Pride Month 2020 may officially be over, but the new music from queer artists is still going strong. Billboard Pride is here to help with First Out, our weekly roundup of some of the best new weekly music releases from LGBTQ artists.
From Madame Gandhi’s stunning new music video, to an R&B slow jam courtesy of Abisha, check out some of our favorite new releases this week:
Madame Gandhi, “Waiting For Me”
After officially signing with Sony Music Masterworks, artist and activist Madame Gandhi put her creative vision to good use with her gorgeous new music video for “Waiting For Me.” Throughout the new clip, Gandhi uses incisive visual storytelling to portray and question the systems of power that aim to oppress, and uses her colorful visual to offer a peaceful, beautiful alternative. “My hope is that this video inspires folks to ask, ‘Are my behaviors contributing to the oppression of somebody else? And what contributes to my own oppression? What does my version of freedom look and feel like?'” Gandhi said of her new video in a statement.
Abisha, “One Night”
25-year-old singer-songwriter Abisha is looking for a shot at redemption. On her brand new single “One Night,” the singer asks her former lover to give her a chance to own up to any past mistakes, all put forth over a smooth pop-R&B melody. “It’s an apology,” Abisha said of the song in a statement. “Reminiscence and closure in the form of a song. As soon as I got to the studio, the words poured out because it was so fresh within me.”
Rina Sawayama, “Dance in the Dark” (Lady Gaga cover)
Since bursting onto the scene with her 2017 EP, Rina, singer Rina Sawayama has repeatedly proven that she’s here to reshape the way people think about pop music. But with her latest offering, the 29-year-old rising pop star is taking a look back on one of her favorite pop songs of the last decade. The singer’s cover of Lady Gaga’s fan-favorite “Dance in the Dark,” released as a Spotify Single for the streaming giant’s 2020 Pride campaign, the star adds her own paired-down production to the song’s iconic production, before exploding it out into a flurry of drums, synths and superb vocals.
Orville Peck, “Smalltown Boy” (Bronski Beat cover)
Another addition to Spotify’s Pride campaign, queer country crooner Orville Peck took on Bronski Beat’s classic, mournful track about life as a queer person with Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy.” Replacing the song’s ’80s synths with brooding guitar licks, Peck adds his own lonesome cowboy aesthetic to the LGBTQ anthem, while perfectly nailing the painful melody of the chorus’s repeated “Run away, turn away” refrain.
Honey Davenport feat. Yvie Oddly, Widow Von’Du, Cazwell & Jayse Vegas, “Digital Rainbow”
On her latest single “Digital Rainbow,” RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 alum Honey Davenport made sure to ring in Pride properly with a slick rap track featuring some other Drag Race favorites, including Yvie Oddly and Widow Von’Du, and queer artists like Cazwell and Jayse Vegas. Even though Pride may have occurred over the Internet this year, Davenport is still finding ways for all of us to celebrate. “We can get it poppin’ even if it’s not physical/ Catch me on the ‘gram, rockin’ rainbows, digital,” she raps on the chorus.
Shot during last year’s New York WorldPride celebrations, Marieme’s brand-new video for her track “Lovechild” sees the star making clear that Pride is more than a parade — it’s a protest, and one that should specifically be aimed at protecting black trans lives. “Trans lives matter, we know nothing about their struggle and whether you agree with their life or not, it is your duty to treat every human being as such, a human,” she wrote in a statement released with her new song. “Black lives can’t matter unless every intersection of Black life matters. We can’t oppress others and expect freedom from our own oppression. Free everyone, that’s the only way it works!”