It’s not often that artists come out to their families through song, but that’s exactly what Gia Woods did with her song “Only a Girl” back in 2015. Since then, the young star has been providing her fans with a steady stream of pop jams, only further proving that she is on the precipice of becoming the next big name in pop music.
Sounds like: The queer lovechild of Dua Lipa and Lorde
Check out: “New Girlfriend,” “One Big Party”
Siena Liggins’ brand of bubblegum pop makes her a perfect candidate for your summer playlists — whether it’s going to the beach or having a picnic with friends, Liggins’ pristine vocals offer the perfect soundtrack to the summertime.
Sounds like: The voice of Britney Spears singing the discography of Carly Rae Jepsen with the confidence of Mariah Carey
Check out: “Laws of Attraction,” “Flowerbomb”
Trans artist and activist Mila Jam refuses to shy away from the important issues she cares about, especially in her music. If you’re looking for an artist aiming to make social change with her music, then Mila Jam is the person you need on your next playlist ASAP.
Sounds like: Pop-tinged R&B music in the vein of H.E.R. & SZA
Check out: “Bruised,” “Twilight Zone”
Even if you haven’t lived their specific experience, non-binary indie pop singer Grayson has a way of making you understand their point of view. Especially on their breakout single “Brother,” Grayson makes relatable synth-pop that will have you tapping your foot and thinking about your own life.
Sounds like: Grayson’s bright synth-pop jams would easily pair with artists like Grimes and MARINA
Check out: “Brother,” “Cherry Pits”
Formerly of Kera & the Lesbians, singer-songwriter KERA is making what they call “bipolar folk” music for the soul. From a depressing breakup track to her latest single, for which she teamed up with folk star Devendra Banhart, KERA is unapologetically making the music she wants, when she wants.
Sounds like: Kera’s particular brand of music is hard to define, but would be well suited for a playlist with Brandi Carlile and Sufjan Stevens
Check out: “Bright Future Ahead,” “I’m Late”
When Madonna refers to you as one of her “favorite artists,” you know you have made it. Such is the case with South African singer Nakhane— the rising star may have started out as an actor in his film The Wound, but now he’s making waves with his own inventive brand of music, shifting the definition of genre to mean whatever he wants it to.
Sounds like: With a sound that’s almost constantly changing, it’s hard to pin Nakhane down
Check out: “New Brighton,” “Clairvoyant”
Girl in Red
Norweigan indie pop-rock singer Girl in Red, known offstage as Marie Ulven, offers up the kind of honesty and flippant lyrics that you would expect from a 19-year-old. What you wouldn't expect is the singer's almost expert command of her identity and sound. At times sarcastic, at other times earnest, Girl in Red is giving the middle finger to what's expected of her, and we are living for it.
Sounds like: The indie rock stepsister of Clairo
Check out: “Dead Girl in the Pool," "Girls"
Hip-hop is a tricky world for queer artists to shine, but Rob.B is making it work for him anyway. The rapper doesn’t shy away from his queerness on tracks like “What’s Your Lyfe Lyke,” and shows off his superior flow on the regular, making him one of the most exciting queer rappers currently in the game.
Sounds like: Put Logic, Drake and Cardi B in a blender, and out pops Rob.B
Check out: “What’s Your Lyfe Lyke,” “701”
If you’re looking for the weirder side of EDM, look no further than TR/ST. With their unique take on electronic music, along with a history of making music about gay nightlife, TR/ST is an absolute must for your next big party.
Sounds like: Darkwave contemporaries like Austra and iamamiwhoami
Check out: “Gone,” “Sulk”
With his inventive brand of R&B-hip-hop tracks, Choker is one to watch. His visual styles, from his music videos to his fashion sense, are inventive and new, while his music is the perfect soundtrack to a relaxing summer day
Sounds like: Many have already compared him (accurately) to Frank Ocean. Add in a touch of Brockhampton's Kevin Abstract, and you've got Choker.
Check out: "Lucky," "Petrol Bliss"
You have likely already heard a song written by Wrabel. The star has written for the likes of Kesha, Ellie Goulding and Adam Lambert, along with achieving viral success with the music video for his song “The Village.” After a featured spot on P!nk’s latest album, Wrabel is primed for a major breakthrough, and you ought to be on board for when he finally does
Sounds like: A mix of Lauv, Sam Smith, Troye Sivan and Adam Levine
Check out: “The Village,” “Love to Love U”