These 5 Rising LGBTQ+ Musicians Are Setting the Tone for Summer

Interview with LGBQT+ Musicians

Photo:

@iamasiahn@charlottedaywilson@giawoods; Courtesy of Alex "Grizz" Loucas

There are said to be 6500 languages globally, but none are more universally understood and cherished than fashion and music. Okay, they’re not actual languages, but anyone can appreciate a good song or pair of sandals—both have the power to connect people across nationality, ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity. While these art forms are universal, the trends and soundtracks that become the inspiration of the masses are often derived from the self-expression of those in the margins. Whether it be a rising Black designer inspiring a new trend or a hybrid music genre from an LGBQT+ artist, so often, these rising entertainers set the stage for what will be the next big thing. 

In honor of those trailblazers, we spoke with five rising queer musicians about the role music plays in honoring and destigmatizing the community, where they draw inspiration from, and, of course, their style. They are reminders that a single tune has the power to express the universality of the human experience. Falling in love, expressing ourselves through style, and busting out in dance are things that everyone can relate to, regardless of who we choose to love or how we choose to identify ourselves within the binary. Music is the universal language, and these LGBTQ+ artists are using their voices to speak to their experiences. The question is, are you ready to listen? 

Interview with LGBQT+ Musician, MAY-A

Photo:

@maybelle.t

WHO: May-a 

It seems that Gen Z’s next wave of artists will shift our entire perspective of music, and a part of that crew is the rising Sydney-based singer and songwriter May-a. Her sound fuses pop verses with subtle acoustic and electric guitar for melodies that will be stuck in your head all summer long. If you’re not sure which song to add to the queue first, try her most recent single “Swing of Things”—you won’t be disappointed. 

Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to creating music? 

Inspiration stems from a mix of Pinterest boards, other artists, music videos, poetry, movies, and—more often than not—conversations with friends.

Do you feel your identity influences your creative process? 

I think every individual personality leads to a completely different creative process. I think my sporadic energy and mood swings impact my creativity in different ways. When creativity comes, it can be at the most inconvenient times. I have to remove myself from the situation I’m in and get all of my ideas out frantically before I forget them all.

What role do you think music can play in honoring, destigmatizing, and humanizing the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community? 

I think I contribute to a pool of many artists that are simply being themselves and openly talking about being a part of the LGBTQ community. The more we talk, sing, and make art surrounding our experiences, it helps remind people that we are one and the same. 

What has been a monumental moment in your career thus far?

Simply realizing that I believe in myself and having an excellent team of people who believe in me. Also, forming a band of kick-ass women who support each other has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. 

Interview with LGBQT+ Musician, MAY-A

Photo:

@maybelle.t

Are there any artists you dream of working with? If so, who? 

I would love to work with Clairo, Brockhampton, Dominic Fike, Taylor Swift, Kevin Abstract, or Olivia Rodrigo. All are very inspiring multi-creatives and have a lot to say in the way they write their music. 

What song are you listening to on repeat right now?

I’ve been listening to “How Long” by Bag Raiders and Panama on repeat, a really lovely, feel-good song. And “Stacking Chairs” by Middle Kids. 

If you could only take three albums to an island, which ones would they be?

Taylor Swift by Taylor Swift, The Secret Life Of… by The Veronicas, and The 1975 by The 1975—the first two CDs and the first vinyl I ever owned and still listen to on a monthly basis almost 10 years later.

Interview with LGBQT+ Musician, MAY-A

Photo:

@maybelle.t

What does fashion mean to you? Would you say fashion is a big part of your life? 

Fashion is the way I express myself. When what I’m wearing reflects how I feel on the inside, I like experimenting with fashion and walking the line of androgyny.

What’s one trend you’re excited to wear this summer? 

I’ve been really into low-rise pants and small, tight, cropped singlet tops with weird printed overshirts. Also, I love a good skater hat.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? 

I’m currently working on an EP and creating all of the different aesthetics surrounding each song to make it feel like more of an experience. I am excited to see how it rolls out and how it’s received. I’ve got some cool live shows with my band and features coming out soon.

Interview with LGBQT+ Musician, Asiahn

Photo:

@iamasiahn

WHO: Asiahn

It’s not every day you get a rave review for your newest music video from the likes of Halle Berrybut that’s exactly what happened for artist, songwriter, and actress Asiahn. The props are well-deserved, as she’s been able to create music that will give you literal goosebumps. Her last EP The Interlude, which was released earlier this year and artfully melded R&B vocals with a full orchestra, is proof of just that. 

Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to creating music? 

My everyday life, my friends’ lives, love (of course), and overcoming obstacles. 

Do you feel your identity influences your creative process? 

Not so much my creative process, but definitely the stories I tell in my music. When I create for myself or anyone else, I always start with how I’m feeling or the person’s feeling.

What role do you think music can play in honoring, destigmatizing, and humanizing the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community? 

Just telling our stories authentically helps people who don’t understand or agree with LGBTQIA+ lifestyles to see us as normal, as human. Love is love, and heartbreak feels the same no matter which gender is doing it to whom. So we can tell those stories that resonate with everyone with our songs, no matter what your orientation is.

What has been a monumental moment in your career thus far?

Honestly, just being here. Doing what I love, being exactly who I am, loving who I love is monumental. I didn’t have representation of it growing up in the music industry, so I never thought it was okay. So to be here, be queer, making the music that I love, and connecting with so many people through my music is everything. 

Interview with LGBQT+ Musician, Asiahn

Photo:

@iamasiahn

Are there any artists you dream of working with? If so, who? 

The queens: Beyoncé and Rihanna! I would’ve loved to work with Prince, and I admire Jay-Z, Rosalía, Billie Eilish, Jazmine Sullivan, Hailey from Paramore, The City Girls, Miguel, Bruno Mars. Now that I think of it, there are so many artists, actually.

What song are you listening to on repeat right now?

My new single "OMW" because it’s so how I feel right now.

If you could only take three albums to an island, which ones would they be? 

This is a tricky question, but I’ll take Beyonce’s Lemonade, Rihanna’s Anti, and Prince’s Purple Rain.

Interview with LGBQT+ Musician, Asiahn

Photo:

@iamasiahn

What does fashion mean to you? Would you say fashion is a big part of your life? 

Fashion is another form of expression, a way to showcase glimpses of who we are without saying a word. From our nails to our socks, fashion is ironically tied to everyone in life no matter how in or not we are into fashion. How we present ourselves says a lot about who we are. 

What’s one trend you’re excited to wear this summer?

I’m really feeling the comfy slides everyone is coming out with. Comfort is something I love, but when I want to get fancy, the tricky-toe heels are everything. Dresses and prints are my go-to for most occasions, but it’s a cool sneaker with an anime T-shirt that gets me by on my days off. Gotta have balance.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? 

Some new singles/visuals, an album I’m super excited about it, and one more thing that I can’t say, but you’re going to gag!

WHO: Charlotte Day Wilson

Charlotte Day Wilson won’t be defined by a single musical genre. The singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist prefers to create without labels, letting her honest lyrics and unique style do all the talking. The Toronto native, who scored a Juno Awards nomination for her single “Take Care of You” earlier this year, is gearing up for the release of her debut album, dropping July 9. Titled Alpha, the collection of tracks promises to be her most personal yet, speaking to Wilson’s journey of self-discovery and struggles with love.  

Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to creating music? 

I draw inspiration from my life experiences and love. My creative spark hits a lot when I’m in public and hear faint music in the background. I’ll think I’m hearing one thing, but as my ears tune in closer to the sound, it’ll be something completely different. I like to go back to the thing I thought I heard when the sound was still blurry and draw inspiration from that.

Do you feel your identity influences your creative process? 

Yes, absolutely. My experience as a queer woman is cemented in all of my music.

What role do you think music can play in honoring, destigmatizing, and humanizing the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community? 

I think music is a vehicle for change in so many ways. In my opinion, it’s the most powerful art form—it has the ability to make people feel things more profoundly and viscerally than any other medium. LGBTQ+ music contributes in such a powerful and effective way to the public consciousness/discourse around identity because it connects so directly to people’s emotions and empathy.

What has been a monumental moment in your career thus far?

Finishing my debut album was kind of the most monumental moment for me. I felt the most incredible sense of personal accomplishment and gratitude for the entire experience.

Are there any artists you dream of working with? If so, who? 

I really want to work with Bon Iver. 

What song are you listening to on repeat right now?

I’ve been rinsing “Melody” by Plustwo. 

If you could only take three albums to an island, which ones would they be? 

Voodoo by D’Angelo, Teen Dream by Beach House, and Here, My Dear by Marvin Gaye.

What does fashion mean to you? Would you say fashion is a big part of your life? 

I love to look good and feel good in what I’m wearing, but I’m more of a functional/utilitarian lady, and I must be comfortable. I do care about fashion more than the average person, but I wouldn’t say it’s a huge part of my life.

What’s one trend you’re excited to wear this summer? 

I’m excited to wear the baggiest of pants.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? 

Lots of music, videos, and other gay content!!

Interview with LGBQT+ Musician, Hope Tala

Photo:

Courtesy of Alex "Grizz" Loucas

WHO: Hope Tala 

No summer playlist is complete without a little (or, in my case, a lot of) Hope Tala mixed in. With a blend of R&B, bossa nova, and Latin influences, the 23-year-old West London native has cultivated a music style all her own, amassing a cult following along the way. It would be remiss not to mention my personal favorites of her work (“Crazy” and “Cherries”), but with a new single, “Mad,” and a Pride campaign with Spotify, she’s solidifying her claim in your playlist. 

What was the catalyst that pushed you to pursue music?

A love for writing songs. I had always been obsessed with music and played instruments, but I wrote a song for my music A level at school and fell in love with the process. 

Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to creating music? 

I mainly draw inspiration from my own life, but storylines and themes in novels, poems, plays, TV shows, and movies also inspire some of my writing.

What has been a monumental moment in your career thus far?

I’ll always be so proud that my song “Lovestained” was number eight on Rolling Stone’s list of the best 50 songs of 2019. 

Is there one song you’ve written that you feel really encapsulates your sound and who you are as an artist? If so, which one is it, and why?

I have a lot of new, unreleased songs that I feel this way about, but the two songs that are out already that I feel best encapsulate my sound are probably “Lovestained” and “Crazy.” My favorite type of music to make and listen to is music that is fun and summery, which those two songs definitely are.

Are there any artists you dream of working with? If so, who? 

There are so many, but I would really love to write with Taylor Swift.

What song are you listening to on repeat right now?

I’ve been obsessed with “Mess It Up” by Gracie Abrams and “F.R.A.” by Rei Ami.

If you could only take three albums to an island, which ones would they be? 

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Full Moon by Brandy, and Thank U, Next by Ariana Grande.

Interview with LGBQT+ Musician, Hope Tala

Photo:

Courtesy of Alex "Grizz" Loucas

What does fashion mean to you? Would you say fashion is a big part of your life? 

I’ve always loved using fashion to express myself. However, recently, it has been amazing to wear brands I love on sets, such as Simone Rocha, Renli Su, Chloé, and Armani. Equally for environmental reasons, I try to mostly buy vintage and secondhand, and I love finding unique pieces that I know I will keep for a long time.

What's one trend you're excited to wear this summer? 

I’m really into matching sets right now, so I’m excited to wear those with mules or my black AF1s.

What can we expect from you in the coming months?

New music!

Interview with LGBQT+ Musician, Gia Woods

Photo:

@giawoods

WHO: Gia Woods 

While the feeling of falling in love or being heartbroken is universal, pop music has long centered cisgender, heterosexual relationships through catchy verses—until now. A new crop of musicians have been redefining what it means to be a pop star, and Persian singer and songwriter Gia Woods is at the forefront of that revolution. Her first album, Cut Season, can only be described as a perfect concoction of pop, soft rock, and electronic to create the type of music you’d hear in a rom-com (in a good way). Beyond her catchy beats, her centering of queer relationships through her music cements her as an artist you’ll want to keep on your radar.

Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to creating music? 

My inspiration always comes from what’s going on in my personal life. Whether it’s a relationship or an observation of the world around me, I always have something on my mind that I want to write about. Sometimes, I also read through old journals to look back in time and see how much my perspective has changed, and I’ll draw inspiration from comparing how I used to feel and how I feel now. 

What has been a monumental moment in your career thus far?

Being a part of Calvin Klein’s Pride campaign was a dream come true. Also, playing L.A. Pride has been amazing. I recently performed my second Los Angeles Pride performance for their TikTok show, and it was an insane experience. 

Do you feel your identity influences your creative process? 

Definitely! My creative process is very personal. I try not to overthink it; I just let things come to me without forcing it. Sometimes, I’ll just be walking around my room or driving, and I’ll hear a melody pop in my head, and I’ll record a voice note so I don’t forget it. I get song ideas at the most random times in my day-to-day life and just take note whenever it happens. Another part of it is simply making sure that I get out and live my life to have new life experiences to draw from. There’s no exact method to it. The process is constantly changing and evolving. 

What role do you think music can play in honoring, destigmatizing, and humanizing the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community? 

The more LGBTQ+ music artists we have who are unapologetically themselves and openly talking about their sexuality and experiences, the more normalized queerness will be. As it starts to be more common to see openly gay artists in mainstream media, I think that’s what helps destigmatize and normalize. 

Interview with LGBQT+ Musician, Gia Woods

Photo:

@giawoods

Are there any artists you dream of working with? If so, who? 

If I could make a wish and work with anyone, Madonna will always be my top choice. I’ve also wanted to work with The Weeknd for a long time. Working with M.I.A., Bree Runway, or Cardi B would also be sick.  

What song are you listening to on repeat right now?

“Hustler” by Simian Mobile Disco.

If you could only take three albums to an island, which ones would they be?

In Rainbows by Radiohead, Confessions on a Dance Floor by Madonna, and Homework by Daft Punk.

Interview with LGBQT+ Musician, Gia Woods

Photo:

@giawoods

What does fashion mean to you? Would you say fashion is a big part of your life? 

Fashion is whatever makes you feel good in your skin, whatever makes you feel confident. I use fashion to express myself, and I think style has a huge influence on my music. I love pulling inspiration from old runway shows and designers I admire. Some of my favorites are Jean Paul Gaultier, Maison Margiela, Bottega Veneta, and Rick Owens.

What’s one trend you're excited to wear this summer?

At the moment, I wear a bodysuit almost every day, so I’m excited for it to be summer so that I’ll look a little less crazy in them. Hot summer weather is my favorite weather to dress for.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? 

I have a ton of new music coming out this summer, which I’m so excited about. I’m also planning on playing a lot of live shows now that it’s finally allowed again.

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