Pride’s Path Forward: LGBTQIA+ Artists of Years Present

2021’s Pride Month has been one for the ages it seems. It has never been a better time to be who you are than now. With that being said, let us take a look at some of the music artists that make present-day Pride and queer music the way it is today. Here are only a few of the trailblazers that are a must-listen:



Alt-Rock Queen

The Alabama Shakes frontwoman is something to behold. Don’t be mistaken however, Brittany’s influence extends way beyond the band’s hometown. Her underdog story from when she grew up living in a junkyard to becoming one of the most critically acclaimed is sure to inspire even the least emotional. After working for the U.S. Postal Service, the band released their debut record “Boys & Girls” in 2012. The album, as well as the rest of her discography, tackles issues and the topic of being queer. After she released a few projects with The Shakes, she wanted to explore a solo music endeavor. She accomplished this with 2019’s “Jaime“. The album gives an even deeper look into not only her personal life but her life as a queer African-American woman.

Listen: “Georgia“, “Future People



Acclaimed Queer Songwriter

To say that this artist may be understated is an understatement within itself. Leland, full name Brett Leland McLaughlin, has made a name for himself by crafting a large number of the hits you hear on the radio. The Belmont alum has won the ASCAP Pop Songwriting Award and was a part of Billboard’s 100 Best Pop Songs of 2016. The Sony artist is also known especially for his involvement with soundtracks for queer media. “Sierra Burgess Is A Loser“, “Love, Victor“, and “Boy Erased” are only some of the examples of his soundtrack work. As well as being a songwriter for a number of artists (Selena Gomez, Allie X, Andy Grammer, Kelsea Ballerini, & more), Leland also has multiple solo projects as well. Though he is yet to release a debut album or EP, his singles are just as good as his collaboration work.

Listen: “Run Into You“, “Middle Of A Heartbreak



Pop Lesbian Starlit

It’s rare that artists are a jack-of-all-trades, but Hayley Kiyoko is sure known for defying the odds. The actress turned songstress is undeniably a force to be reckoned with and shows no signs of stopping. Hayley started her career starring in movies and series such as “Lemonade Mouth“, “Scooby-Doo!“, “Wizards of Waverly Place“, and “Insidious: Chapter 3“. Though acting fits Kiyoko like a glove, her discography and musical talent fit just as well. The self-identified lesbian originally signed a record deal as part of the girl group called The Stunners. After the group split up in 2011, Kiyoko decided her music career will be best in her own hands. Her first solo EP “A Belle to Remember” came out in 2013 and was in part crowd-funded. After her second EP, the “Girls Like Girls” singer was off to the races. Since then she has released her debut album, worked with other popular queer artists, and has been an LGBTQIA+ staple in the music industry.

Listen: “Girls Like Girls“, “Curious



Genre-Bending Showstopper

It’s hard to say if there has been another modern artist that has gotten more people talking than Lil Nas X. Regardless of how you feel about him, it’s hard to deny the impact the meme-lover has had on the music scene the last few years is undeniable. From his record-breaking debut of “Old Town Road” and its various remixes to his more current hit “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” and its accompanying music video, his career seems to only be going up. As well as his music, the rapper has also been known to wear fashion that defies all gender stereotypes. The singer, real name Montero Lamar Hill, may be a newbie on the scene but that won’t stop him from running it like a legend.

Listen: “SUN GOES DOWN“, “C7osure (You Like)”



Princess of All Things Alternative

You know you did something when your artist name becomes an LGBTQIA+ mantra. Marie Ulven Ringheim, also known as Girl In Red, is an enigma and relatable young queer icon seemingly at the same time. This implausible milestone was crafted after smash indie hits and praise from artists as big as Taylor Swift. The Norwegian artist made waves with her debut album aptly titled “Beginnings“. The bedroom pop debut album, which is comprised of her first two EPs, would mark a cemented path forward to her breakout sophomore record “If I Could Make It Go Away“. Though we may just be seeing her starting point as she is just now 22, being named this early on as a “queer icon” by Paper Magazine and being noted as “one of the most astute songwriters working in the world of guitar music” by the New York Times is most definitely something to be said.

Listen: “I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend“, “We Fell In Love In October



Transcendental Bounce Music Personality

To be a best friend of Ke$ha and to be able to perform on SXSW, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and Last Call with Carson Daly must be something. That something appears to be a piece of cake for New Orleans rapper Big Freedia. Growing up surrounded by the Southern Gospel-centric, Freddie Ross Jr. found herself engrossed in composing her own hits. While mixing her taste in New Orleans Bounce, Freedia found herself striving for the stage. Freedia has racked up a mind-blowing amount of breakout collaborations. Some of these collaborations include working with artists such as Jordin Sparks, New Kids on The Block, Drake, and Boyz II Men. Though Freddie Jr. works so well with a multitude of artists, her solo work is just as commendable. Remember this article when you first hear about her beyond this article.

Listen: “Karaoke (ft. Lizz0)“, “N.O. Bounce



Decade Spanning Singer-Songwriter

Brandi can travel down any path. Pop to Country, writer to producer, and indie to the world. It seems Carlile has the road map to not only good music but music success. As well as traveling through the music world, she also has done so much charitable work for the benefit of the LGBTQIA+ community. Here are only some of the campaigns and foundations that Brandi has made significant contributions to:

  • The Human Right Campaign (HRC)
  • Doctors without Borders
  • Looking Out Foundation
  • Children in Conflict

The artist was the most nominated woman of the 61st Annual Grammy Awards and has formed an all-star power girl group called The Highwomen. Even after six Grammys and multiple decades of music, we cannot wait to see what she does next.

Listen: “The Joke“, “The Story



Growing Pop Superstar

Starting at a young age on YouTube, Troye always knew his passion to make music and his sexuality were one and the same. Sivan chronicles all of the struggles, achievements, dilemmas, and celebrations of what being gay means. The “Heaven” singer, on his path to showcase the LGBTQIA+ community, has conjoined forces with more people than you would think for the cause. Betty Who, Ariana Grande, Lauv, Gordi, and Jonsi are only some to name a few. Sivan also is not embarrassed to embrace his feminine side both with his music and his fashion. Even after living his original platform of YouTube, the gay artist has collaborated with YouTubers to raise money for The Trevor Project. We are excited to see all the more strides he can make for the community going forward.

Listen: “Bloom“, “Talk Me Down



Bisexual Mother Monster

Oh, where to begin with the queen herself? It can be said that Stefani Germanotta’s discography is essentially the soundtrack to Pride itself. From her loud EDM shouts for equality on “Born This Way” to her nuanced performance of “Shallow” with Bradley Cooper, there can be 100 people in a room but not one like Lady Gaga. The artist commonly referred to as Queen Mother or Mother Monster, has been praised by a multitude of queer icons. As well as conjoining forces with music masterminds, the “Just Dance” singer has been at the forefront of the fight for equal rights for all minorities. Gaga, with the help of her mother Cynthia, even created her own non-profit named the Born This Way Foundation. The foundation even to this day is known to be one of the most famous foundations that help members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Follow that up with a growing acting career, her own makeup brand, and a plethora of pop culture appearances and then you have Mother Monster in all her glory. Gaga describes her work the best, however: “For God and the gays.”

Listen: “Born This Way“, “Bad Kids