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Pride in Music

Pride Month is here, and in case you need some suggestions for your Pride and summer playlists, I have quite the list of queer artists and bands in a variety of genres for you to check out.

We’ll start with some icons, like Queen, of which the lead singer, Freddie Mercury, was gay or bisexual (those he was close to have said both). Obviously, Queen has some incredible classic rock hits like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Somebody to Love”, but there are over a decade's worth of albums to sort through. Despite the loss of their lead singer, guitarist, and drummer, Brian May and Roger Taylor have still toured over the years with Adam Lambert providing the vocals, who is another out gay artist.

If you’re looking for something more modern, you can’t go wrong with Lady Gaga, who has long been referred to as a gay icon. Gaga herself is bisexual, and she has been a longtime outspoken supporter of the LGBTQ+ community.

Some more pop artists you may be familiar with are Sam Smith, who came out as gay in 2014 and as nonbinary in 2019, and Kim Petras, who is a trans woman. The two recently collaborated, creating the song “Unholy”, which you’ve likely heard overplayed on the radio. Both musicians have quite the discography and are worth looking into. Smith released an album, Gloria, earlier this year, and Petras has an album set to release on June 23rd.

Frank Ocean is another amazing queer artist, and the singer has chosen to go without labels when it comes to his sexuality. Frank Ocean has two full-length albums and an assortment of collaborations with other artists such as Tyler, the Creator and Jay-Z. One of his most popular and explicitly queer songs is “Chanel”, off his 2016 album Blonde. Fingers crossed we get a new album sometime soon…

Moving into the realm of R&B and soul, there’s the incredible Janelle Monáe. Monáe has stated in the past that they identify with both bisexuality and pansexuality, and they recently came out as nonbinary, using they/she pronouns. Some of her hits include “I Like That” and “Make Me Feel” from her 2018 album, Dirty Computer. Monáe also has a new album titled The Age of Pleasure set to release on June 9th (just in time for Pride festivities) and just released the unapologetically sapphic song called “Lipstick Lover”.

Dua Saleh is another queer and nonbinary R&B/soul artist, and if you’ve seen Netflix’s Sex Education, you would have seen them playing Cal in the show’s most recent season. Dua Saleh has several EPs and singles that vary between pop and R&B, and xe released three singles last year: “Macrodosing”, “i belong to you”, and “Chosen”.

More alternative/indie is the supergroup known as boygenius, containing Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker. Bridgers and Dacus are both bisexual, and Julien Baker is a lesbian. The three have rich solo careers, and boygenius allows the three to combine their songwriting talents as well as show off their vocals in three-part harmonies. The group released the record, their first album, in March, which is quite the emotional journey. Some more (rhythmically) upbeat picks include “Not Strong Enough”, “Satanist”, and “Anti-Curse”.

Another artist that has risen in popularity within the past year is Ethel Cain, whose 2022 album Preacher’s Daughter gained her quite the following. Her album concepts are quite dark, and Preacher’s Daughter especially follows a narrative that could easily be turned into a horror movie. Cain herself is trans and bisexual. Though most of her music is not exactly the kind you can dance to, her most popular and most upbeat-sounding song from her album is “American Teenager”.

Rainbow Kitten Surprise should come as no surprise as being a queer band, with both the lead singer and bassist being out as trans. I was introduced to this alt-rock band through one of my high school teachers who knew just how to get my attention by telling me about the band’s queer members, and I have grown to love this group. You may have heard their top hit “It’s Called: Freefall” from their album How To: Friend, Love, Freefall, and they just released a single in April, titled “Drop Stop Roll”.

Two smaller indie pop artists who mainly got their start online are Chloe Moriondo and Leith Ross. Chloe Moriondo is an indie/alt-pop artist who started out posting covers on Youtube. She has since released three albums and several singles. Moriondo is unlabeled and uses she/they pronouns. Some of their hits include “I Want To Be With You” and “Fruity”. Leith Ross gained popularity after their song “We’ll Never Have Sex” went viral on TikTok in 2021, which has since been added to their newest full-length album To Learn, More, which was released in May.

Chloe Moriondo

Leith Ross

If you’re looking for something a little heavier, Against Me! is a punk rock group with a trans lead singer, Laura Jane Grace. One of their most popular albums is the 2014 Transgender Dysphoria Blues, which includes several hits including a song with the same name and “True Trans Soul Rebel”.

The pop-punk band Meet Me @ The Altar, of which two out of the three members identify as gay. The band released their debut album in March, titled Past // Present // Future, which contains some of their top songs, such as “Kool” and “Say It (To My Face)”. Another prominent song from their discography is their 2021 single “Hit Like A Girl”.

Lastly, the queer rock trio, Pinkshift, whose debut album Love Me Forever was released last year. The band had previously released an EP in 2021, Saccharine, with their top songs “I’m Gonna Tell My Therapist On You” and “Mars”. Their album also has guitar-heavy hits like “i’m not crying you’re crying” and “GET OUT”.

Happy listening! I hope everyone has a fun and safe Pride Month.

Written by Alec Conwell

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