10 LGBTQ+ Artists You Should Be Listening To

Representation is important and that’s true not only in film, but in music too. While for some people an artist’s identity may not make a difference, it can be extremely important to those within the LGBTQ+ community to have artists that make their identities more visible. No matter how you identify, you can appreciate these ten artists and give them some love!

  1. 1. Kevin Abstract

    Kevin Abstract is a member of “boy band” Brockhampton and has released solo music as well. Throughout his discography of alternative hip-hop/R&B, he is very vocal about his identity as a gay man. In rap, gay artists are very underrepresented. In Brockhampton’s “Junky,” his lyrics reflect this. “Why you always rap about bein' gay? 'Cause not enough n***** rappin' be gay.” Another song worth recommending is his solo song “Empty.”

  2. 2. King Princess

    Mikaela Mullaney Straus, going by the stage name King Princess, is a 20 year old queer artist. King Princess is unabashedly herself and speaks openly about her support for more representation, saying, “we [the queer community] deserve that representation, we deserve those stories we can cry to, just like straight people deserve their music” in an interview. Personally, one of my favs is “Talia.” I’d also recommend watching the music video for “Prophet” if you want to get a glimpse at who King Princess is.

  3. 3. Lil Nas X

    Yes, if you missed it, the singer behind the infamous “Old Town Road” is gay. Much like Kevin Abstract, being gay in country and hip-hop is not really accepted. While he did not actually come out before “Old Town Road” blew up (and the song was never meant to be a song about his sexuality), he hopes that him being open about his sexuality will be good for fans.

  4. 4. Rina Sawayama

    Rina Sawayama is a 29 year old singer who was born in Japan but raised in London. Her song “Cherry” is fun and upbeat and encourages people to be expressive about who they love. It also announced her pansexuality quite publicly. She hasn’t yet released music this year, but her discography is worth checking out (and please, Rina… release some new music!).

  5. 5. Frank Ocean

    I may be biased because Frank Ocean is one of my favorite artists of all time, but if you have not heard any of Frank Ocean’s music please look it up now (really, any of his songs are good). He started out in the rap collective Odd Future with the likes of Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt. He has since released solo music as well, with his last full album being released in 2016. Frank Ocean has been less forward than other artists about his identities, but fans have appreciated this nonetheless.

  6. 6. Sam Smith

    Musician Sam Smith recently came out as non-binary, choosing to use they/them pronouns. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Sam Smith said, “I've always been very free in terms of thinking about sexuality, so I’ve just tried to change that into my thoughts on gender as well.” As an underrepresented identity in music and society as a whole, this elicited a lot of reactions. Despite any backlash, by simply using they/them pronouns, Sam Smith is using their platform to spread awareness.

  7. 7. Clairo

    Clairo, Claire Cottrill, is a 21 year old singer. Like all of the artists on this list, Clairo is using her music to explore her identity and hopes to use her platform for good. With this, she doesn’t want to be put into a box because of her identity. I’d recommend “Flaming Hot Cheetos” and her album “Immunity” she released this past August.

  8. 8. Holland

    Go Tae-seob, known as Holland, is a singer from South Korea who sparked attention as the first openly gay K-pop idol. In South Korea, rights for LGBTQ+ people are not the same as in the United States; gay marriage is still illegal. His debut song, “I’m Not Afraid” is very fitting as he talks about not being afraid to be himself anymore. His music spoke to LGBTQ+ youth in South Korea, but also those around the world that live in places where it is not necessarily safe to come out.

  9. 9. Ryan Beatty

    You may recognize Ryan Beatty because of his covers on YouTube and early music career. He began by releasing “teen pop” music, but has since branched out and collaborated with artists such as Brockhampton. Coming out as gay in 2016 after a four year hiatus was his “rebirth,” both personally and musically. His contribution to “Bleach” by Brockhampton is what originally got me interested in him as an artist, so I would definitely recommend checking it out.

  10. 10. Lauren Jauregui

    Lauren Jauregui is a former member of the girl group Fifth Harmony and has been fairly open about her sexuality since coming out. While she has been open, she notes that sexuality is just a part of who she is and that “it doesn’t define who I am, the same way no one’s sexuality defines who they are. It’s awesome to be proud of the love you’re able to express in this lifetime. I would prefer if most of the headlines weren’t about [my sexuality]” in an interview. Like other LGBTQ+ artists, her music does not necessarily talk about her sexuality head-on, and that’s ok!

While some of these artists are quite vocal about their identities and others are not, it is important to remember that simply because they are LGBTQ+ does not mean they signed up to be a spokesperson for the community. They are just releasing great music and they happen to be LGBTQ+! Consider checking any of them out.