While entertainment cannot replace the freedoms and rights that LGBTQ+ people deserve, it can bring a welcome injection of happiness. Several queer musicians have released some of their most expansive albums and records this year, ranging from raw, passionate protests against existing structures to epic productions filled with the escape many are sorely craving.
Here are YR Media’s recommendations for outstanding LGBTQ+ artists to groove out to this season:
Arlo Parks has already received a lot of critical recognition in the music world at the young age of 21. Many of Parks’ songs are about the homophobia she and her partner face, as seen in her song “Green Eyes” as well as her affections for women, depicted in her friends-to-lovers anthem, “Eugene.”
Destin Conrad has developed into a gifted lyricist as well as a soulful performer. “COLORWAY,” his debut EP, transports you to a world of seductive R&B, other-worldly synths, and skin-tight harmonies. It depicts the narrative of a man who has matured and is ready to take the next step in his life.
Lil Nas X
When Lil Nas X isn’t shattering cultural norms, the 23-year-old is producing viral content and having a blast while doing so. Since the release of “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X broke new ground, delivering a certified Diamond single that started as a meme — all the while being unrepentant about his art after coming out as gay. Whether it’s showing up in a colorful Atelier Versace dress at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards or sharing a kiss with a male dancer on live TV at the 2021 BET Awards, he’s here to express himself by any means necessary.
Beabadoobee is a 22-year-old British singer-songwriter who was born in the Philippines and has already gained critical recognition for her work. “She Plays Bass” is a lovingly passionate song dedicated to a female bass player who also happens to be a friend of hers. Beabadoobee laments how she wishes she and her bass player could date and that she was more like her.
Ambré, a New Orleans native, is one of the most up-and-coming R&B performers in the scene. The self-taught musician first gained notoriety uploading early work on SoundCloud. Ambré’s music is soulful, honest, and emotional, and she’s collaborated with some of today’s top R&B musicians, like H.E.R. and Kehlani. For the two songs she co-wrote with the latter, she won a Grammy award in 2019. More recently, Ambré released her latest EP, “3000°,” featuring Jay Electronica, Destin Conrad, Beams and more.