It’s officially Spring, so it’s time to update your playlists!
Ready for April, it’s time for the ninth (!) edition of Queer Necessities, a monthly LGBTQ-driven playlist from Billboard Pride where we catch you up on the latest and greatest bops by queer musicians and fierce allies. Each month’s selections will be curated by NYC-based DJ and tastemaker Jon ALi, who is the founder of pop music entertainment destination Jon ALi’s Blog.
Enjoy this new serving of pop gems, and don’t forget to follow the Spotify playlist to keep up-to-date on each month’s offering. (And don’t forget to follow Billboard Pride on our new Instagram and Twitter, honey!)
Have a most #blessed April.
From the very first play, “Tongue” feels like the completely legit and bonkers lead single we’ve been waiting to hear from the multi-talented MNEK. While he’s undoubtedly delivered in the past, “Tongue” immediately feels next level and could very well be the best thing he’s ever done — period.
Hayley Kiyoko, “What I Need” (feat. Kehlani)
Hayley “Lesbian Jesus” Kiyoko finally delivered her debut album on Friday (March 30). The record’s clear standout is the Kehlani-assisted “What I Need.” The two queer divas trade fiery verses about needing their partner to fully embrace their sexuality rather than beating around the bush, a theme all-too-relatable for LGBTQ listeners.
ALMA, “Good Vibes” (feat. Tove Styrke)
Rising Finnish powerhouse ALMA has rolled out her six-track Heavy Rules mixtape, and all the songs are varying levels of instant bop greatness. “Good Vibes” with Tove Styrke is an essential crying-at-the-discotheque anthem.
Era Istrefi, “Origami (feat. DJ Maphorisa)
Years & Years, “Sanctify”
Years & Years make a welcome return with this sultry and seductive pop slice. If this high concept video is any indication, we’re excited what the trio has in store for their sophomore output.
Kylie Minogue, “Raining Glitter”
For fans feeling concerned that Golden would be an entirely country era, fear not: Kylie sees you, and she still wants to please with you. “Raining Glitter” keeps the banjos intact, but this time around, infuses them with a glittering disco-pop synth pulse.
Betty Who, “Look Back”
This time around, Betty Who‘s swerving slightly left into a sassy new lane, daring you to “look back, look back, look back” across a strut-ready dance pulse. Betty is feeling sexier than ever — even channeling a bit of Brit Brit.
Louisa, “YES” (feat. 2 Chainz)
X Factor UK winner Louisa Johnson is back with an earth-shaking alarm of a comeback single. Think: Xtina’s “Dirrty” for the new generation.
Big Freedia, “Rent”
The Queen of bounce music returns with another monster of a smash. But did we expect anything less?
Minneapolis native Lizzo has been turning out banger after banger for awhile now. “Fitness,” which she calls her “Declaration of Independence from the bullshit,” is a bonafide smasher of epic proportions. Emancipate yourself!
CYN is back with another winning slice of pop: “Alright,” a liberating anthem that simmers in playfully flirty, electro-pop beats.
Keiynan Lonsdale, “Kiss The Boy”
Love, Simon star Lonsdale’s unapologetically queer new single “Kiss the Boy” is a majorly impressive move. In fact, it’s undeniably soulful and infectious, full of spacey, electro-R&B pulsations, 8-bit beats and a helluva catchy hook.
BAUM, “This Body”
“This Body,” a clear standout from BAUM’s debut Ungodly EP, sees the Los Angeles singer-songwriter tackling catcalling and body image head-on across a dreamy, ’80’s-tinged synth production. If you haven’t gotten familiar with her yet, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Ryan Ashley, “Chest”
Crafted alongside his good friends and fellow queer artists, MNEK and Leo Kalyan, British newcomer Ashley showcases his talent with this stellar, spirit-shaking vocal and beautifully intricate production. “Chest” is a remarkable song, and even more impressive given that it’s his debut.
Kacey Musgraves, “High Horse”
This standout from Musgraves’ new album is undeniably evidence that she’s fully capable of crossing over into full-fledged pop star territory. Disco with a twang!
Bronze Avery, “Secrets”
Newcomer Avery has been quietly releasing high quality pop gems for a few months now, and his latest “Secrets” is a magnetic, glittering throb packed with thrilling electronica and melodic vocals. Keep ‘em coming, boy!
This UK native continues to expand on his brand of unapologetically honest pop with his latest “Charger,” a cheeky song about wanting to have sex with someone without being too explicit.
In “Translucent,” the talented singer-songwriter sings about finding your own way in a world where it wants to tell you who you should be.
Carlos Vara, “Numb”
20-year-old Vara wears his heart on his sleeve and displays a unique genre-bending brand of soul-pop in the form of his debut track “Numb” — and yet, there’s an underlying sense that this is only a small and very solid sampling of what Vara has to offer. Stay tuned!
Michael Blume, “Blunder”
New York-based singer-songwriter Blume’s latest single “Blunder” makes it clear that self-worth and love is KEY. If you can’t love yourself, how and the hell you gonna love somebody else?
Quarterback, “On My Mind”
There’s not too much out there about this talented, Canadian-based powerhouse but one thing’s for sure: his latest single is quite an intriguing place to start.
Lauren Sanderson, “Written in the Stars”
YouTube star-turned-rising songstress Sanderson makes a legitimate bid as a pop star with “Written in the Stars” with PnB Rock. Perhaps shocking to some — a much more intriguing offering than what the label “social media personality” might suggest.
Richard Cortez, “Nobody’s Baby” (feat. Boy Radio)
Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Cortez preps his upcoming collection with the release of the doo-wop inspired “Nobody’s Baby, showcasing lyrics about the fear of intimacy and commitment sometimes shared between two men. Richard says the lyrics were inspired by the age old tale of “my man done me wrong and left me,” historically sung by women. “Nobody’s Baby” is an effort to merge openly gay lyrical content with a genre of music written before the gay rights movement began.
Brooklyn-based DVWEZ provides a soothing, lush slice of dream pop and I am reborn!
Baby Yors, “Bad Influence”
Guaranteed he can blow your mind: queer soul-rock talent Baby Yors oozes sex appeal, confidence and soul on his enchanting new single “Bad Influence.”
Check out past Queer Necessities playlists below:
Jon ALi is a NYC-based DJ and founder of pop music entertainment destination Jon ALi’s Blog, which celebrates its 11-year anniversary this year. He spends his weekends spinning tunes at gay spots in Manhattan.