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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The first month of 2022 has brought an exciting opportunity for new sights and sounds, and alongside these changes, Kingston has brought freezing temperatures! Although it may be icy and uninviting outside, take a moment to embrace comfort and warmth by listening to these 3 queer artists whose music is made to warm the soul! 

Born Tiffany Majette, and professionally known as Orion Sun, the queer singer-songwriter based in Philadelphia, invites us into her world of soulful R&B with a bright ray of her own alternative sound. Orion Sun’s music creates a sonic experience that exudes comfort and safety for queer youth. As Orion was born and raised in a conservative Christian household and kicked out because of her sexuality, Orion understands the dangers and harsh realities that queer youth face. Orion’s music stands as a sacred listening space for all to feel comforted and wrapped in the warmth the queer community can provide. In her 2020 album, A collection of fleeting moments and daydreams, Orion sings about her passion for women and the romantic relationships she’s built with them. On track 5’s “Valentine”, Orion sings about her dream for a simpler time and a better life where her love can be accepted. Orion cries out “So I’ll see you in another life / Another place, another time / Where everything I say is fucking right / And I’m your valentine”. Orion pleads for a romance that’s simple and without the difficulties that queer people face, as she imagines a place where she can embrace all parts of herself and her love story with undeniable confidence. Later on in the record, on track 8’s “Intoxicated”, Orion, reclaims the journey of her love affair and now sings out confidently, as she unapologetically shares her feelings with her lover, aching to show her the love she has to offer.

Rina Sawayama, a Japanese singer-songwriter and actress based in London, has had a gradual escalation into the music industry. As she experienced her slow burn to fame, Sawayama was questioned about her sexuality. In a 2018 interview with Broadly, she proudly declared her pansexuality and embraced her queerness as she declared “I’ve always written songs about girls, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned a guy in my songs, that’s why I want to talk about it”. Her uniquely bold sound drives a charismatic and confident shine on the music industry. In her song “Chosen Family”, Rina addresses the beauty of queer kinship and finding a family outside of your bloodline. Rina sings “So what if we don’t look the same? / We been going through the same pain / you are my chosen family”  to remind us that although we may not have the same upbringings and family ties, our chosen bonds and relationships can help us get through difficult times. Through kindness and support, these chosen families can help us celebrate and find moments of joy and solidarity through queerness, even though we live in a heteronormative society. In her 2020 hit “Commes Des Garçons” or “Like the boys”, Sawayama channels the raw and undeniable confidence in queer liberation. She sings “Oh, girl, it’s okay, you should never be ashamed to have it all” as she reclaims and asserts dominance in her own way. She shares with us that it’s important to embrace all wants and desires as a queer woman, despite the presence of masculinity dominating roles within society. Rina tackles the issue of social constructs and identity in her song. She does this by expressing that the confidence men have in our society, is not only reserved for them and that queer women CAN reclaim that confidence and embrace their identities.

Leith Ross, a singer-songwriter and performing artist raised in Manotick, the outskirts of Ottawa, began their musical journey while studying at Humber College. By their third year of study, Ross had gained a substantial following on TikTok where they shared stories and struggles with their identity and how music has provided a safe outlet for sharing. Ross embraces their non-binary and trans identity and expresses their true self through song and performance. As a young queer person, music became a vessel for understanding and exploring their queerness. Through Leith’s music, they were able to process their lived experiences and share stories for other queer youth to find a safe listening space within them. In “Coming Back to Me” Leith cries out “Last week I wondered if dying would feel like the stories the Catholic church told / but I used to talk to my mother about how I just couldn’t wait to get old”. In this song, Leith identifies their upbringing and questions how Catholicism affected their own queerness and mortality. It’s interesting that Leith uses Using folk music as an exciting new vessel, since folk music hasn’t traditionally been progressive. Even though we may wish otherwise, folk music exists in a predominantly cis and hetero environment that creates a male-dominated narrative. Ultimately, Leith tackles this by using the beauty of vulnerability, soothing chords, and their heartwarming lyrics that sound like a handwritten love letter to the queer community.

As the harsh winter and the constant changes with the pandemic have made it hard to access queer safe spaces and gather with friends, let these new artists serve as a comfort. Head down to the pier for a sunset walk while listening to this playlist, and let the gorgeous vocals and soothing lyrics serve as a safe space for all to listen to.

Francesca Amato

Queen's U '23

Francesca Amato is a fourth Concurrent Education student majoring in Drama and English Literature. She loves music, theatre, poetry, and making personalized playlists for her best friends.
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