As the coronavirus pandemic continues, music fans everywhere are looking for an escape from their reality. So, Billboard Pride is proud to present First Out, a weekly roundup of some of the best new weekly music releases from LGBTQ artists.
On her brand new EP Dawn, rising pop artist Mxmtoon is here to offer some calm in a world of turbulence. Through the her synth-tinged sonics and dreamy vocals, the 19-year-old singer-songwriter accomplishes a newer, dreamier version of the sound that fans have come to love since she burst on the scene in 2018.
“I wanted to remind people that things will be okay and even on the darkest day, the sun still rises,” she says in a statement. “I want to lift people up. I still love making sad songs, but I wanted to make something that felt refreshing to me this time.” Dawn is the first part of a two-part EP release, with its second volume Dusk due out later in 2020.
Billy Porter, “For What It’s Worth” (Buffalo Springfield cover)
While we are all trapped inside, looking toward the future when this is all over, Billy Porter has his sights set on one month: November. With his new cover of Buffalo Springfield’s 1966 protest anthem, “For What It’s Worth,” Porter is calling for people around America to keep themselves vigilant — and thanks to a revamped verse at the end of his remake, to continue striving for change.
“Stay knowledgeable, stay loving, stay compassionate, and fortify yourselves for the fight that’s to come,” he tells Billboard of the message behind his cover. “Because they are not giving this s–t up easy.”
Shea Diamond, “I Am America”
“Baby, I am America/ Let me make it crystal clear/ We here,” Shea Diamond belts on her new single “I Am America,” co-written by pop phenom Justin Tranter. The song serves not only as an uplifting LGBTQ anthem for a time of uncertainty, but also as the official theme song for HBO’s newest series We’re Here, starring drag superstars Bob the Drag Queen, Shangela and Eureka O’Hara. Those stars also make an appearance in Diamond’s quarantined new lyric video for the track, alongside Tranter, Angelica Ross, Jacob Tobia, Chella Man and many more.
BeBe Zahara Benet, “Body on Me”
On her brand new EP Broken English, RuPaul’s Drag Race royalty BeBe Zahara Benet wanted to blend her two homes — West Africa and America — into one listening experience, with a unique afro-pop sound and her silky vocals. That combinations works exceedingly well on the EP’s final single “Body on Me,” where she gives her best vocals to date, along with a stunning music video to accompany the catchy new track.
With aiMless, rising R&B star Rum.Gold wants to examine his past to figure out his future. “You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you come from,” he tells Billboard. “I feel like aiMless is just me trying to figure out where I come from, and just to know where not to go.” The singer’s buttery vocals pair perfectly with his soulful production here, and allow him to process through pain in a way that will have you pressing repeat as soon as the EP ends.
Kailee Morgue, Here in Your Bedroom
Need an album to thrash around your room to? Look no further than Kailee Morgue’s punk-twinged pop EP Here In Your Bedroom, a rollicking project filled with adrenaline-fueled jams that will have you banging your head and singing along. Embracing her angry side, Morgue said that she wanted to “translate the power of older hardcore music into modern production. I finally embraced the attitude.”
NEO 10Y, “Y”
The followup to their last single “ILY,” NEO 10Y’s “Y” sees the star embracing a sense of freedom, with the hyperactive music video showing them (occasionally dressed in a grungy Mickey Mouse costume) fighting against the systems that oppress them. “You love freedom, now you feel/ That it’s around you,” they sing on the song’s distorted chorus. “You are stronger, so much stronger than they let you think.”