Pride month is finally here! You know what that means...it's time for Pride-themed playlists, countdowns, and other features here on the Live365 blog! We feel the LGBTQ+ experience is deeply intertwined with music's progression and power over the years. Love, identity, expression...they're all themes commonly found in songs, as well as themes imperative to the LGBTQ+ experience. Therefore, we celebrate it, honor it, and of course, promote the artists we feel are spreading its message!
Today, we're kicking off our Pride-themed content with something special. Last year, Live365 spread the word about 10 underrated LGBTQ+ identifying artists we felt were changing the game. Due to more amazing finds in the time since posting that article (as well as an overwhelmingly positive response from our readers!), we've decided to continue our picks into 2022.
That's right: we're giving you 10 more astounding LGBTQ+ artists you need to check out this year. Some of these musicians have created a body of work that will blow your mind, yet they still don't get the recognition they deserve. Others are relatively new, and we're sure their star power will rise soon. All in all, we're very proud to unveil this class of ultra-talented LGBTQ+ artists to the world. We hope you fall in love with them harder than we did.
We know it's only a matter of time before Legwurk (real name: Tani) becomes more mainstream. Why? Her off-beat, youthful, and twisty-turny style of sound attracts those die-hard indie music fans desperate for some fresh beats. Not to mention some of her melancholic tunes really bring out all the feels. She already has a small-but-loyal fanbase in the underground music scene. Oh, and did we mention she's the guitarist, bassist, and keys player for Still Woozy?
Tani is an openly trans woman and has been writing songs since she was only 12 years old. She started releasing singles during the pandemic and will be dropping her first EP i have a bad memory on June 22. She recently released the leading song on the EP called "Panic," and oh my, is it earwormy. If you're looking for a bouncy sound like Remi Wolf's but for introverts, we highly recommend Legwurk.
It's people like Legwurk that make us really excited for the future of bedroom pop. Enjoy relaxing synth-heavy stuff with a dance-funk and chillwave edge? Do yourself a favor and check out her music.
STANDOUT TRACKS: "Home," "This and That," "Panic," "Night Gown"
Need some summery tracks perfect for the warmer months, as well as stuff to make you feel like you're in a modern teenage daydream? Enter JORDY: an LA by-the-way-of Chicago queer pop artist who's attracted the attention of TikTok, Lauren Sanderson (who he most recently supported on tour), The Today Show, and even iHeartRadio; he was recently nominated for an iHeartRadio Music Award in the Social Star category.
JORDY's music will appeal to your ears if you love jams similar to Troye Sivan's and Lauv's. He even pulls some influence from old 90s and aughts acts like Avril Lavigne, the Spice Girls, and Michelle Branch. We love his tracks that have more vulnerable, heart-on-the-sleeve vibes. But also...his more dance-able stuff is really bomb, too. JORDY's vocals are shimmering – totally suitable for a power ballad or two – and the melodies he infuses into his tracks are damn smooth. We can't wait for his appearances at Bottlerock and Lollapalooza this summer. Now excuse us while we go listen to his debut album Mind Games again.
STANDOUT TRACKS: "Long Distance," "Friends," "Just Friends," "Close to You"
This duo is the next queer OutKast or Silk Sonic. Their brand of R&B is soooooo fine. It's suitable for chill house parties and other groovy hangouts. With sultry beats, sensual vocals, and lustrous themes, you'll want to replay FHAT's music over and over again. It's so addictive. Even on songs where they're only featured guests (like on the team-up track "Do That" with Noah Slee and Beau Diako), they prove themselves to be standouts.
The superstar duo is made up of pals Aaron and Sedric. They relocated to Berlin a few years ago after spending time in Los Angeles. Despite their popularity and experience in the biz, they have yet to release a proper album. When they finally do, we know it'll rise high on the charts.
STANDOUT TRACKS: "Curious," "Back to Life," "Afterspot," "Packin'"
4. Bentley Robles
Another New York underground artist we're very proud to introduce you to. Bentley Robles brings the sweaty dancefloor heat of the club into the concrete jungle.
Bentley is a queer Latinx pop artist who puts the pedal to the metal in terms of his work ethic. He's fresh off the heels of his hit song "i hate the weekend" and has just released a modern reimagining of the ABBA bop "Lay All Your Love On Me" just in time for Pride. We didn't think it was possible to make that song any cooler, but folks – Bentley's done it.
Bentley's work has been featured on Spotify's popular "Fresh Finds" playlist, and has grabbed the attention of several other indie media outlets. His music can only be described as boisterous, unapologetic, confident, and made for wild hot summer nights. It's dirty and dangerous, and we adore it. Prepping a pool party or Pride gathering and need some fun music to blast in the background? Bentley Robles' stuff is the answer.
STANDOUT TRACKS: "i hate the weekend," "Suxx," "Duh," "Don't Feel Like Talking"
Looking for a group dynamic like HAIM but with an indie sound that features a bit more electro and synth pop flair? MUNA is the band for you. It consists of singer/songwriter Katie Gavin, guitarist Josette Maskin, and guitarist/producer Naomi McPherson: all three members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The trio met while studying at USC and have been creating magical bangers ever since. Their tunes helped many humble fans escape from the harshness of the pandemic: including the one and only Phoebe Bridgers, who signed the band to her label Saddest Factory Records last year. They've also been on the touring circuit, opening for a variety of artists. Currently, they're touring with Bridgers as an opening act.
The LA trio released their debut album About U in 2017 before dropping its follow-up Saves The World in 2019. We believe all good things come in threes, and MUNA is a prime example of that. Their music is hooky, heart-stopping, and makes us long for happy times. We can't wait for you to check them out.
STANDOUT TRACKS: "Silk Chiffon," "Anything But Me," "Number One Fan"
Fletcher's made a huge splash over these last couple of years. Not only is that thanks to the queer artist's talent, training, and upbringing (she was raised in Asbury Park, New Jersey: home of the Stone Pony and the rise of Bruce Springsteen), but also thanks to her appearance on the premiere season of The X Factor.
Her sound is somewhat similar to acts like Hey Violet and King Princess. What separates her from those artists is a certain daring, risqué, and feel-good pop element. A great example of this can be heard in her song "girls girls girls." It samples Katy Perry's breakthrough hit "I Kissed a Girl," but updates it for modern LGBTQ+ audiences. (Fletcher's version goes, "I kissed a girl and I liked it / Sipped her like an old fashioned.”) Her tracks are catchy, buzzy, and brilliant, and we can't wait to see where she goes next.
STANDOUT TRACKS: "girls girls girls," "Bitter," "Cherry (feat. Hayley Kiyoko)"
Honestly, we believe Kelechi's voice has the power to move mountains. This rising star, who calls himself "your gay indie pop bestie" on Instagram, has a catalogue brimming with hopeful tunes that will banish any and all dark clouds over your head. He even turned something as painful as a breakup into a positive song called "dance in the mirror."
But despite how inspirational his songs are, they never veer into "cheesy" or "fake" territory. Kelechi's got an authenticity to his lyrics and voice that make you trust him completely. You'll melt like ice into his blanket of warm, cozy jams. We can't wait until he releases an album someday!
STANDOUT TRACKS: "dance in the mirror," "just another song," "Higher"
8. Gloria Groove
There's no other artist in the world quite like Gloria Groove. The drag persona of Daniel Garcia Felicione Napoleão, Groove is a Brazillian singer/dancer whose work blends pop, funk, rock, hip-hop, and trap. There's only one word that can accurately describe Groove's presence in the music scene: trailblazing.
Groove currently has two albums so far, the latest being the 2022 record LADY LESTE. Trust us, every track SLAPS. You won't be able to resist bobbing your head while listening. Groove has mastered the art of the beat drop, and Napoleão's aggressive in-your-face voice keeps listeners hanging on to every word.
Groove's work takes Latin music to a whole other electro-funk/pop level. We're struggling trying to describe it right now because, well...it's just so wonderfully unique. And catchy. Don't hesitate. Just listen to it!
STANDOUT TRACKS: "VERMELHO," "A QUEDA," "LEILAO," "BONEKINHA"
9. Sarah Proctor
2021 saw the rise of British artist Sarah Proctor. This sapphic singer/songwriter is known for her emotional piano-driven ballads. Her discography is rich with gorgeous, melancholic songs that teem with vulnerability and tenderness. Like ocean waves crashing onto a seashore, her tracks are powerful, beautiful, and chilling. They mostly focus on romantic relationships.
Proctor has been releasing songs since 2020 and began writing music when she was 14, after listening to Sia's track "Breathe Me." She has close to a million listeners on Spotify now, and we know it's only a matter of time before she threads her many hit singles into an album.
STANDOUT TRACKS: "Not For Me," "Lost," "Feels Like Magic - Late Night Version"
10. America Jayne
Brooklyn-based queer bubblegrunge rocker America Jayne (real name: Erica Pierce) is an artist whose music is made for long drives through suburbia and nights when you just want a throwback to that garage band-esque, sentimental alt-rock sound from the early 2000s and late 90s.
She's really new to the music scene – like, her debut EP is yet-to-be-released kind of new – but she's been rising in the East Coast underground scene fairly quickly. Why? Because her bops have so much main character energy, they make us kind of jealous. Seriously. It's America Jayne's world and we're all just living in it.
Back to that debut EP: it's going to be released at the end of this month and promises to delve into themes of nostalgia, growing up, heartbreak, and losing innocence. We know it's going to be good, considering how hard her tracks "Scaredy Cat" and "Open Casket" hit. Listen to America Jayne's stuff now before she becomes mainstream. We pledge our allegiance to her goth-rock queen vibes.
STANDOUT TRACKS: "Scaredy Cat," "Open Casket," "Souvenirs"
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Article Image: Brazilian drag artist Gloria Groove sings into a microphone during a concert in 2021. (Lucas Ferretti [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons.)