Lyrics: Thomas Stichbury
Exciting. Inspiring. Kick ass. Uh, rubbery. Just some of the adjectives that can be used to describe the current wave of LGBTQ+ artists, local and around the world, revolutionizing our soundscape and making sure their voices are heard.
In the issue of Attitude March, available to download and order worldwide, we spotlight 11 music stars who are pushing the boundaries and have made their home in our ears.
Of course, we couldn’t include everyone – apologies to those we missed – but queer we go…
wash the street
Melting us with their funky, psychedelic and soulful R&B, non-binary British artist Lava La Rue, aka Ava Laurel, has performed alongside Tyler, the Creator, Christine and the Queens and her pal Clairo. Lava set to reach new heights with upcoming EP Butterflyreleased February 19 (via Marathon Records).
“Growing up, there wasn’t a lot of representation of POC and non-binary queer people more approaching RnB or alternative pop who were championed on the same level as many of the cult musicians we know today. It should exist now.
When I look back in history – in terms of female black lesbian musicians – many had to either hide who they really were in order to be respected, or be out in the open but seem limited as a ‘niche’, defined by that rather than by respected all over the place.
I wanted to see someone who looked like me – and loved me – blossom as a rock star, like all those old white guys from the 70s. And I know there are a lot of kids who feel the same thing. I want to open the windows so this can happen.
Key song: ‘GOYD’
girl in red
A queer icon in the making, the girl in red – a nod to the first person who broke her heart – graced all buzzing lists of “ones to watch”. The Norwegian singer-songwriter (and lover of lowercase letters), aka Marie Ulven, specializes in preparing low-fi tracks, simmered with anxiety, tenderness and truth. We’re, ahem, red for more.
“I started to identify as queer when I was 16. My coming out experience was smooth and easy – in some ways I didn’t really come out to one specific moment, I was just living openly as a queer person.
Key song: ‘Rue’
London-based Seeva holds up a mirror to his experiences as a queer South Asian male, bringing them to life through shimmering electro-pop. He sparked a lot of conversations with his debut album We need to talk (available now) – highlights include ‘Hopscotch’, about his HIV diagnosis.
“I’m pretty open about my HIV status… [but] I had never written such a personal song before, and it completely changed the direction of the rest of my album. There is still a lot of stigma surrounding the disease despite the incredible advances in medicine, so it was scary to put it out, but also incredibly liberating.
Key song: ‘Princess’
Anjimile, who grew up in Texas, describes her sound as “50% indie folk, 50% fall rain” – and we’re happy to let it flow. The queer, trans singer and super fan of Sufjan Stevens recently released his debut album Donor Taker (via Father/Daughter) which, among other things, poignantly charts his journey from alcoholism to sobriety.
“My goal as an artist is to build and participate in creative endeavors that uplift queer and trans communities of color – especially black trans people – and to offer my own queer, black and transmasculine perspective and experience to the landscape of popular music…
“I slowly realized that all of these institutions (magazines, labels, etc.) that I looked up to were actually filled with white cis het guys and white cis het bands, so it’s illuminating. I feel like to stick out like a sore thumb, so it’s a little uncomfortable.
Key song: “Baby No More”
Not everyone can pull off the gimp mask look, but Lynks does a great job. Bristol-born performance artist and producer Elliot Brett – whose new EP Smash Hits Vol 2 (via Interscope) is out now – rubs us the right way with its game-breaking, industrial pop; it was even playlisted by Sir Elton John. Enough said.
“There’s tremendous power in saying, ‘Yeah, I’m scared and insecure and excited. And what?’ I think ‘Desperate and Lovely, in Desperate Need of Love’ is probably my most personal [song] so far – it’s about creating a tinder profile after a break up and it’s basically three minutes and 26 seconds of why no one should ever date me. Potential suitors, please stay away.
Standout Song: ‘Str8 Acting’
Credit: Jeremy Reynoso
Formerly of the duo Toast, Claud’s bread and butter creates pop music with more than a touch of melancholy. The Brooklyn-based star – the first artist signed to Phoebe Bridgers’ new label, Saddest Factory – names author Mary Shelley as a major influence and will release her debut album super monster February 12. Terribly talented.
“It’s funny, in almost every interview I’ve done, I’ve been asked the same question [about how to help more LGBTQ+ artists break through]. To be honest, I don’t know. I always try to “break through” in some way.
I would just say the most important thing is to normalize it; focus on what sets an artist apart because of their artistic choices, not because of their gender or sexuality. And also, a general understanding that even if the songwriter is queer, everyone has the potential to identify with the story.
Key song: “Wish You Were Gay”
Cutting through the noise, ZAND describes themselves as the “Ugly Popstar” and intends to tear down the cis system with their appropriately titled EP. ugly pop (out now). The non-binary trans artist, from Blackpool, turns up the heat on “pro queer, pro trans, pro ho shit” – that’s what we’re here for.
“Anything that starts with, ‘If you’re trans, why are you…?’ Shut up man, I know you’re obsessed with gender binary and pink/blue smoke bombs and gendered toothbrushes or whatever the cis do, but it’s deadly annoying and harmful at this point. rest.
“The only thing a trans person needs to be called trans is to feel that they themselves are trans, that’s all. I’m sick of cis people who have absolutely no instead of talking about us doing it and trying to ‘debate’ our identities: TRANS IDENTITIES ARE NOT AND HAVE NEVER BEEN DEBATED.”
Key song: “Slut Money”
Looking to the holy triumvirate of Beyoncé, Robyn, and Celine Dion (amen, to that), Vincint hits all the right notes. You should already be familiar with the American singer’s work – his uplifting anthem ‘Be Me’ was used in Netflix’s season five trailer weird eye. Further proof that the Fab Five have great taste.
“People are so into sexuality and knowing each other’s status, it’s kind of crazy. It’s never been my thing to address my sexuality when talking about my music, but the positive effect that it’s had on my career inspires young kids to pursue their dreams in music, and honestly their dreams in all things.
“Seeing someone who looks like you and relates to your experience succeed can be life changing.”
Key song: ‘Be Me’
Bow down to self-proclaimed “local princess” Tia Carys. The bisexual rapper, from West London, holds court as a fierce freestyler and she can spit out a nasty turn of phrase – her debut EP EnRoot is out now, and we can’t wait to see this badass boss grow and grow.
“My first physical LGBTQ+ experience was when I was 16 at a Halloween party. I was talking to [someone] I thought I was a boy for a while, but only after I met [them], warming up and joking, I found out she was a girl. I didn’t care at the time and the longer we hung out, the more I fell in love with her.
Key song: “Reflect in Mirrors”
Non-binary wunderkid carpetgarden presents itself as someone who sings “songs for losers like me”. Losing has never looked so good and the Gen Z singer’s future looks very bright, indeed, with his new EP, The way he lookswhich is due out February 10 (via House Anxiety).
“I’ve always considered my gender identity and my sexual orientation to be really unimportant. I’ve always known that I’ll wear what I want and fuck whoever I want; it’s really nothing more than that I also don’t think I’ve ever had a real ‘coming out’ experience, since I have to ‘come out’ to people every day.
Notable Song: “Can Ghosts Be Gay?”
Keep Dancing Inc
Credit: Ella Hermé
Across the Channel, Parisian trio Joseph, Gabrielle – who both identify as gay – and bandmate Louis miss nothing with their catchy electro-flavored bops. Does their debut album Embrace (out now, via Un Plan Simple) make you want to hit the dancefloor? Yes Yes Yes !
“Keep Dancing Inc is all about dealing with the difficulties you face in your life without letting them overwhelm you. We went through that not too long ago when our lead singer decided to leave the band right after recording the album,” Louis tells Attitude.
“We had to record new voices in addition to his and completely reinvent the band. But looking back, we can say it was probably better: we kept dancing and the band never sounded or sounded so beautiful.” (Louis)
Key song: “Could U Stop”
Learn more about these artists in the Attitude March issue, available to download and order worldwide.
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