From left: Miley Cyrus, Aja, Kehlani, Mykki Blanco & Lynn Gunn of PVRIS
From left: Miley Cyrus, Aja, Kehlani, Mykki Blanco & Lynn Gunn of PVRIS
Getty; Design by Jessica Xie

19 Reasons We're Excited for LGBTQ Music & Culture In 2019

Let’s face facts: 2018 was one of the best years for LGBTQ representation in the entertainment industry within the last few decades. Queer artists such as Troye Sivan, Janelle Monáe and Hayley Kiyoko took mainstream music by storm, films like Boy Erased and Love, Simon put queer issues in front of massive audiences, and shows like Pose and Queer Eye brought joy and education into our homes. It truly was 20GayTeen.

Can 2019 stack up to its towering predecessor? It's only a few weeks into the year, but we can already see plenty of exciting queer entertainment on the horizon. Here are 19 of the things we’re particularly thrilled to see in 2019.

Mykki Blanco’s Return to Music

In the three years since the release of his first studio album Mykki, rapper Mykki Blanco has remained active on social media, keeping his fans updated on his next project. Well, it looks as though that project will finally arrive in 2019! The star teased new music in 2019 at the start of January, and even punched up the possibility of a collaboration with the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna. Here’s hoping Blanco at least lands a guest spot on a new Madonna track.

Miley Cyrus Brings a New Sound

Flipping through Miley Cyrus’ discography, it’s evident that the singer is a master of change, ranging from straight-up pop to soulful country to even experimental rock. So when the singer made clear that she would have a new album out in 2019, her fans genuinely have no idea what to expect. With producers like Mike Will Made-It, Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt on board, this could be Miley’s most eclectic record yet.

Rent Gets the Live Treatment

While the trend of live televised musicals has come with mixed results (looking at you, Peter Pan Live), Rent: Live is one that we’re cautiously excited about. Seeing a story about queer characters living through the AIDS epidemic on national television is important, and getting to see Drag Race star Valentina play the role of Angel is even better. Our fingers are crossed that Rent: Live makes us feel the love.

MNEK Goes International

Despite being one of the most well-crafted pop albums of the year, British star MNEK’s Language failed to receive mainstream recognition in the United States. But the “Tongue” singer is determined to make a wave in 2019 with his first-ever headlining tour through North America. Even though the February tour only has six dates, the star is set to show his continental fans some serious love during the highly-anticipated tour.

Aja Levels Up Once Again

Even after a whirlwind 2018, Drag Race star Aja is not slowing down. In Feb. 2019, Aja will release their first ever album, titled Box Office, less than one year after the release of their stunning debut EP In My Feelings. Aja has promised that fans will be gooped and gagged by their new sound, along with the series of videos they’ll roll out after releasing the new project. Plus, the star also has their first major collaboration with Chicago-based rapper CupcakKe on this upcoming project. Don’t stop them now, because Aja is on a roll.

Kehlani Will Mix(tape) Things Up

In the two years since the release of her critically acclaimed album SweetSexySavage, R&B singer Kehlani has become a sensation. Touring with Demi Lovato and working with superstars like Eminem and Cardi B only opened her up to an even wider fan base, making her upcoming mixtape all the more exciting. Even throughout the trials of pregnancy, the star has kept her fans up-to-date on the progress of her new project, promising fans recently that 2019 will bring “music and much more.” If her recent song and video for her new track "Nights Like This" is any indication, then fans are in for an excellent mixtape later this year.

Trixie Mattel’s “Electro-Folk” Moment

Even after winning RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 in 2018, Trixie Mattel’s greatest accomplishment of last year was her album One Stone. But the drag superstar is far from finished — Mattel is already working on her next project, which she told Billboard would be different from her previous two albums, with more of an “electro-folk” feel to it. With a new sound and new songs, Mattel may be set for a mainstream breakthrough in 2019.

Sakima Takes a Bite of the Forbidden Peach

British singer Sakima made a name for himself in the queer music scene as someone unafraid of tackling any subject matter. With “Daddy” and “Death Is In the Air” alone, he covered graphic queer sex and the AIDS crisis, respectively. But his upcoming venture, tentatively titled Project Peach, promises to be a brand new effort in exploring the minute aspects of queer life. While Sakima has yet to announce a release date for his upcoming work, there’s no doubt he will unveil some new music in the coming year.​

Rocketman Touches Down

With more than five decades of a stunning music career under his belt, it’s almost strange that Elton John has yet to receive his very own biopic until now. Rocketman, the upcoming Dexter Fletcher film starring Kingsman's Taron Egerton, promises to be an unflinching look at the star’s early career, leading up to his breakthrough self-titled album. With the critical scrutiny focused on the portrayal of Freddie Mercury’s sexuality in Bohemian Rhapsody, which was partially directed by Fletcher, we’re anxious to see a new interpretation of John’s career on the big screen.

Donna Missal Hits the Road

After a stunning debut with This Time in 2018, singer Donna Missal is keeping up her momentum in 2019. The indie rock star will kick off her year with her first-ever headlining tour through the United States. Starting on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) in Chicago, Missal’s act is themed around a high school dance, which the singer says is due to the fact that she never got to attend a prom or homecoming as a homeschooled student. With an interesting premise and great music to match, we can’t wait to see the performances Missal turns out across the country.

Kim Petras Isn’t Done Yet

2018 was a huge year for Kim Petras. She debuted two of her most successful singles to date with “Heart to Break” and “I Don’t Want It At All,” shared her excellent Halloween-themed EP Turn Off the Light, Vol. 1, and collaborated with popular DJs Cheat Codes on their track “Feeling of Falling.” But even with a smash-hit of a year, Petras still has more on the way — the star teased her fans with more music in 2019, even hinting at a debut album. Let’s hope she continues this trend and brings out new projects every year.

Vincint Will Make You Remember Him

While many former stars of singing competitions fall from fame, pop singer Vincint has made it abundantly clear that he’s here to stay. After releasing a series of acclaimed singles throughout 2018, such as “Remember Me” and “Mine,” the former The Four competitor seems to be on the verge of a debut project, which he has teased his fans with on social media. After hearing his first few songs, we’re excited to hear what a full length Vincint album would entail.

Sleater-Kinney Teams Up with St. Vincent

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Well, in the case of Sleater-Kinney’s upcoming project, you get something pretty exciting. It was announced earlier this year that the rock goddesses were teaming up with fellow indie darling St. Vincent on their upcoming album, which Vincent would be producing. Their first album since 2015’s No Cities to Love, the new work is already getting fans, and us, riled up.

Ivy Levan Makes Her Return

It’s been four years since pop up-and-comer Ivy Levan released her debut album No Good. After months of teasing and slowly releasing singles, Levan will make her official return in January with the release of her brand new EP, Fucc It. Featuring the singer’s familiar blend of pop and blue-eyed soul, Fucc It promises to be a flash-bang comeback for Levan.

Daya Isn’t Sitting Still

After a more-than-satisfying explosion into fame with the release of her song “Sit Still, Look Pretty” in 2016, pop singer Daya is set for yet another breakthrough in 2019. The star plans to release her highly anticipated sophomore album later this year. If her recent string of singles are any indication, this album will be a darker, but still pop-heavy project, and we can’t wait to hear the rest.

Fletcher Gets Personal

Singer-songwriter Fletcher has always drawn on personal experiences to create her music, but her upcoming work will bring her even closer to herself. The singer’s new EP, due out this spring, will focus on a particularly tumultuous relationship Fletcher engaged in while attending NYU, with each song drawing on a different aspect of the relationship. Expect to see her first single from the new project, “UnDrunk,” coming to you in late January.

Pose Returns to Snatch More Crowns

Seeing Ryan Murphy’s passion project Pose dominate pop culture discussions all throughout the summer of 2018 was a heartening thing to watch. We get to see it all happen again in 2019, as the show, focused around a group of performers in the 1980s ballroom scene in New York, has been renewed for a second season. Back in August, Murphy added that the second season will jump forward to 1990, as the ballroom scene becomes a public spectacle thanks to the release of Madonna’s “Vogue.” The new season is sure to score 10s across the board.

An Unprecedented NYC Pride

New York City has always prided itself (no pun intended) on hosting one of the biggest and best Pride festivals of any major city in the U.S. But in 2019, the city is going bigger by hosting this year’s WorldPride in honor of the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Millions of LGBTQ individuals will make their way to the first WorldPride event ever held in the U.S., making NYC Pride 2019 perhaps one of the largest Pride celebrations in the history of the U.S.

PVRIS Is Ready to Rock

With the release of the 2017 album All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell, PVRIS cemented themselves as one of the premier rock acts of the current generation. Fans are in luck, as the group has new music planned for 2019 — while we don’t have specific details, we are absolutely stoked to see what the group is able to turn out next.

THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.