There is no better way to commemorate Pride Month than through music.
Whether you’re sitting on your lonesome at a coffee shop, dancing mindlessly in the comfort of your bedroom or simply working off that burrito bowl you had for lunch, we all need one thing — a bomb playlist to listen to.
LGBTQ+ artists have always been an important part of the music industry. From blues singer, Ma Rainey, to rock artist, Freddie Mercury, the list of the queer trailblazers in the world of music is countless and deserves to be on anyone's playlist.
The rights of the LGBTQ+ community are constantly being questioned in legislation. From laws being put in place that ban transgender youth from participating in sports to the "Don't Say Gay" bill that actively prevents topics around the LGBTQ+ being discussed in school. It's more important than ever to show your pride and support the artists that make up the LGBTQ+ community.
Here are five transgender artists you should add to your playlists just in time for Pride Month.
Canadian heartthrob and folk and rock artist, Lucas Silveira, 42, is credited as the first-ever transgender man to sign with a major record label. He signed the deal with Warner Music Canada in 2006 when he was 33 years old and has since taken over the world with his celestial voice and next-level skills on his guitar.
His use of the mid to lower range in his voice is powerful enough to cause any audience to sit and listen to the intensity and smoothness of Silveira’s inimitable sound. Though he’s also known for covering songs from Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” to Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own,” the casualness of his delivery is admirable and addictive; he truly makes any song his own.
For listeners who like: Folk-rock music, guitar sounds, soothing vocals
Song recommendation: “I’m Your Man” from Mockingbird album
Trailblazer and folk-rock artist, Namoli Brennet, 52, has unleashed her immense talent into the world with 13 miraculous self-released albums. Since her debut in 2002 with her album “Boy in a Dress,” which acted as her coming out as a transgender woman, she has evolved brilliantly as a singer-songwriter. Best known for her poetic lyrics and glittering sound, Brennet is a four-time Outmusic award nominee and was one of the featured artists for the 2009 Emmy-award-winning documentary “Out of Silence.”
Growing up in the late 1980s, Brennet garnered much of her musical influence from the expressive and rock sounds of the era as well as her time in a music school where she studied the classical genre. Brennet’s 20-year-long library of music features a diverse range of instruments played radiantly by the artist like the guitar, saxophone, drums and jazz piano, to name a few, to harmoniously connect with the range of her calmative voice. It’s exceedingly clear that music is Brennet’s gift in life.
For listeners who like: Folk-rock music, poetic lyrics, soothing sounds
Song recommendation: “Marjorie” from “Ditch Lilies” album
Electric-pop visionary from Scotland, SOPHIE, 34, launched her timeless debut single “Nothing More to Say” in 2013 and has gone on to collaborate with industry greats such as Charli XCX, Vince Staples and Kim Petras amongst others. She even helped Madonna, yes Madonna, write her 2015 lead single, “Bitch, I’m Madonna.”
The song that pushed the artist to international stardom and grounded her signature unique approach to music was the 2015 hit “BIPP.” SOPHIE’s captivating electronic sound mixed with her seemingly disorderly pops and boings in her music was a recipe that earned her the title of an icon in the industry.
Her 2018 album “Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides” was nominated for best dance electronic album at the Grammys making her the first transgender woman to be nominated in this category. SOPHIE’s 2017 song “It’s Okay to Cry” was another pivotal moment in the star’s career as it touched upon themes of identity and was the first time she used her voice and image in her work.
It also acted as a coming out for the star as the accompanying music video suggested that SOPHIE was a transgender woman, which she later confirmed. Her rawness and vulnerability have touched the hearts of many fans across the globe.
For listeners who like: Electric-pop, avant-garde pop, complex storytelling
Song recommendation: “Infatuation” from “Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides” album
Photo: Diamond's Instagram
Raised in Memphis Tennessee, ShagGasyia “Shea” Diamond, 44, is a brilliant R&B and soul singer whose vocals transcend her big city. Growing up, Diamond faced extreme pressure to fit into masculine stereotypes despite identifying as a woman early on in her life. The now transgender activist takes on much musical influence from American-Swiss singer, Tina Turner, and worked tirelessly to mimic the high-pitched sound of the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Rock during church choir, which she was often ridiculed for.
Her identity did not stop being challenged well into adulthood when Diamond was in and out of men's correctional facilities for the whole of the 2000s, which inspired her to write the song “I Am Her” while incarcerated.
Diamond later performed her song “I Am Her” at a transgender rights rally where she was noticed by songwriter Justin Tranter who then co-signed her to Asylum Records. Diamond has utilized her raw talent for activism during her ongoing career as an artist. Diamond’s 2019 song “Don’t Shoot” discusses the prevalent gun violence in America and her experience as a Black transgender woman in America. She continues to utilize her substantial talent in powerful storytelling through her music.
For listeners who like: R&B, advocacy, soul, rock ‘n’ roll elements
Song recommendation: Her single “I am America”
Photo: Petras's Instagram
German singer and songwriter, Kim Petras, 29, takes much inspiration from the 1990s and 2000s pop stars like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Kylie Minogue in her delivery and style. As only a teenager she released her first extended play known as “One Piece of Tape” in 2011 and has since released a plethora of catchy classic pop songs ranging from the notable break-up song “Heart to Break'' to “Hillside Boys.”
Petras’s sound falls primarily in the electronic dance genre and should be a staple in anyone who is a fan of the classic pop sound’s playlist. Last year proved one of the biggest years for the artist. Several of the pop star’s collaborations were made popular on TikTok including “SugarCrash!” with ElyOtto and Curtis Waters and “Jenny” with Studio Killers. Also, she earned the title of the first transgender person to perform at the VMAs and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Towards the end of the year in December, she released her song “Coconuts” which acted as a love letter to the singer’s breasts kickstarting the most sex-positive era of Petras’s career. Her fourth EP “Slut Pop” was released in February and garnered an array of angry Karens due to the EP’s extreme sex-positive messaging as well as support from fans for the same proposition.
For listeners who like: classic pop, nostalgia, dance pop, sex positivity
Song recommendation: Her single “Coconuts”
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