big when she was featured on Beyoncé's song “Formation.” You can hear Big Freedia saying, “I came to slay” during the song.
Big Freedia continues to release new music and play as many Pride festivals as possible. You’ll want to keep your eyes open for this bounce queen, especially her song with Lizzo called “Karaoke.”
Speaking of artists who need to release new music, King Princess is one of them. We got a new single this year, so maybe something full-length is coming out soon? Her debut “1950″ instantly became a fan favorite, especially for those who love indie pop music.
Her 2019 album “Cheap Queen” was just as infectious, and now we can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us.
Tegan and Sara
How can you not love Tegan and Sara? The twin sisters (who are both gay) have been making music for more than 20 years, and their new music still sounds as fresh as ever. Popular songs like “Walking With A Ghost” and “Closer” will forever be fantastic. Let’s hope we get a new album from them in the coming year.
Lil Nas X
Has anyone had a better last couple of years besides Lil Nas X? Obviously, “Old Town Road” was the song of 2019, and now that the out rapper is fully leaning into his queerness, his new material is just so much fun. Granted, his first new single, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” upset some folks, but if you’re not making someone mad with your art, are you doing your job?
We say you be you, Lil Nas X!
Country music is one of those places where there are barely any LGBTQ artists, so when Orville Peck came on the scene, it was like a breath of fresh air. He sounds like a mix of Johnny Cash and Elvis, but he looks like an American outlaw from way back in the day. Plus, he pulls a Sia and doesn’t show his face, so the mystery of who is behind the mask makes him even more intriguing.