|The first challenge for trans people in the music industry is probably the hesitation to recognize the talent that is clearly there. / Photo by: Brian A Jackson via Shutterstock|
The music industry continues to be flamboyant and unhinged. It’s an industry that clamors for change even when it is flooded with more of the same thing. There’s just a certain kind of newness that fans want to experience sometimes and whether it’s expecting a different artist to come onto the scene or getting into a different kind of genre, music is ever-evolving and forever malleable.
For all of this propensity for newness, just how would the music industry be able to take in more and more queer artists onto the scene and if it does, is it safe to say that it is ready for that?
Undeniable Talent, Not Enough Recognition
The first challenge that we see for trans people in the music industry is probably the hesitation to recognize the talent that is clearly there. All of them have very compelling stories to tell, they offer a different perspective to things that are often really grounded with who they are as a person. And for an industry that also relies on storytelling via songs, that’s a great combination right there.
So if the talent is there and trans people are doing what they can to achieve their dreams, what seems to be the thing that’s holding them back? For Ozy.com, an international media and entertainment company, the problem is not that trans people aren’t trying hard enough (they’re probably trying harder than everyone else), it’s that the industry just doesn’t seem too keen on letting them in just yet.
They were still able to break the mold, though, and the forerunners include English singer and producer Anohni, singer-songwriter Sophie, who was nominated for a Grammy, and German pop singer Kim Petras, who already has 2.7 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
So what exactly is the problem here? Explains Andrew Marcogliese, the head of dance and electronic music programming at Pandora: “There’s no shortage of really great music and really engaging music coming from this community. I think this moment is going to come when music comes first, not when the subconscious is to mention that they’re trans artists.”
A big problem also seems to be focused on the fact that the music industry is still on hip-hop high these days, and the hip-hop industry is deeply steeped with male artists that it’s next to impossible to break through those barriers. There’s a silver lining to all of this, of course: Lil Nas X, the singer of the wildly successful country hip-hop hit song “Old Town Road,” recently came out as gay.
More artists are still continuing their journey toward their big break, and like Lil Nas X, they are also extremely talented and determined.
Queer Artists to Listen To
Here are some queer talents that you should definitely add to your playlist.
This classically trained singer has had quite a full year. She’s already played in the World Pride festival in New York and released a second mixtape called “NO GMO,” according to TC Pride Mag. Even though she is connected to the community, she likes to change things up as an artist, constantly shifting from one type of image to another.
Her music is soft and beautiful, no less, encompassing the genres she’s already done music on such as R&B, dance music, and hip-hop. Her flexibility is complemented by the fact that she looks no further than her experiences, her newfound independence, and queer identity. Her brave truths are what have made her so appealing to massive audiences.
|Dizzy Fae already played in the World Pride festival in New York and released a second mixtape called “NO GMO” / Photo by: Steve Edreff via Shutterstock|
Having a crush is difficult, especially when you are a member of the community and your crush happens to be someone outside it, i.e., someone as straight as a ruler. This is the challenge that Claud is facing in the “Wish You Were Gay” music video, an all-too-common anthem for LGBTQ people who have already hoped for something with someone they liked despite knowing they’re straight.
Taking its cue probably from the infamous Expectations/Reality side by side in the movie “500 Days of Summer,” “Wish You Were Gay” is a simple and yet heartbreaking problem. According to Autostraddle, an independently owned magazine and social network for lesbian, bisexual, and queer women, Claud’s simple song is just the right palate cleanser for Billie Eilish’s song of the same name, which did nothing to uplift the community at all.
Led by Tim Dooley, Timisarocker is a great band to check out, TC Pride Mag stated. With their “bejeweled outfits, high kicks, and infectious energy” they bring life to every stage they perform on, including the Twin Cities Pride Festival, which they performed at back in June.
Their sound—a mix of retro influences with a modern twist—has attracted a large number of listeners and has made their two albums successful. They are also huge advocates of diversity in the rock music genre. Right now, they are gearing up to record their third full-length album and plan to release it in 2020.