Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UW Stout chapter.

In recent months, riding off the coattails of the success of Sam Smith, the music world has seen a prolific emergence of young, queer artists. These artists bring voices that are entirely unique in their own right, and it is crucial that we as listeners realize just how important these voices are. As the LGBTQIA+ rights movement continues to gain strength, and as these identities are being realized more publicly, representation is critical to the well-being of the community. For the young, queer person listening to the radio, being able to identify with the music they hear everyday can make all the difference in their lives and experiences. 

Here are the five, up-and-coming queer artists you need to know:

#1: Halsey

Ashley Frangipane, known by the anagram Halsey, is a 20-year-old bisexual, biracial woman from New Jersey. After beginning songwriting at the age of 17, Halsey was signed to her label – Astrelwerks – in 2014. She released her first full-length album, Badlands, in August. Halsey has been known to speak out on LGBTQIA+ topics, including her decision to include a female love interest in the music video for her song “Ghost”. When faced with backlash over the nature of the video, Halsey said, “I’ve been hearing so much about how Ghost is a provocative video, and I put out the same video of me and the lead was a male, if anything there was more sexual content … and everyone was like ‘oh, what a great love story’, and then I put out a video where I’m making out with a girl, and all of a sudden everyone is like, ‘This is pornographic!’ It blows my mind that it can be considered more provocative or near pornographic because of that, which is lowkey why I made the video.”

On top of currently headlining her first sold-out tour, you can catch Halsey opening for The Weeknd on The Madness Tour later this fall.

My favorite tracks: “Colors”, “Gasoline”, “Control”




Known for his huge success as a YouTube personality, 20-year-old Troye Sivan has rocketed as an upcoming voice on the indie pop music scene. His second EP Wild was released in late August and has been praised by the likes of superstars Sam Smith and Taylor Swift. In a recent interview with Zane Lowe of Beats 1 Radio, Troye discussed the release of his video trilogy titled Blue Neighbourhood, which focuses around the story of two boys falling in love. As Troye very bluntly put it, “My songs are about boys, of course I’m going to have boys in my music videos.”

Troye’s forthcoming debut album, Blue Neighbourhood, is set to be released December 4.

My favorite tracks: “Fools”, “Ease”, “Talk Me Down”




Annie Clark, known by her stage name St. Vincent, is a Grammy-winning artist from Dallas, Texas. Clark has been praised in the music world for her distinct “art rock” style. Described as a “private person” by her peers, Clark shies away from labelling her sexuality, saying in an interview with Rolling Stone, “I believe in gender fluidity and sexual fluidity. I don’t really identify as anything … I think you can fall in love with anybody.” Clark has fallen into the public eye in recent months for her high-profile relationship with supermodel and actress Cara Delevingne, who openly identifies as bisexual.

My favorite tracks: “Digital Witness”, “Cheerleader”, “Cruel”




Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander has proven to be a strong voice for the LGBTQIA+ community since his significant emergence in the music scene over the past year. After transitioning from acting to music, Alexander wasted no time being transparent about his life as an openly gay man. He began dating Clean Bandit violinist Neil Milan Amin-Smith in late 2014. When asked how he felt about being a “spokesperson” for LGBTQIA+ issues, Alexander said, “What I’ve come to think is that I can’t speak for all gay people, because there are so many different issues, and experiences, and different shapes and sizes. But I can speak for myself, and that is what I’m doing. If I’m going to be writing songs and giving interviews, I want to be able to speak about something I care about.”

Check out Years & Years first full-length album, Communion.

My favorite tracks: “King”, “Memo”, “Real”



#5: LE1F

Khalif Diouf, known by the stage name Le1f, is an openly gay rapper hailing from New York City. Since stepping on the music scene in 2012, he has done nothing but prove himself with his extraodinary wisdom and talent. Recognizing the intersection of his identities as a gay man and a person of color, Le1f has taken his popularity as an opportunity to speak out against the oppressive systems his community faces. He has been known to openly critique the likes of rappers such as Macklemore, claiming that his song, “Same Love”, was exploiting the issue of LGBTQIA+ rights for his own monetary gain. He also responded to conservative rapper Lord Jamar’s comments about the “whitening” of rap and blaming artists like Kayne and Le1f by saying, “If the whitening of rap is a concern to you, please leave my name out of it. If you think being gay is the same as being white, you are as ignorant as your enemies … Rap started out as a creative response to oppression, and no matter my outfits, I know oppressions you will never understand.”

Check out his new track, “Rage”.

My favorite tracks: “Koi”, “Buzz”, “Wut”

Her Campus at UW-Stout