With queer visibility and acceptance on steady rise, pressure for LGBTQ musicians to maintain a "universally relatable" (aka straight) image in order to appeal to a mainstream audience remains. Luckily, an increasing number of artists are starting their careers by actively avoiding that trap.
The impact this has on fans, particularly young, LGBTQ fans, cannot be overstated. These six artists may create music that's hard to compare, but they share a fearlessness to harness their passions to challenge heteronormativity in their careers. And they're making it that much easier for the next wave of artists to follow suit.
Scroll through to meet the Pride50 music honorees...
2. Moses Sumney
When Los Angeles-based Moses Sumney arrived on the scene with his 2014 EP “Mid-City Island,” his vocal talent and ability to move an audience by bearing his soul was instantly clear. Perhaps that’s why he was soon opening for artists like James Blake, Solange and David Byrne. In his latest album, 2020’s “Grae,” Sumney sets his sights on affirming fluidity while untangling and dismantling the walls of gender, and looking inward to uncover sometimes-painful truths.
On the track “Also Also Also And And And,” he proclaims: “I insist upon my right to be multiple — even more so, I insist upon the recognition of my multiplicity”.
And in “Neither/Nor,” he sings: “I’d become one with what I was scared of/I fell in love with the in-between/In the valley of the sure/You cannot be a neither/nor”.