It’s no secret that love songs sell. The top hits of today often focus on heartache, break ups, first love, and more. These tracks do well because the perils of love are familiar to everyone. However, as a member of the LGBT community, these typically heterosexual relationship-centered songs can feel a bit repetitive. While I like listening to Taylor Swift sing about her ex-boyfriends as much as the next person, it can be a little hard to relate. Fortunately, there has been an increase in the number of queer artists in mainstream media, providing people like me with the representation we need. Here are five up-and-coming queer artists you need to watch.
With the release of her debut album Immunity, 22-year-old Clairo is quickly becoming popular. Announcing her sexuality on Twitter in 2018, Clairo is comfortable with her fans knowing that she likes both girls and boys. One of her more recent songs, “Sofia,” addresses the first time she had a crush on a girl. Clairo’s lyrics are intentional and carefully chosen, making it difficult not to resonate with at least one of her songs. In an interview with Them, Clairo says she hopes to use her platform to provide her fans with a positive space to deal with their sexuality and mental health. These songs are subtle, soft, and catchy, and are definitely worth checking out.
Recommended Song: “Bags”
- Ryan Beatty
Ryan Beatty’s music is unique and makes you want to dance. The 24-year-old singer might be recognized for his collaboration with the boy band BROCKHAMPTON, but Beatty’s solo work is dreamy in all of its own ways. His debut album, Boy in Jeans, grapples with topics of unrequited love and coming out of the closet. Beatty’s music is full of groovy beats and belt-worthy lyrics. These songs also give a voice to young gay men, providing them with high energy tunes they can relate to.
Recommended Song: “Haircut”
- King Princess
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, King Princess is not shy about who she is as an individual. With songs such as “Pussy is God,” there is no denying KP’s sexuality. King Princess has quickly become an icon in the gay community, and her tracks are finding their way onto many top charts. In an interview with Vice, when asked about writing about women in her music she stated, “Yeah, I’m gonna put f*cking female pronouns in my songs. It doesn’t make any sense for me to hide that part of myself. I needed to do it to help love myself… I needed to be true to it.” KP’s work is unapologetic and raw, easily making her one of my favorite artists.
Recommended Song: “Holy”
San Francisco born Ieuan is a small London based artist that everybody needs to listen to. Iuean’s songs are filled with synth chords and heavy beats, perfect for headbanging and jumping around your room. Coming out at age 11, Ieuan understands the importance of LGBT representation. When interviewed by OnesToWatch, Ieuan said “I don’t know many people who have had a gay childhood. It inspired me to put some of that strange energy into my songs.” Iuean’s EP, TECHNICOLOR Vol. 1, is full of songs about religion and queer love. The production on these songs is insane, contributing to why I love this singer so much.
Recommended Song: “Love It When You Love Me”
25-year-old Fletcher is another gay icon who isn’t shy about who she loves. After seeing her open for another artist in May of 2019, I was immediately drawn to Fletcher’s music. Fletcher’s tunes focus on heartbreak and getting over exes. The recent release of her EP, you ruined new york city for me, emphasizes Fletcher’s vocal range. Her lyrics are vulnerable and emotional. Paired with catchy melodies and beats, these songs are perfect if you’re in your feels or if you just want to dance.
Recommended Song: “About You”