French Fries and Margarita is the non-binary performer whose pop act is about to drop its debut track, CRIMES AGAINST NATURE on 9th April 2021. It’s an indictment of those who make it hard for people to be themselves. It’s a slick track that maintains a DIY sensibility and fuses French culture and Haute Couture fashion in their one-of-a-kind take on pop. It’s set to be a sophisticated take on the world of hyperpop, a genre that is on the rise and largely led by queer artists.
In apprehension of this highly anticipated release, let’s take a look at some of the LGBTQ+ musicians throughout history who have made a stand for the marginalised communities they are a part of.
Even before the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, LGBTQ+ musicians dominated the sphere of early blues music and the Harlem Renaissance – Ma Rainey, Gladys Bentley and countless others made names for themselves as gay and gender non-conforming acts. Bentley herself was known for dressing in male clothes and was married to a woman in a civil partnership ceremony.
Fast forward a few decades, and Rob Halford, lead singer of Judas Priest, one of the best-selling metal bands in history, comes out as a gay man in 1998. The band rose to commercial success in 1980 with British Steel and released their best-selling album, Screaming for Vengeance in 1982. In keeping with the queer tradition, Halford says that Freddie Mercury is his “ultimate” hero”, and is largely responsible for inspiring his powerful operatic style.
Skin, one of the most unapologetic vocalists in rock, fronts Skunk Anansie as a black bisexual woman. In songs like Intellectualise My Blackness and Yes It’s F**king Political, Skin gives a voice to those whose communities she belongs to and makes sure her own voice is heard. Skunk Anansie has produced some of the best rock hits of the 90s and early 2000s, and Skin has had a flourishing solo career as well, spanning two solo albums. She has also reunited with the band in recent years, celebrating their 25th anniversary with a tour and a compilation of alternative and live takes of their best-loved songs.
More from the pop sphere – Joe McElderry won the sixth series of the X-Factor and shortly after, came out as a gay man. In the interim years, he has remained in the public eye on other reality TV shows, including Popstar to Operastar, and makes a return to the world of pop with his single Baby Had Your Fun, which is out now.
In other areas of pop, the stunning VISSIA delights with her sleek and seductive take on neo-disco. Tapping into those Jessie Ware vibes, VISSIA details a sweaty dance floor interaction with someone cute across the room – feeling heady emotions in a rush and expressing them through movement in a cathartic way. It’s the sound of someone surrendering to the flow and the atmosphere, and it’s a truly special track. Her full-length album, With Pleasure, is out in April.
This extremely short list barely covers the expanse of LGBTQ+ artists who are working in the industry today. Buy, stream, support these artists in any way you can this month, and the rest of the year. Happy LGBTQ+ History Month 2021 everybody!