This March is Pride month here in Wellington, and to celebrate we’re launching a very special tour where the playlists will be made up entirely of the music of queer icons and artists. Think Gaga, Scissor Sisters, Diana Ross, George Michael, Queen and more. It will be an epic hour, celebrating the legacy of these pioneers with 20% of the profits being donated to Outline, NZ’s helpline for any LGBTIQ+ person who needs someone to talk to.
If you’re looking for some musical inspiration why not check out our list of LGBTIQ+ musicians to put on heavy rotation this month (and beyond!):
His disco classic ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’, is a legendary track. A former member of The Cockettes, he was an openly out icon of the 70s who played with gender and was an unapologetic diva earning him the moniker the ‘Queen of Disco’. A casualty of the AIDS crisis he was just one of the thousands of mega-talents that were lost to the epidemic.
Founding member of indie hip-hop groups The Chalice, Grrrl Prty, The Clerb, Ellypseas, and Absynthe, Lizzo was named ‘One to Watch’ in 2014 by Time magazine. Her single ‘Good As Hell’ is the self-love anthem that everyone needs. When asked about her sexuality by Billboard she said: “When it comes to sexuality or gender, I personally don’t ascribe to just one thing. I cannot sit here right now and tell you I’m just one thing. That’s why the colors for LGBTQI+ are a rainbow! Because there’s a spectrum, and right now we try to keep it black and white. That’s just not working for me.”
Who doesn’t remember Heavy Cross being everywhere in 2009? Not only was Beth the frontwoman for Gossip, she’s also the ultimate slashie having made successful forays into makeup, fashion, modelling and writing. An outspoken supporter of LGBTQI+ causes, this punk is one to line up when you’re feeling anarchic.
He has been called America’s answer to Bowie and proclaimed that he was – “rock’s truest fairy”. He was the first openly gay rock musician to be signed to a major record label but his sexuality proved too much for the USA in the 70s and he was dropped from Elektra after just two albums. Despite comparisons to Jagger, Bolan and Bowie we think he has his own unique sound that you can hear on his S&M jam ‘Take Me I’m Yours’.
Metal God and lead vocalist for the Grammy Award-winning band Judas Priest. With a powerful wide-ranging voice and his now-trademark leather-and-studs image, he came out in an interview with MTV News in 1998. So if you’re feeling like something a little heavier or just need a good head-bang, line up ‘Breakin’ the Law’ and let it all out!
Paving the way in the world of R&B, Ocean has quickly become one of the most respected and celebrated artists of the 2000s. His use of male pronouns, and eschewing the typical topics he has written thought-provoking music about race, misogyny and infidelity. His track Endless also samples dialogue from legendary drag queen Crystal LaBeija, pulled from the 1968 pageant documentary The Queen.
Proof that you don’t have to be an amazing vocalist to be a massive recording sensation. Ru isn’t the strongest vocalist but with the magic of autotune and some heavy synth vibes, it doesn’t really matter. From Supermodel to Glamazon, Peanut Butter to Realness, the tracks are catchy and will have you click-clacking your heels and stomping down your own runway.
These folk refuse to be boxed in, even when it comes to their style they’ve been described as pop rock, glam rock, nu-disco, and electroclash. What we do know is that they create some infectious music. You probably all know “I don’t feel like dancin'” and “Take your Mumma out” but go for a dig through their back catalogue and you will find some absolute treasures.
Rami Malek won the Oscar for playing Freddie Mercury and Queen is back in the forefront of everyone’s minds. With Freddie as frontman they became one of the most influential bands of their time, creating music that people of all generations still sing at the top of their lungs 45 years later. Yet another creative genius taken by AIDS epidemic, he left us with incredible music that will still be enjoyed 45 years from now.
10. Elton John
An oldie but a goodie, Elton is only an Emmy away from EGOT-ing and rightly so. Everyone can find something in his repertoire to love, as evidenced by the phenomenal demand for tickets when he announced his New Zealand tour. One of the first couples in Britain to enter a civil partnership with his now husband David Furnish, Elton has raised tens of millions through his AIDS charity and has also been awarded a knighthood. Not bad for a boy with the inauspicious name Reginald Dwight!
So that’s our list, it’s by no means comprehensive but it should give you a good starting point!
Think we’ve missed anything? Let us know on social media.