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7 Of Our Favourite LGBTQ+ Musical Artists Of The Past, Present And Future

7 Of Our Favourite LGBTQ+ Musical Artists Of The Past, Present And Future

With Pride Month in full swing, we are celebrating people, love and acceptance of all kinds! When it comes to music, the influence of the LGBTQ+ community has been massive- from the 70s queer disco scene to Ziggy Stardust, Elton John, Wham! to current and future stars, let’s take a look at some of them!


Freddie Mercury

When it comes to musical icons, not just within the LGBTQ+ community but any community, you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who hasn’t heard at least one song featuring the vocals of the great Freddie Mercury. One of those prolific artists in music history, Mercury led Queen to superstardom through his energy, powerhouse vocals and eccentric stage presence.

Mercury’s love life was a favourite topic of the tabloids and although he never explicitly stated his sexuality, Mercury had publicized relationships with both men and women, most notably Mary Austin and Jim Hutton. He pushed gender boundaries with his outfits and even naming the band Queen, which at the time was a derogatory term for gay men.

Freddie Mercury passed away in 1991 due to complications with AIDS, but his music lives on strong.


George Michael

Whether you know him as a solo act or as one-half of Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley, hits like ‘Faith’ and ‘Careless Whisper’ have ensured that Michael’s soulful voice, catchy melodies and heartfelt lyrics transcend time and generations. From the upbeat and high-spirited disco anthems of Wham! to the more mature sound of his later career, George Michael’s impact on music is comparable to few others.

George Michael came out as gay in 1998 following an arrest for public lewdness, much to the heartbreak of many teenage girls who had his photo hanging on their bedroom walls. In his later years, he took part in many charitable exploits, including volunteering in a soup kitchen as well as campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights and HIV/AIDS research.

Along with fellow LGBTQ+ icons David Bowie and Prince, George Michael left us suddenly in 2016.


Rina Sawayama

Japanese-born British singer Rina Sawayama was born in Niigata, Japan before emigrating with her parents to London at the age of five. After developing an interest in music and performing through the karaoke culture in Japan, she has released an EP and two full-length albums since 2017. Her music is varied but generally falls under alternative pop and has also touched on rock and metal territory with lyrics about life, love, fitting in, critiques of Japanese beauty standards, and microaggression against Asian people.

Herself identifying as pansexual, she is one of the leading voices for the current LGBTQ+ generation. She made headlines in 2022 for her heartfelt plea for the rights of the community in Japan saying that “LGBT people are human beings. LGBT people are Japanese. Love is love. Family is family. Let’s fight together.”


Tyler, the Creator

Tyler, the Creator interestingly began his career in the late 2000s as a member of Odd Future, an alternative hip-hop group known for their controversial lyrics which included homophobic slurs. His early solo albums fell under the horrorcore genre as he continued to use dark, transgressive lyrics and imagery intended to shock.

Since then, he has described himself as “gay as f*ck”, talked about having had same-sex relationships, and publicly supported fellow Odd Future member Frank Ocean when he revealed a past relationship with another man. Regarding his homophobic lyrics, he has said "Well, I have gay fans and they don't really take it offensive, so I don't know. If it offends you, it offends you. If you call me a [racial slur], I really don't care.”

Tyler, the Creator’s subsequent albums have wholly embraced queer culture, most notably his fifth studio album Igor, which thematically follows the narrative of a man’s love triangle with a woman and another man. He has been cited as one of the most influential pop culture stars of his generation.


The Last Dinner Party

An all-female group on a steep rise, The Last Dinner Party were awarded the Brit’s Rising Star act this year as well as bagging BBC’s Sound of 2024. Lyrically and visually inspired by gothic literature, fiction and romanticism, with intention to create a sort of universe around their music and imagery- even when it comes to fans attending their shows. Georgina of the band said to Fast Forward magazine:

“We want people to feel like they can be themselves at our shows and express themselves, their sexualities, their identities and give them a safe space and the confidence where they can wear these extravagant things.”

One particular novel that has influenced their work is Virginia Woolf’s 1928 satirical novel Orlando, in which a poet mysteriously changes sex from male to female and lives for centuries. References to queer culture can be found in their lyrics, particularly their second single ‘Sinner’, which is about one realising they’re queer at a young age and the emotional complications that can come with that.

Chappell Roan

Another rising star, Chappell Roan is the alter-ego of Kayleigh Amstutz. Whilst Amstutz is comfortably out and dating a woman, she still has the typical anxieties of being young and queer. Likening herself and her drag persona to Miley Stuart/Cyrus and Hannah Montana, she has described Chappell Roan as more open and confident, especially regarding sex, than her real self.

Whilst she released her debut studio album just last year, Chappell Roan has been growing her musical presence since 2014. Starting her career by uploading to YouTube, she released her first EP School Nights in 2017. After some success, her career was put on hold in 2020 after being dropped by her record label. After releasing music independently in 2022, Roan has been ascending the ladder to superstardom ever since. Her debut album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess has been described as a “bratty, wacky record of huge pop bangers” and found itself on numerous Best of 2023 lists. Roan has said that the album allowed her to “come to accept [her] queerness.”

Roan features local drag queens as her live show openers, commenting that “it’s almost like the gays right now have the undertones of punk,” Roan said. “We have no problem making art that’s almost obnoxiously gay.”


Omar Apollo

Omar Apollo’s star has been rising for the last five years. His first EP came in 2018 with a mixtape in 2020, and his debut album in 2022. The album, Ivory, earned him a Grammy nomination in 2023 for Best New Artist, showcasing his growth and maturing as an artist.

His music is mostly guided by love in all of its forms, the emotions and the complexities of it all. Never shy about his sexuality, Apollo’s songs feature plenty of stories and references to his queerness and fluidity, although he is not one for all the labels that come with being a part of the community. He commented, “There’s no need for labels… Queer is, I feel, a good label, if we’re gonna label it.”

This was not always the case however as earlier in his career, Apollo didn’t much discuss his sexuality, which led to accusations of “queerbaiting”, saying “I wasn't super open about my sexuality…It had a lot to do with me growing up in Indiana which is very conservative. I stopped putting pronouns in my music for a couple of years then I just realized, I can't let other people's opinions influence and dictate my life.”

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