10 boundary-breaking LGBT artists on our radar
Written by Jenna Dreisenstock
With June now drawn to a close; the rainbow shimmer sparkle of Pride Month’s luminous glow has been a celebration in diversity and acceptance for all – the music world no different. Despite every month (even if not ‘officially’) being Pride Month, we thought we’d say goodbye to June with a list of just a few LGBT artists who are glittering on our auditory radar.
We’ve compiled a short list (in no particular order) of some of our favourite LGBT artists we are listening to right now:
Lotic’s vivid, eclectic sound immediately draws the listener into a bittersweet radiance; their captivating personality immersing within genre-defiance as well as the break of gender-norms: Lotic’s gender-fluidity and captivating style blends seamlessly within their striking auditory journey, bold in experimentation and the embrace of the self. Taken from the debut album, Power, by Lotic out July 13th via Tri Angle.
Venezuelan producer and composer Arca bends and twists in tender traverse as he explores a world of avant-pop, breaking the boundaries of electronic music and IDM in experimental bliss; present in lucid imagery in accompanying visual aesthetic, Arca’s eye-catching personality weaves within his sexuality and the intricacies of being part of LGBT community – radiant in readiness to break taboo.
Canadian electro-pop songstress Lowell’s personality sings sweet in her dreamy candy-cane delight; a bisexual feminist, Lowell’s unique blend of tender electro-pop in a hazy reverie, her wax-lyrical shimmering personality breaks through not only in her music but within her words – open about her past work as stripper, Lowell has not only sweetened in embrace glaze but has openly tackled a subject still raught with (mainly) misogynistic stigma – she remains openly authentic to the vibrancy of herself.
Lady Starlight –
Finding herself immersed within the techno scene after growing up as a punk rock kid, Lady Starlight (aka Colleen Martin) perhaps is best known for her work with Lady Gaga. As a multi-talented transgender artist whose journey took her from hard-rock to techno, Lady Starlight’s scintillating personality dazzles through her animated fuse of fast-past beats and dramatic performance art.
SOPHIE (otherwise known as Sophie Xeon) has recently dazzled and hypnotized audiences with her latest album Oil of the Pearl’s Un-Insides; an exploration within avant-pop and a breakaway from expectation met with electronic ecstacy and bold performance art – SOPHIE has shrouded her identity in mystery – until very recently, with the release of her video ‘It’s Okay to Cry’ last year – in which she presented herself in beautiful vulnerability and revealed to the world that she is a transgender woman. Her brilliantly coloured personality, eccentric yet raw and incredibly expressive personality has hypnotised audiences across the world with her latest release and left us in anticipation as to what SOPHIE will bring us next.
Initially inspired by artists such as My Bloody Valentine and New Order, techno DJ Magda began to embrace the underground electronic scene in Detroit as she immersed herself in the city’s culture as a teenager. After joining the Detroit’s Women on Wax collective in 1996, Magda’s style began to evolve through many different genres in which she experimented daringly with various genres before finding her niche in minimal techno. Her style is ever evolving as she continues branching out into the fruits of collaboration and performance art in the electronic world.
Josiah Wise, otherwise known as serpentwithfeet, has embraced the melancholia in exquisite and vivid pain, in the glittering beauty of depression within the exploration of the self: the exploration of sensuality in queerness, in gender-fluidity and the striking blend of Wise’s avant-garde style and image and his blend and break of genre and tone in his auditory. Growing up in a community in which he was unable to explore his sexuality and identity, serpentwithfeet found an outlet in the power and to quote ‘eroticism’ of gospel music; moving forward in growth, Wise’s sound has developed and evolved in the same way in which we explore our identities; from inspiration from his classical training to R&B style ballads to the influence of the angelic gospel of his past – and searingly raw truth.
Often described as surrealist, the unique blend of experimentation and the avant-garde of Anohni’s sound captivates and mesmerises with her incredible vocal style, range and tone: originally identifying as Antony, the lead vocalist of the band Antony and the Johnsons; Anohni has now moved on to explore her own identity as a transgender woman, following her own path and further developing her eclectic sound with a driving style in which she is unafraid to break away from the boundaries of defined genres and enchanting listeners.
Kim Ann Foxman –
Within any music scene there may be a lot of pressure to fit a certain style, to identify with a genre label, follow trends and if immersed in the scene; allow those trends to seep into one’s style, even if it may not be true to oneself. Kim Ann Foxman, weaving her truth within her production and auditory style throws all that to the curb; reminding us that when we immerse ourselves in what we truly feel is right for us, regardless of expectation or pressure – our music speak for itself, with an inevitable attraction to listeners as we present our love, our truths – the sounds that we truly identify with, our dedication to what we want to create will inevitably, regardless of trend or expectation, allow us to connect with our audience more deeply than following trends and labels for success could ever accomplish.
Perfume Genius –
The struggle of what it means to explore one’s sexuality is a journey which can be filled with not only mental struggle but physical danger – Perfume Genius has found himself pouring his experiences as a gay man into beautifully vivid chamber-pop ballads, expressive in imagery and tone – an outlet which allowed him to truly express what it meant to grow up gay. Forced to leave school due to discrimination and bullying, and escape into an unhealthy world in which to cope – Perfume Genius broke out in situations most difficult, allowing his experiences to fuel his musical style and allow for exploration of the self, both in pain and beauty.
As mentioned in my introduction, I believe that every month is Pride Month. Every month should be a beautiful, loving, expressive and most of all safe space for the LGBTQ community to embrace their identities. Within every community, the music world included – homophobia and discrimination has been so deeply ingrained – and it’s time to break through, break out and show love and acceptance for all. These are but a few artists who have been on our radar, breaking out and experimenting in sound – and reminding those who are still unfortunately in places in which being LGBT is not safe, that they are not alone; to embrace oneself is to create truly honest art, and this honesty will forever bring people together.