In alphabetical order
This category is for LGBT+ community’s favourite music artists and looked for musicians who are either LGBT+, or who have proven to be strong advocates of the LGBT+ community.
It’s been three years since Billie Eilish became a viral success with her no-nonsense debut SoundCloud single, Ocean Eyes, which she produced and co-wrote with her brother, Finneas. The song now has 194 million streams on Spotify as of January 2019. Fast becoming the voice for her generation, Eilish’s North American and Australian tours both sold out, while tickets to her London O2 show were gone within ten minutes of being released. Eilish has previously said she is straight, but has a huge LGBT+ following.
Demi Lovato first released music when she was just fifteen, and has since risen to worldwide stardom with six studio albums and 33 single releases. Lovato has had to grow up in the spotlight while dealing with depression, bulimia and being bullied at school, but that hasn’t stopped her from using her platform to talk about the issues that matter. While she has always been active and vocal in her support of LGBT+ rights, it wasn’t until 2017 that the singer came out as bisexual before kissing fellow singer, Kehlani, on stage at one of her concerts, later saying it was ‘perfect’.
Halsey began her music career by uploading videos to YouTube, Kik and Tumblr, before rocketing to success with the release of her debut album Badlands while winning multiple awards along the way. As of January 2019, Badlands had spent 150 weeks on the Billboard 200. The famously outspoken bisexual singer advocates for bisexual representation and LGBT+ rights, regularly calling out those who are guilty of bi-erasure. The singer says she’s worked hard at being a “better representative” for the community, finding the courage to create same-sex music with female pronouns. At our last check, her single Strangers, with fellow bisexual Lauren Jauregui had 21 million views on YouTube.
#20gayteen was truly the year of ‘Lesbian Jesus’ – the former Disney actor turned popstar, Hayley Kiyoko. The lesbian singer’s big break into music came with her video and single for Girls like Girls, which she wrote and co-directed. Next came Kiyoko’s debut album Expectations, which provided fans with an unrivalled and positive LGBT+ narrative, full of female pronouns and love songs about women, giving LBTQ+ women worldwide the role model they deserve. With MTV and Billboard awards already under her belt, this continuously positive and outspoken LGBT+ advocate is going nowhere but up.
American rapper, singer, songwriter and actor Jaden Smith has been at the forefront of gender fluidity, challenging gender stereotypes in the entertainment industry at large. From wearing a dress to his high-school prom to kissing a male co-star in the Netflix series The Get Down, Jaden has continuously sparked dialogues around gender roles and his non-conformity of them. Son of Hollywood couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jaden also featured in a womenswear campaign for fashion powerhouse Louis Vuitton wearing a skirt further addressing his detachment from labels.
2018 was a big year for singer and actress Janelle Monáe, who confirmed she has been in relationships with both men and women and that she currently identifies as pansexual. An important role model for queer people everywhere, Monáe doesn’t hold back when it comes to expressing herself. Last year she released a music video for her song PYNK which featured her wearing pink ‘labia pants’, and in which the head of her rumored girlfriend, actress Tessa Thompson, played the role of the clitoris. On being LGBT+, Monáe said: “I want young girls, young boys, nonbinary, gay, straight, queer people who are having a hard time dealing with their sexuality, dealing with feeling ostracized or bullied for just being their unique selves, to know that I see you.”
Kesha is a best-selling and award-winning singer who burst onto the music scene in 2009 when she appeared on Flo Rida’s number-one single ‘Right Round’, before releasing and featuring on global hits like ‘Tik Tok’, ‘We R Who We R’ and ‘Timber’. In more recent years, Kesha has become known as a fierce advocate for the #metoo movement, after suing her former producer and manager Dr Luke for charges including sexual assault, physical abuse and emotional manipulation. Not only a campaigner for sexual assault victims, Kesha is also a fierce advocate for the LGBT+ community, who officiated a real-life lesbian couple’s wedding in one of her music videos, has since performed three more ceremonies for same-sex couples.
Pop princess Rita Ora teamed up with Charli XCX at Radio 1’s Big Weekend to perform Girls, an ode to same sex romance featuring the lyrics: “Sometimes I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls,” and “I put the lion in the cage and then I laid with her all night.” The song went down so well that Rita wants to release it as a single. The singer has also joined celebrities such as Lena Dunham in condemning the purge of gay people in Chechnya.
His queer-tastic new video to certified pop banger ‘My My My’ amassed 10m views in one week, and there’s a reason why. It’s brilliant. It’s openly, screamingly gay, and yet artsy and restrained. Sweating bodies do everything but collide with one another in a clip that confirms Troye as a musician to be reckoned with. “In short, till recently, there was no way for a major pop artist to be openly gay and actively physical,” said culture bible Vulture… that’s all changed now. My My My is like George Michael by way of Justify My Love and signals a big leap forward for Troye’s career.
Since catching everyone’s attention on Fox’s The Four, Philadelphia-born Vincint has been unstoppable. His debut track Marrow has further solidified his status as an exciting and bright queer artist. The music video of Marrow purposely features an eclectic mix of LGBT+ people from various ethnic backgrounds, and puts emphasis on the message of universal love. Vincint has been vocal about his identity as a black gay man stating that he has had “to learn to be bold and brave and outspoken in almost every part of my life simply to defend while simultaneously glorify all of the multifaceted aspects of who I am as an artist, lover and human. I love being gay.”