Even if Pride Month is going to be a little different this year, it’s still massively important that we support artists in the LGBT+ community, especially those that might fly under the radar a bit more than others. Here are some of our writers’ suggestions of LGBT+ artists that you should definitely check out.
Isaac Dunbar is a great reflection of all the good things the music industry has to offer. The teen pop-sensation has already signed to RCA Records and his creativity, positivity and confidence in his own identity and self-expression is so refreshing to see.
At only seventeen years old, Dunbar has already released 2 EPs full of emotive songs that are incredibly self-aware. Even at such a young age, Dunbar is able to express his feelings and touch upon important topics in a sensitive but tasteful way.
An example of his talent is the deeply infectious single ‘Makeup Drawer’ that features on the isaac’s insects EP. The song sees Isaac open up about his battle with internal homophobia and details his journey to self-acceptance.
Isaac is definitely destined for great things and will continue to blossom as he establishes himself further in the pop scene. Catchy lyricism, vulnerability and alternative beats set Isaac apart from many of his musical peers and make him an artist you should be paying attention to.
“Bitch, I’m back by popular demand”, the phrase that let us know Big Freedia is “that Bitch”. She is the ‘Queen of Bounce’ popularising the new genre of hip-hop in the 90s, and has gained the attention of great stars like Beyoncé and Lizzo. However, the diva has not gained the attention she deserves. She slays the underground gay club and drag scene with iconic tracks like ‘Karaoke’ ft. Lizzo and ‘Rent’, both massively high energy tracks that make you wanna get down. Although Big Freedia has been slaying the music industry for over 20 years, she is not getting the recognition she deserves in comparison to the stars she’s collaborated with. Big Freedia has popularised the music that has enabled stars like RuPaul to keep creating, however unlike RuPaul, Big Freedia’s following is still small and she is only starting to get the respect she rightfully deserves. If you need to boost your pride mood, put some Big Freedia on and give the Queen some respect!
Evading a singular genre definition, Moses Sumney’s work explores intimacy and identity by engaging with our society’s obsession with falling in love. His first full-length album, Aromanticism (2017), is a direct expression of his romantic orientation. An aromantic person is defined as someone who does not experience romantic attraction and the album, as explained by Sumney in a Tumblr post, “seeks to interrogate the idea that romance is normative and necessary.” In a world which positions romance as essential to a happy and successful existence, his work transgresses boundaries which, even in the mainstream LGBT community, few artists willingly cross. Many artists continue to focus on themes of love, equating lovelessness with loneliness, and this view is explicitly criticised and explored throughout his body of work. With influences from soul to alternative jazz, his work is contemporary and dynamic, and a refreshing break from the dominating amatonormative music out there. His second studio album, grae, was released in full earlier this year to significant critical acclaim.
When you think of music created by members of the drag community, I bet you’re thinking of catchy house-pop autotuned bangers like Rupaul’s ‘Covergirl’. However, with the works of Brian Firkus, aka Trixie Mattel, you could not be further from the truth. Calling on the emotional scars of a disturbed upbringing, finding escapism in the art of drag and bringing his troubles to his music, there’s something harrowing to it. The country genre often does show signs of hardship; take the works of Dolly Parton, upon much of which the character of Trixie Mattel is based. Tracks like ‘Jolene’ and ‘Nine to Five’ might seem jolly at first but have deeper hidden meanings. The same can be said with Mattel’s work, with her opening track of her debut album Two Birds, ‘Mama Don’t Make Me Put on the Dress Again’, setting much of the tone. The appalling story of being shamed for being gay may not initially leak through on a first listen, however it does set the tone for one of the few LGBT+ country stars out there’s work.