Five up and coming queer artists you should be listening to
Queer pop stars are still few and far between but that doesn’t mean there’s not heaps of talented LGBT+ artists creating music.
From a non-binary rapper from Chicago to a female alt-synth pop duo, we’ve put together five new artists to queer up your Spotify.
Nashville-based soul artist Kandace Springs has already had spots on late-night TV favourites Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Gay icon and pop hero Prince invited her to perform with him at Paisley Park for the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain, and said she has “a voice that could melt snow.”
“It was incredible,” Springs said. “He heard me on YouTube doing a cover and the next thing you know I’m on stage with him.”
To other queer artists, her advice is: “Just be true to yourself! Don’t let anyone try to push you to be someone that you are not.
“Honesty isn’t always easy but it’s the only way.”
CJ Run is a non-binary rapper based in Chicago and Champaign, Illinois.
Citing UK grime, R&B and Hip Hop as musical influences, CJ Run was born to a Nigerian mum in Munich and grew up between Germany and England.
“Continue to make music even when only 10 people are listening,” Run advises any aspiring queer artists. “If there’s a microphone and at least one other person in the room: touch it.”
On being a non-binary artist, they said: “You get your casual mis-gendering but that’s usually because people don’t know how to use they/them pronouns or aren’t aware that I use them.”
Valerio Lysander was a finalist in last year’s UK Pride’s Got Talent and featured on BBC Introducing in 2016.
His single Cotton is about the difficulty in accepting different parts of yourself and how they fit together.
He explained: “I felt like I couldn’t be one thing and others in the same body and that I had to abandon one to be one of the others.
“As I keep performing it its meaning is continually changing inside me, so it’s really hard to give it a final definition, exactly as it’s hard to give oneself a final definition.”
Lysander released his debut single Ryan, about an unrequited crush, and as a way of boldly stating who he is.
Selena in the Chapel
Singer-songwriter Selena in the Chapel from Newport, South Wales, is hoping to inspire young people to feel comfortable being LGBT+.
A Pride’s Got Talent finalist in the UK, she told PinkNews it’s important to her to be visible as a queer musician because of the lack of diversity in the music industry.
“Sometimes I’m the only visible LGBTQ+ artist on a local line-up, often the only female too,” she said. “I want to see more Queer and female artists in the spotlight on a local level as well as larger scale events within the industry.
“We shouldn’t have to wait to reach a certain level before we meet artists or see people like ourselves.”
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NIMMO are an alt-synth pop female duo from London consisting of vocalist and co-producer Sarah Nimmo and co-producer Reva Gauntlett.
Growing up in London together from the age of 10, NIMMO cite the city’s club scene as a strong influence in their music.
“We’ve so far had very positive experiences,” they said. “We found London an amazing place to push and explore our identities.
“There’s still so much to achieve for real equality but thus far we’ve found so much positivity in our journey and how exciting it’s been making music together throughout the years.”