11 Queer Singer-Songwriters You Didn’t Know You Needed In Your Life
Whenever I’m getting to know someone, I always ask them for a list of their current favorite songs. Knowing that can say a lot about a person, and that’s one of the reasons that I fell in love with music.
Music says the things that words can’t. It gives us meaningful connection.
On that note, here are some queer artists of our time who’ve captured my respect.
- Rufus Wainwright
- Rarely have I encountered a songwriter quite as diverse as Rufus Wainwright. In one song, he could be considered post-modern classical. But within the same album, he’s alternative. And then jazzy. Romantic. Angry. Quirky. His music knows no limits, but it works together in one big, beautiful mess.
- My current favourite song: Poses
- Brandi Carlisle
- ‘I wrapped your love around me like a chain, but I never was afraid that it would die’. Those are just a few of Brandi’s lines that show off her talent as a songwriter. Mixing timeless three part harmony with gentle guitar plucking, she uses music to talk about love in a way that everyone knows, but few can express.
- My current favourite song: The Eye
- Angel Baribeau
- The first time I listened to Angel Baribeau, I cried. Backed by an indie sound, their vocals are somehow powerful and understated at the same time and I don’t know how they’re doing it. They bring out emotions I didn’t know I was feeling, and I think that’s the beauty in Angel. Authenticity.
- My current favourite song: Love is Up the River
- Semler is trailblazer in folk music in one particular way – she’s faith-based. If you’re like me and aren’t religious, you might be a bit shy of her as an artist. But Semler’s music isn’t exclusively about religion. Beyond advocating for LGBTQ+ rights in church culture, she writes a lot about life and everyday people, and she does so beautifully. In a sad, gay kind of way – if that’s what you’re into.
- My current favourite song: Razor’s Edge
- Stay tuned for an interview with Semler in my ‘Music Talks’ interview series.
- Gully Boys
- Remember that late 90’s/early 2000s’ alternative sound a lot of us grew up with? Gully Boys Band are bringing that back, and I’m all here for it. Combining heavy bass guitar with harmonizing vocals, they’re so nostalgic it hurts.
- My current favourite song: Neopet Graveyard
- Witch Prophet
- Cocktail hour music, anyone? If you answered ‘yes’ to that, give Witch Prophet a try. I love the way she incorporates muted trumpet into R&B, lo-fi beats. The smooth quality of her voice sets the tone for contemplation and a sense of curiosity that’s very unique.
- My current favourite song: Musa
- Mykki Blanco
- Sometimes when I’m at the gym, I just need that extra boost to push myself. That’s where the righteous anger of Mykki Blanco comes in. Her messages about transgender activism are changing the face of hip-hop culture, and that’s long overdue.
- My current favourite song: The Plug Won’t
- You won’t hear another artist like Sevdaliza, and that’s a promise. The dark, almost symphonic overtones to her beat drops are unparalleled in any music I’ve ever come across, and I find myself putting her tracks on repeat just to figure them out. She is hands down my favorite artist of the moment.
- My current favourite song: Do You Feel Real
- The Oozes
- In an alternate universe, I’d like to think I’m an electric guitarist in a garage band circa 1985. For now, I’ll live vicariously through The Oozes. With their classically punk, heavy-core vibes, the energy is unmatched.
- My current favourite song: Wanker
- Frances Grove
- I love this band for one simple, niche reason: they are the epitome of that psychedelic dream-pop genre that is so hard to find but makes you feel so good. Think lots of reverb, soft vocals and echo filters. It’s music to float away on.
- My current favourite song: Crush
- Clever Space Plants
- I struggled a lot to find a genre to fit this band into, but I think if there was one, it would be chaos-electronica. If you’re a fan of distorted vocals with vaporwave-like back tracks, eat your heart out.
- Song I’m obsessed with: Femboy
I could go on forever, but I’ll stop there for now. Representation in music is so important, and I’m honored to listen to and write about these queer musicians. Have a listen to them and figure out who you connect with. I hope you learn something about yourself along the way.
These artists are all available to stream on Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube