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Diversify your playlist: 2SLGBTQIA+ Edition

June 13, 2022

As part of Pride Month, it's important to celebrate and highlight the accomplishments of the queer community! Over decades, queer musicians have made an impact on the music industry from Freddie Mercury to Miley Cyrus. Music is one of many ways for people to express their inner thoughts and feelings. It’s a way our community has been able to share worldly experiences, explore gender and inspire the next generation to be unapologetically proud. By singing about queer love, we are normalizing the diversity of relationships experienced by humans and opening a dialogue. This playlist is a list of some of my favourite queer artists that I would love to share with you. There is something for everyone; I have New Wave, Hip-hop, electric dance and even Christian folk! Spend the next 30 minutes listening and exploring the genre-redefining of queer music.

Breathe by Years & Years (3:53) Dance/ Electronic

Originally consisting of Mikey Goldsworthy, Emre Türkmen and Olly Alexander; Years & Years'' is currently a solo project with Mikey. When the band was signed, Olly was advised to stay quiet about his sexuality but he had ignored this advice. Struggling with depression and anxiety at a young age, Olly had grown up like many 2SLGTBQIA+ youths believing “gay was not normal” but the process of coming out helped improve his mental health. He recounts this experience in a BBC documentary called “Growing Up Gay”.

Love Shack by B-52s by The B-52s (5:20) New Wave

Known as Queer music pioneers, the B-52s were a new wave band, that started in the late 70s with hits such as Love Shack, Rock Lobster, Roam and many more. The band has changed over time with the original members being Fred Schneider, Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson, Kate Pierson and Keith Strickland; four out of the five original members identified under the queer umbrella in one way or another. Their band grew in popularity during the AIDS crisis, in which Ricky Wilson had passed due to AIDS-related illness in ’85. Kera Bolonik (2018) notes in their The B-52s On a 40-Year Career as LGBTQ Pioneers, and the Tragedy That Almost Cut It Short article, “At the time, the message that LGBTQ kids like me took from them felt urgent and necessary: Weird is good -- and it’s where the party’s at”.

Chicken by Semler (3:20) Christian folk

Grace “Semler” Baldridge is a genderqueer non-binary lesbian who describes themselves as a “faithfully skeptical Christian”. As queer activists who grew up in the church, they focus on the conflict between faith and science through their music, podcast and documentaries. Famously known for their State of Grace series, Grace shares their experience as the daughter of an episcopal priest and dives into the world of celebrity-endorsed megachurches from a 2SLBTQ+ perspective, the complex relationship with Christian music, and the experience of the trans people in the church. They are a great addition for all, religious or not, as they touch on so many different experiences and tend to have an uplifting we-are-all-in-this-together vibe.

Old-Timey Grey Eagle by Jake Blount (2:39) Contemporary Folk

Jake Blount is a queer person of colour who creates music in addition to his scholar and activist work where he takes the intersections of his identities to tell stories as seen in his release of Spider Tales. Jake described their music as “Banjo and fiddle music from black and Indigenous communities and the southeastern United States”. As part of the series Decolonizing the Music Room, Brandi Waller-Pace sits down with Jake to speak more about his inspirations and life story; I highly recommend reading it here. Jake is a great on any playlist as a spiritually uplifting addition.

Somebody I F*cked Once by Zolita (3:04) Pop

Zoë “Zolita” Hoetzel is a sapphic singer and songwriter best known for her self-directed music videos that accompany much of her music such as Holy, Fight Like a Girl and Someone I F***ed Once. In an interview with Flaunt, she explains this decision to direct as “I feel like sometimes non-queer people direct queer movies and try to tell the audience how they should feel about us.” Much of her music reads like a love letter to affirm the listener in their own sexuality or the validity of continuing to discover themselves.

Meadows in Japan by Dreamer Isioma (2:48) R&B

Dreamer Isioma is a self-proclaimed nonbinary Rockstar coming in with an amazing alternative R&B sound heavily influenced by their Nigerian-American heritage. Dreamer is part of a group we call young DIY musicians who make music out of their bedroom, use social media as a springboard into stardom and thrive on musical experimentation; many people first hear their music on TikTok. Another great addition to Dreamer's discography is “Stop calling the Police on Me”.

Broken Glass by Kygo & Kim Petras (3:23) Electronic Dance Music/ Pop

As one of the youngest people to receive gender confirmation surgery, Kim Petras has been paving the way in more ways than one as a trans artist. In an interview, Kim stated “I’m proud to be a transgender woman. And I think that’s what Pride is all about. Just celebrating how far the 2SLGTBQIA+  community has come as a whole. And then also celebrating your personal journey.” She has been very vocal on the fact that gender is only a footnote as many labels had tried to center their advertising of her music around this one aspect of her.

New Emotion by The Aces (3:01) Alternative/Indie

The Aces are an Indie pop band from the United States consisting of four members: Katie Henderson, McKenna Petty, Alisa Ramirez and Cristal Ramirez. Three of the four members identify under the 2SLGTBQIA+ umbrella and have struggled to find ways for that identity to live in their music. In an interview with BBC, sisters Alisa and Cristal spoke on the use of pronouns in their music and how avoiding using any would feel untruthful. Their upbeat Indie pop songs are great for any occasion, especially a road trip!

Adieu by Coeur de Pirate (2:27) Pop    

Quebecoise bisexual, Béatrice Martin is the front woman of Coeur de Pirate (pirate’s heart) along side Alexandre Gauthier, Marianne Croft, Renaud Bastien, Vincent Carré, and Ariane Vaillancourt. Adieu is a song that I fondly remember from grade 9 French class in which we spoke about the meaning of the word “adieu”. In English, we would translate this as goodbye but there is so much more behind it that cannot be fully expressed in one word. It describes good wishes for someone as they are leaving; in the song, she is describing a toxic relationship in which she is telling them this is the end with no hope of them getting back together.

Montero (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X (2:17) Hip-Hop/Rap

Montero Hill, best known by his stage name of Lil Nas X, is a Black queer man who has taken the world by storm with hits like Old Town Road, Industry Baby and Montero. In 2019 on the last day of Pride Month, after seeing massive success with Old Town Road, he publicly came out as gay to his Twitter followers stating “some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone f.w.m. no more. But before this month ends I want y’all to listen closely to c7osure. 🌈🤩✨”. As expected, there was a massive backlash from the country and hip-hop communities as they have a long history of being an unsafe space for 2SLGBTQ+ individuals even in the 21st century. By publicly coming out, Lil Nas X was looking to create a safe space for others to come up in this industry as well.

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