As the end of #20GAYTEEN draws nearer, it’s time to take a look back at the queer artists who proved the hashtag true. These are all the artists who identify somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum and put out some pretty incredible music.
From Janelle Monáe’s groundbreaking Dirty Computer to sophomore album from Aussie artists Courtney Barnett and Troye Sivan, we’ve seen an onslaught of beautiful and openly queer music.
Janelle Monáe announced to the world she is “a free-ass mother fucker” in an interview with rolling stone which coincided with the release of her deeply personal album Dirty Computer. For the first time Monáe stripped away the character of Cindy Mayweather and shared music of her truth and experiences as a queer black woman in America…
…Also, pussy pants.
This former Disney star released her debut album Expectations this year and it is full of pop bops about girls who like girls. The singer pretty much started the whole #20GAYTEEN thing and she pulled through.
2018 saw Troye Sivan evolve into the fully fledged queer-pop icon we always knew he could be. His second album Bloom is an exploration of being young and exploring your sexuality, and falling in love. Also the video for the title track really is one of the best queer-affairs of the year.
Christine and the Queens
Just two years since bursting into the global spotlight with their self-titled english debut album back in 2016, Christine and the Queens returned this year with a new album, a new persona, and a lot to sing about.
Across 11 tracks the artist sings about desire, gender, sexuality, and more, pushing aside the fear of Héloïse Letissier’s first record and showcasing a confident new side to the LGBTQ+ artist.
This year saw Sophie break away from the shadows of her PC Music collaborators as well as the artists she has produced for and step fully forward into the spotlight as an iconic pop artist entirely in their own right. Their album Oil Of Every Pearl’s un-insides was released in June and is one of the most acclaimed albums of the year and even received a Grammy nomination for best dance album.
The artist also announced they had been working with Lady Gaga on her next record, so let’s all mentally and physically prepare for that.
Another queer Australian icon, Barnett released her sophomore album Tell Me How You Really Feel this year and it’s incredible. Since the release she’s pretty much been on tour non-stop around the world and killing it.
Mark Ronson’s prodigy became a worldwide phenomenon this year with her debut EP release. The 18 year old has a voice and ability to create complex and personal music far beyond her eighteen years of age and tracks like “Talia” and “1950” helped her earn fans around the world.
Following the success of the EP, she released “Pussy Is God” and gave the queers a last minute #20GAYTEEN anthem we didn’t know we needed in the young LGBTQ+ community.
These guys had a massive year touring behind their second album Bats, but still managed to find time to write a new album as well. The lead single for their upcoming self-titled album “Sometimes” is a glittering track like we’re used to from the group. The new album will be out early next year and we are so excited to hear what they’ve put together.
Oh also two LGBTQ+ members of Cub Sport Tim Nelson and Sam Netterfield got married (to each other) earlier this year so that’s also very iconic and queer.
Years & Years (Olly Alexander)
Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander has never been afraid to hide his sexuality, but with their new album Palo Santo and the corresponding visuals, Alexander put sexuality, same-sex desire, and equality at the forefront.
Beyond the music, Alexander’s continued work as an advocate and leader amongst young LGBTQ+ people is consistently inspiring and important.
After some time away after her incredible debut album Glorious Heights, Montaigne returned just a few months ago with the incredible new track “For Your Love”. The haunting, genre-defying track announced the young Aussie’s return proving she means business.
Rita Ora got a lot of flack earlier this year for her track “Girls”. The internet did it’s thing and reared it’s ugly head accusing Ora of using bisexuality to create a song appealing to straight men. It was dumb and completely undermined the fact that Rita Ora has been open about her sexuality and being part of the LGBTQ+ community for years.
Outside of the fact that “Girls” is a killer bop, Ora also released her second album this year after a years of fighting with her previous label Roc Nation. Phoenix is a pop music blessing and Rita Ora is a queer icon.