In 2023, queer musicians took it up a notch. The charts were built on LGBTQ+ artists, from Ice Spice’s epic breakthrough to Miley Cyrus’s 10-week-long stay at number one with “Flowers”.
We also saw a host of new trans and non-binary artists begin to carve space in an industry that is too often stacked against them. LGBTQ+ musicians also showed that they no longer need to assimilate, or tone down their queerness in order to succeed. One watch of Troye Sivan’s “Rush” music video proves that.
In 2024, the roster of stellar queer music talents looks set to grow. From folk to R&B, and hip-hop to hyperpop, here are just 21 of the up-and-coming LGBTQ+ music stars to watch out for over the next 12 months.
Slovakian singer-songwriter Karin Ann had a pretty great 2023. She spent it drip-feeding her growing fan base with a steady stream of gentle, alt-pop, folk-rock singles, each one racking up a few hundred thousand listens on streaming platforms.
That’s not all though: she collaborated with former Olympic skier and gay icon Gus Kenworthy on the release of her two-part music video for singles “A Stranger With my Face” and “Favourite Star”, which is a pretty strong endorsement.
Earlier this year, she spoke to PinkNews about growing up as a queer person in her conservative home land, and how one pro-LGBTQ+ stunt in Poland catapulted her towards stardom. In 2024, she’s likely to keep setting the music world alight.
Since the show aired, Lexa has turned her attention back to one of her main loves: music. She’s released dreamy, synth-pop single “Early Nights”, fierce trap-pop bop “Sleepy” and a two-track collaboration EP with Mufti. She’s got big plans for the next year.
To some, Hey, Baby is better known as Drag Race UK season four star, Baby. Next year though, they’re looking set to become renowned for their gender and genre-bending brand of grungy queer anthems, which somehow manage to blend post-punk rage with futuristic hyperpop effervescence and early noughties electronic.
In 2023, Hey, Baby released four pulsating singles, all of which carved them out as a unique music talent.
Tsatsamis, a gay singer-songwriter and producer based in London, built on his brand of alt-pop melancholy in 2023, with his single “Everybody Wants a Piece of You”. The track, a swirling, wistful ode about being with a man who is still in the closet, has been named one of i-D magazine’s top 10 best songs of the year, and it’s racked up more than 50,000 plays on Spotify.
He’s recently released his new song “Let Go”, described as being about “anxiety and shame”. And 2024 looks set to bring even more music.
No queer artist in 2023 had a debut quite like US pop star Chappell Roan. Her album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess landed on numerous best of 2023 lists, as has single “Red Wine Supernova.”
The album is a fun, chaotic ode to coming-of-age, told with wit, vulnerability and the occasional anecdote about being eaten out in a car. Chappell has already confirmed that album two is in the works, so expect more adulation in the coming 12 months.
The Last Dinner Party
All-female indie-rock band The Last Dinner Party are having a wonderful 2024, and it hasn’t even started yet. The group, which formed in 2021, have already been named the Brit Awards’ rising star act for next year, an accolade previously given to the likes of Adele, Sam Smith and Ellie Goulding.
Their second single, “Sinner”, released in June, talks frankly about the experience of realising you’re queer at a young age, and all the shame that can accompany coming out.
“I wish I knew you when touch was innocent, I wish I knew you, before it felt like a sin,” they sing in the second verse. It’s a gorgeous lyric that will hit home for so many queer people, and we can’t wait to see what music the group has to offer in the future.
Jade LeMac has been on the up since the release of 2021 single “Constellations”, but this year she hit a new high with her album of the same name. It’s a batch of heady, sombre pop numbers backed by airy, effortless vocals, and almost every song has hit the one-million-plus mark on streaming platforms.
As if one collection of bangers wasn’t enough, she then released EP Confessions, which has all the drama of Constellations, if a little more sensuality. Who knows what the next 12 months could bring.
Canadian alt-pop star MINOE became one to watch the moment she released a single entitled “Sonny & Cher” last year, but 2023 saw her up the ante further. In October, she dropped her debut EP, Bleeding Heart’s Disco, which is brimming with broody break-up bops, establishing hers as one of Canada’s most promising pop starlets. The breezy “Plastik” and glimmering “Love U Bby” are highlights.
Drag queen releases music: it’s hardly news this days. But when Lagoona Bloo does it, she does it differently. Her track “Elle Woods” based on the Legally Blonde character, is easily one of the most fun pop songs of the year, featuring a music video crammed full of Drag Race legends – and the writers of the Reese Witherspoon movie.
This year, Lagoona made it clear that she knows what it takes to become a pop queen. In 2024, with the release of debut album Underwater Bubble Bop, she could be crowned.
Trans musician Geo Jordan can do a lot of things. He’s a multi-instrumentalist, a songwriter (with writing credits for artists including Doja Cat), and a singer (obviously). He also knows how the business works: he’s been a musical director for singers including Jorja Smith.
Right now, he’s focusing on putting his own music front and centre. In April, he dropped moody, swirling EP Fathom, featuring five tracks simmering with woozy emotion. Expect him to bubble up into big things in 2024.
Let’s clear this up now: Girli is not an up-and-coming artist. She’s been grafting and releasing queer bops since 2016. Her debut album, Odd One Out, will turn five in 2024. However, she’s recently announced a second studio album, Matriarchy, which is also the title of the album’s lead single.
It’s her most sapphic release to date, inspired by a heartbreak that changed her life. Expect her to be doing very big things for an even bigger audience.
It feels as if queer indie folk artists are too few and too far in between. In 2024, UK-based singer and poet Cooza could change that.
He’s been on the rise for a while, having released a delicate, guitar-led debut album, Our Day, in 2020, and its 2022 follow up Contours of a Cliff. He released one single, “Wuuush” in 2023, but a third record could be on the cards for 2024 – and it’s about time more people took notice.
She began creating music the same week she started transitioning, so the two have always been linked. Through her razor-sharp synths and sledgehammer beats, she opens up about her experience of being a trans woman in the world right now. She’s one of the most refreshing artists and is surely set for big things.
Another star that you’ll probably be well aware of if you’ve got a TikTok is Australia’s new pop princess, Peach PRC. The lesbian songstress specialises in shimmering, playful pop songs with a lashing of humour. Last year’s single “God is a Freak” is a highlight.
The six-track 2023 EP, Manic Dream Pixie, sounds like Slayyyter meets Poppy if both artists had come about in the mid-noughties, and her sugary-sweet vocals are likely to be blessing the ears of many more fans in 2024.
Here are two things to know about Mia Wray: her current single “Tell Her” is about having her heart broken by an oblivious crush, and she recently covered MUNA’s “Silk Chiffon”. Basically, Mia Wray is sapphic pop royalty already.
The Australian artist has garnered more than 300,000 monthly Spotify listeners, as well as being nominated for a handful of Aussie awards. This year brought her first EP, Stay Awake, filled with five pop bops about resilience, survival and self-love.
Noahfinnce is another artist who many will already know, considering the trans pop punk star has been releasing music since 2018, and has a YouTube audience just shy of one million. But 2023 marked a big turn in his career: he’s recently announced his debut album, Growing Up on the Internet, will be released in March.
It’s preceded by first single “Scumbag”, which takes aim at anti-trans so-called feminists who hide their transphobia under the guise of gender-critical views. The music video takes aim at one author in particular. It features Kelsey Ellison, famed for dancing as Hermione Granger. We’ll let you work the rest out.
“My name is Chrome, google me b*tch, I’m on your desktop,” spits Brooklyn-based queer artist Rodney Chrome on “Break the Internet”, one of 2023’s most-justifiably self-assured songs. It’s hard to describe the music that this queer performer, songwriter and choreographer makes: it’s a “listen-and-you’ll-see” scenario. Think hip-hop meets PC music, with R&B undertones, a touch of pop, and a hint of futuristic drill. Very that.
Here’s a lyric or two from “Break the Internet” that tells you all you need to know about Chrome’s potential: “I’m like Kim K, I feel like Ray J, feeling like Jay-Z and Beyoncé, swinging on n****s in elevators the Solange way, my a*s looks gourmet, in the gym every day is grind day, I ain’t talking ‘bout Ariana, but a Chrome on the track is real Grande.”
If you chucked a slab of punk in a blender with a tablespoon of heavy metal, a pinch of trap and a sprinkle of hyperpop, you’d end up with a glass full of Bambie Thug. Essentially, there are no other artists out there that sound like the young, self-described “ouija pop” star. Plus, they’ve got the visuals to back it up. Here’s to a full-length album in 2024.
If you spent more than a few minutes on TikTok this year, you might well have come across Emily Jeffri’s single “Where Are They Now?”
The throbbing, eerie song is taken from the 2023 album, Soundtrack for an 80’s Horror Movie, and the number went viral as Jeffri used on TikTok, calling for Zepotha – a horror movie that doesn’t exist– to be made.
Little wonder her fan base has continued to grow in recent months: the catalogue of synthy, spooky tracks is unlike anything you’ve got on your playlist.
Monty Keates, stylised as montykeates, is another fairly well-known star on TikTok, with more than one million followers. But in 2023 he branched out into releasing music. His debut single is the rip-roaring punk anthem “Panic!”
An explosive, punk-meets-dubstep second single “Lose my Head” followed, much to the delight of fans. Next year is likely to be a big one for him in terms of new tracks.
Two years after the release of debut EP, Empty Words, HEIDI returned to the music world with a vengeance in 2023. In February, the singer-songwriter dropped emotional piano ballad “Stay”, putting her soulful vocals in the spotlight. In November, she flipped and reversed it, dropping drum-and-bass banger “Blind”. In a word: versatility.