In alphabetical order
This category is for LGBT+ community’s favourite music artists and looked for musicians who are either LGBT+, or who have proven to be strong advocates of the LGBT+ community.
Rising to fame through her role in Nickelodeon’s Victorious, singer, songwriter and actress Ariana Grande has nurtured a strong following through her powerhouse vocals and catchy songs. Recognisable for her signature high-ponytail, the 26-year-old continues to say ’Thank U, Next’ to labelling her sexuality, causing a stir in her fanbase after her collaboration with Victoria Monét contained sexually fluid lyrics. Grande’s success has won her accolades including a Grammy, a Brit Award, three AMAs and seven Guinness World Records.
CHRISTINE & THE QUEENS
French singer Heloise Letissier, known as Chris, released her eponymous second album in 2018, following on from her successful Chaleur Humaine album under the name Christine & The Queens in 2016. While the first album was bilingual chamber pop, her second, self-produced album was inspired by Michael and Janet Jackson. Chris identifies as pansexual, and won over a Glastonbury crowd the day after the Brexit vote by shouting “This is a free zone!” on stage, encouraging discussion about gender and sexuality. Chaleur Humaine finished the year as the best-selling debut album, and Chris is now working on her third album.
German teenager Kim Petras made history in 2009 when she became the youngest person to have gender affirmation surgery at the age of 16, opening the way for European teens to transition earlier. At the time, she told This Morning that she wanted to be an international pop star, and after raising money to move to Los Angeles by writing a jingle for a detergent ad, she secured a record deal. She became disillusioned with the focus being on her gender rather than her music and launched her own independent label, BunHead Records. Her debut album, Clarity, was critically acclaimed, as was her recent tour.
Born Mikaela Straus, singer, songwriter and musician King Princess released her debut album in 2018, called 1950, which she dedicated to the LGBT community and to queer love. The track was accompanied by a music video showing Straus, who identifies as gay and genderqueer, with a moustache and holding hands with a girl. She has supported Harry Styles on tour and won a Breakout Pop Artist of the Year award from Vivid Seats for her EP Make My Bed. Her debut album, Cheap Queen, was released in the autumn to critical acclaim. She appears on the cover in drag queen make-up and sings a message of acceptance.
LIL NAS X
US singer-songwriter Lil Nas X wrote the country rap single Old Town Road which achieved viral popularity on Tik Tok early last year before reaching number one on the US Hot 100 charts and staying there for a record-breaking 19 weeks. During that period Lil Nas X came out as gay, the first person to have done so while topping the charts. He is the first LGBT+ artist to win a Country Music Association award, and last year was listed by Time as one of the 25 most influential people on the internet. By last summer he had 2.3 million followers on Twitter; 4 million on Instagram; 5.2 million subscribers on YouTube, and 44 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
Born Melissa Jefferson, singer and musician Lizzo was awarded Time Entertainer of the Year in 2019 for her upbeat music that mixes pop, rap and R&B. Her latest album, Cuz I Love You, earned her eight Grammy nominations and features the hit single Juice – accompanied by a video featuring stars from Drag Race. Lizzo, who campaigns for body positivity, told Teen Vogue she was not a fan of labels: “When it comes to sexuality or gender, I personally don’t ascribe to just one thing.” she said. “That’s why the colours for LGBTQ+ are a rainbow! Because there’s a spectrum, and right now we try to keep it black and white. That’s just not working for me.”
Pabllo Vittar is a Brazilian drag artist and singer, who has just released her tri-lingual EP 111 1, with a follow-up, 111 2 due for release this year. She uses the platform of her music to be an outspoken critic of the political situation in Brazil, where the president, climate change-denier and noted homophobe Jair Bolsonaro, is doing nothing to stop increasing levels of violence against LGBT+ people. Pabllo recent told Rolling Stone magazine: “I am who I am: a gay boy, drag queen, super feminine. I speak my truth through my music.” In November she became the first drag act to win an MTV Europe Music Award.
British singer-songwriter Sam Smith hit the big time in the 2015 Grammy Awards, winning Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album, Record of the Year and Song of the Year for Stay With Me. They co-wrote Writing’s on the Wall with Jimmy Napes for the James Bond film Spectre, which became a number one single in the UK and won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award in 2016. Sam came out as gay in 2014, and as non-binary in 2019, telling Jameela Jamil: “Non-binary genderqueer is that you do not identify in a gender. You are a mixture of different things, you are your own special creation. I’m not male or female.”
TYLER, THE CREATOR
Tyler Gregory Okonma, known as Tyler, the Creator, is a controversial American rapper and fashion designer, who was famously banned from the UK by Home Secretary Theresa May in 2015 for the content of some of his early lyrics which were said to provoke violence against women and be homophobic. He has had a change of heart over the years, with his most recent album, Igor, being understood by many fans as being based on his unrequited love for another man. While Tyler has remained quiet about his sexuality, his stage outfit of a blond Andy Warhol-style wig suggests that he has moved on considerably.
YEARS & YEARS
Described as “the most important pop band of our time”, Years & Years are a London-based trio whose signature sound mixes electropop, R&B and 1990s house. Currently consisting of Olly Alexander’s vocals, Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen, the band have spent the past decade headlining arenas and topping charts. Frontman and vocalist, Olly Alexander, also steps up as a voice on mental health, sexuality and LGBT+ rights, with the backing of his bandmates.