By: Kitty Cheung, Beatriz Fernandes, Yelin Gemma Lee, and Winona Young
- “Take Me As I Am”
She’s a former model, she’s a current fan of Kingdom Hearts, and she came out last year as bi/pan — Rina Sawayama’s a name in music you need to know. Born in Japan but raised in London, Sawayama is a music artist putting her fresh take on pop. She released her first E.P., RINA, in 2017, and she’s since made a splash in the world of pop and R&B.
The following year RINA was released, Sawayama debuted her single, “Cherry,” which was Sawayama’s way of coming out as bisexual/pansexual. The song is an anthemic pop ballad about her struggles dealing with biphobia and her sexuality, marking it as a musically pivotal point in her career.
What makes it so easy to be a fan of Sawayama (or a “Pixel” as she lovingly refers to her fans), is the original take she brings to pop music. For instance, her first track off her E.P. is “Ordinary Superstar.” She starts it off with heavy synth and drum tracks, but towards the pre-chorus, comes in with heavy electric guitar. Sawayama has a unique sound that isn’t all R&B, all hip-hop, or all bubblegum pop. Instead, it manages to do a dynamic blend that is both retro and futuristic. – WY
- “I Don’t Want It At All”
- “Close Your Eyes”
- “Heart to Break”
Kim Petras is a 26-year-old singer-songwriter from Cologne, Germany. Having begun transitioning at a young age, Petra’s fan base has always known her as a transgender icon and an inspiration to the LGBTQ21A+ community.
The artist went viral with her single “I Don’t Want It All” in 2017, and has recently gained popularity, creating a large and very committed fan base. Lovingly referred to as “The Queen of Bops” by fans, Petras’s electro pop sound has made her a favourite amongst the gay clubbing scene, this group representing the majority of her fan base.
Although crucial in representing LGBTQ21A+ folk in the Hollywood industry, Petras has expressed that she does not wish to be sold as a political statement, maintaining that her main focus is on her music, not her identity. Nevertheless, the star does contribute to the ever-growing representation of this community in music. Petras stands as one of the very few transgender artists in the business, and helps build the exposure of LGBTQ21A+ folk altogether. – BF
- “Got Her Own”
- “YOU’RE THE ONE” by KAYTRANADA ft. Syd
As an openly gay, Black artist, Syd has avoided being known as the “gay singer” for much of her career. Her roots with Odd Future are of particular interest in her selfhood as an LGBTQ21A+ artist. Having come out before the group’s rise to fame, as well as being its sole female member, Syd wasoften questioned for the homophobic and misogynistic nature of Odd Future content. However, it is clear that for Syd, it was always about the artistry — finding how it is you want to be portrayed as an artist, staying away from the drama of the press, and overall, making music that is individually true to herself.
Syd’s lyricism is enticing, smooth, and dreamy, especially when she sings about experiences with the women in her life, whether inspired by heartbreak, passion, or love. While her songs freely feature her sexuality, Syd’s prime focus has always been to write music that is distinctly her own, with being gay but a single layer to her multidimensional work. Her solo debut album, Fin, is a clear indicator of her evolution from Odd Future days, while she openly romanticizes women and supports the gay community..
Syd has released music as a solo artist, as well as with band The Internet, wooing audiences with her seductive voice and velvety R&B beats. – KC
- “Pussy is God”
King Princess is the queer alt-pop singer/producer that emerged straight out of our gayest dreams. The 20-year-old Mikaela Straus is breaking barriers by being outspoken about her queerness through her music and the social media influence that comes with it. In interviews, she is often found expressing her love for queer art and her belief that it is a very powerful and necessary thing.
Straus is one of the most notable rising LGBTQ21A+ artists that are using their art platform to normalize queer love and queer identities. Her newest single is called “Pussy is God,” and it’s a queer game changer. The song starts off strong with the line “Your pussy is God and I love it / Kiss me real hard, make me want it.”
The first song I listened to by King Princess was “1950” which starts with “I hate it when dudes try to chase me but I love it when you try to save me,” and just like that, I was a fan. Then I listened to “Talia”, a song reflecting on an ex-lover, on repeat for nearly a week straight to mend my major breakup feels at the time.
King Princess is on her way to making pop cool again, and she’s going to do it without compromising her LGBTQ21A+ pride. – YGL
Charlotte Day Wilson
- “Find You”
- “Spent Missing” by Froyo Ma ft. Charlotte Day Wilson
You may have heard this Toronto artist’s soothing voice on features with Daniel Caesar and BADBADNOTGOOD. Identifying as a queer woman, Charlotte Day Wilson prefers to let her music do the talking for her. She infuses pop, R&B, and soul, which blends well with her warm, tender voice conveying thoughtful, nuanced, and vulnerable lyricism. With her artwork, Wilson intertwines her sexuality with love and relationship struggles. Her latest EP, Stone Woman, was written after the end of a long-term relationship, the collection of songs being an emotionally resonant homage to hurt and heartbreak.
A self-taught producer, Wilson writes and produces all of her own music. She dropped out out of university to further work on her art, and has also chosen to remain independent, not taking shit from anybody. Wilson prefers to have full creative control over her music, sometimes producing in the isolation of her home, to have that space to fully deal with her emotions.
This multi-instrumentalist is full of free expression which instills a tenderheartedness to the listener. While her soft voice sings directly to the heart, carrying a quiet power, her determination and badassery make her a humble and inspiring LGBTQ21A+ artist to watch. – KC
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