The best LGBTQ music releases of 2015
While LGBTQ involvement in the entertainment industry has always been present, 2015 proved to be a banner year for artists unafraid to be open about who they love.
And as we come to the end of the 2015, we thought it would be wise to look back at some of the more notable releases, some of which you might have missed.
Shamir Bailey – Ratchet
Few artists in 2015 hit as many newsworthy points, along side sweet dance grooves, as Las Vegas Native Shamir Bailey. His debut release, Ratchet, made more than enough top 10 lists, including #1 on Spin’s top pop albums, and for good reason.
Shamir gives us a glimpse into a pattern of the same parties with the same people and difficulty of being accepted and feeling good about yourself in suburban Nevada. The poppy melting pot musical style helps everything go down easily, and makes for a more versatile album experience than the bouncy party music would have you believe.
The Indigo Girls – One Lost Day
Introspective, powerful, and reflective of the authentic lesbian experience, The Indigo Girls returned as the gold standard for female singer/songwriters in 2015. One Lost day covered any number of personal experiences Amy Ray and Emily Saliers had gone through since 2011′s Beauty Queen Sister. That time apart gave the girls space to learn and grown on their own, but when they returned to the studio this time around, they were unafraid to hit on topics both controversial and close to the heart.
“It’s everything from mass incarceration to relationship songs… it covers a lot of territory,” Ray told GayRVA around the albums release. “This record for us was as much about the process making it – learning how to dig in again and arrange songs together.”
AB SOTO - Mr Soto
Few artists made quite the splash Brooklyn-based musician and performance artists AB SOTO did when he dropped the flagrant and outrageous “Cha Cha Bitch.” I spent a solid week trying to learn the dance myself, but in the end only his slick moves (and healthy butt) did them justice.
The artist’s early work, mainly disco and club beats set to his own spoken word lyrics, got NYC locals dancing, but his break out hit, which got praise from the Goddess Ru Paul, put all national eyes on him. Mr. Soto, remains in heavy rotation for me as I continue to shake by booty best I can.
Brandi Carlile – The Firewatcher’s Daughter
The sixth studio album for the genre-breaking artist, The Firewatcher’s Daughter is “nothing short of extraordinary,” according to GayRVA’s Amy David. ”It’s personal, romantic and doesn’t stick to just one style. It’s, in my opinion her best yet.”
The new album follows 2012’s Bear Creek, which debuted in the Billboard Top 10, and with obvious influences like Fleetwood Mac, and the Indigo girls, Carlile, who came out as a lesbian in 2002, showed off her unique vocal talents once again this time around.
Sam Smith – “Writing’s On The Wall” (Theme from Spectre)
Sam Smith became the first openly-gay musician to perform a James Bond theme this year when his track, “Writing’s On The Wall,” dropped as the intro theme to Spectre.
While opinions on the movie varied, Smith’s powerful voice was easy to identify.
“I tried to put myself in the shoes of Bond,” Smith said in an interview with NPR. “My music is a diary and it’s a recap of my life, and I wanted to bring that kind of honesty. In the lyrics — “How do I live, how do I breathe? / When you’re not here I’m suffocating” — I wanted a touch of vulnerability from Bond, where you see into his heart a little bit.”
TT The Artist - Art Royalty
TT (a.k.a. Tedra Wilson) is a Baltimore based rapper whose been tearing up dance floors and “prepares to paint the world with visual language.”
As show by “Thug it Out,” she’s unabashed in her lyrics and message, but the proud out lesbian admits she’s had to fight for the recognition she’s received.
“Internally, with the team I work with, early on when I started doing it, it was very difficult — trying to get them to understand, because most of them are straight,” Wilson told the Baltimore Sun back in 2012 about breaking into the music scene as a sexual minority. “Trying to just get them to open their eyes more to a broader audience, that our music shouldn’t be singled out to hip-hop or just straight crowds.”
With praise from the likes of Vice’s NOISEY blog - “Best times to listen to it is when you are headed to work and you need a quick turn up, when you’re headed for a night out, or even when your at the gym!” – it’s probably a good idea to keep her TT in mind as she releases future tracks.
Willam - Shartistry in Motion
No list of best LGBTQ musical performers would be complete without a nod to the one and only Willam. The former Drag Race star returned in 2015 with this new album after 2012′s The Wreckoning, and used online videos to once again return her to viral success. Shartestry debuted at the top of Billboard’s Comedy charts, and stayed visible for five weeks before falling off.
Tim is a writer, video game nerd, and music fan. You'll see him at shows, or you wont really see him at all.
Last Friday British singer Sam Smith released “Writing’s On the Wall,” the theme song for the new upcoming Bond film “Spectre” via his Spotify. The openly gay crooner co-wrote the song for the film with English songwirter and producer Jimmy Napes. Napes and Smith scored the “Song of the Year” at the Grammys in February. [...]September 28, 2015
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