From rock n 'roll forebearers like Esquerita and Little Richard to punk pioneer Jayne County, queer and trans artists have always pushed the aesthetics of popular music to the extreme. That includes the rising genre of hyperpop, which can jump from sugar-sweet plasticity to ear-splitting distortion in less time than it takes to watch a TikTok video. Since the mid-2010s, some of the genre’s biggest architects — including SOPHIE, Dorian Electra and 100 gecs — have used Auto-Tune, glossy synths, industrial sound effects and propulsive beats to make music that both celebrates and parodies the mainstream’s absurdities.
As these queer and gender binary-flaunting artists leaned into pop’s least human elements, they inspired a 17-year-old trans artist in Calgary, Canada, along the way. "Hyperpop can really appeal to that teen sitting in their bedroom who isn't feeling very good about themselves and needs a boost of energy," says Elliott Platt, who records as ElyOtto. His breakthrough track “SugarCrash!,” a diaristic, candy-coated slice of teenage dissatisfaction, has inspired nearly 9 million TikTok video creations, earned him an RCA deal and gotten the remix treatment from Kim Petras and Curtis Waters.