There’s nothing like finding a fave new artist to freak out over. So, we’ve drummed up this mix of music newbies and essential rising acts to get some fresh talent your way. Whether you’re plotting the playlist for your next rager or just looking to soak up a new sound, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our nod to 10 LGBTQIA+ artists that you need to check out.
Melbourne musician Angie McMahon is the perfect balm for a bad day. On her second album, Light, Dark, Light Again, she reminds us to find solace in ourselves and the silence around us. Her quietly powerful songs land like gentle affirmations, pulling you out of the fog and into something clearer, more promising. Percussive breathing, sounds of splattering rain, and an anxious determination rumble through McMahon’s work, roping us carefully into her connection with nature. With her profile only set to rise, McMahon won’t be Australia’s best-kept secret for much longer.
“Can you play a song with a fucking beat?” an exasperated voice calls out during Roan’s zany opener, ‘Femininomenon’. Sure enough, prayers are answered as a sledgehammer beat hits the track; this is exactly what Roan’s exuberant pop style feels like — anthemic and joyfully disruptive. On her debut album, The Rise And Fall Of A Midwest Princess, Roan sets herself up as a bold new queer superstar. And if you need any more convincing on giving her a listen, well, give the cinematic disco-pop tune ‘Naked In Manhatten’ a listen and thank us later.
When it comes to Filipino-Australian artist daine, two things come to mind: Brain-battered hyperpop and emo-stamped lyrics – and nobody does it better. If you’ve not given them a listen before then their new EP, Shapeless, is the place to start. A jigsawed mix of thumping baselines and moody breakdowns with upfront lyrics — on body dysmorphia, sullying friendship and, of course, boythots — feel more like confided secrets rather than party-ready tracks ready to blow out your favourite pair of speakers. In a post-genre age, daine continues to prove you can make music whatever the hell you want.
Get ready for the arrival of Fred Roberts, a new British singer-songwriter who pools his emotions into deep, cutting tracks. In his breakthrough single, ‘Runaway,’ a brutally honest guitar-led debut, the singer-songwriter captivates, leaving you hanging on his every word. His twinkling new release ‘Disguise’ feels like watching a heartbreak scene in real-time, it’s painful and well worth the listen.
Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Gigi Perez is quickly making her presence known. Her incredible 2023 EP, How To Catch A Falling Knife, bends alternative sounds and dark storytelling into suffocatingly tense tracks. Perez’s eerie vocals, at times, outstay their welcome like haunting flashbacks of a nightmare. Having toured with Haim and Noah Cyrus, it’s only a matter of time before Perez breaks into the indie-emo mainstream.
American artist Jonathan Tsai, aka Mad Tsai, is imagining a queer synth-pop world for Asian and Latinx bisexual boys. In his track ‘stacy’s brother’, the singer flirts with the idea of hooking up with his best friend’s sibling, dreaming up an all-out queer teen scenario. And, that narrative-flipped Fountains of Way classic is exactly what put him in the TikTok limelight. Now with over 1.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify, Tsai has proved he and his broody pop tracks aren’t going anywhere.
Ray Laurél’s alternative slow jam mixes are hypnotic. Breezy, skipping beats swirl around full-bodied vocals as the singer distils feelings of love and longing into glittering R&B-tinged tracks. Whether it’s his silky-smooth cadence or soulful delivery, the 21-year-old will have you falling for his mellow, moreish sound.
A self-proclaimed ‘Paul Simon wannabe,’ Sammy Copley’s tender, stylised singing (and songwriting) marks the indie-folk Dublin act as one to watch. Their fine-tuned 2022 EP, Little Box, showcases their knack for pulling off simmering, soft-touch songs, like ‘To The Bone,’ that feels like a crushing break-up hug goodbye. So, if your Phoebe Bridgers playlist isn’t quite cutting it, Copley is a perfect alternative for your sad music fix.
Brooklyn-born Talia, aka Tayahna Walcott, is a music alchemist mixing Caribbean and American influences in her futuristic soundscape. If she’s not on your radar, she should be. The 21-year-old’s latest EP, Down 2 Earth, ties dancehall, trap, and R&B sounds into an ambitious, statement-making project. If you’re wondering where to begin, ‘I WANT U’ and ‘EVERYBODY LOVES A WINNER’ are standouts.
She’s had the seal of approval from Sean Paul, TikTok and now she’s ready to make her entrance – introducing Véyah. Born in Hyderabad, India and now based in New York, the rising first made her name in viral Hindi covers but, now, she’s shaping up as a rising South Asian with her own tunes. If you haven’t heard ‘Better Than The Boys’ already, then you’re truly missing out. The teen’s track offers a fresh take on subjects – sex and sexuality – often shamed in South Asian communities in her unapologetic R&B-inspired release. And with new music already on the way, it’s only a matter of time until Véyah becomes the new music it girl.
Check out our regularly-updated Queer & Now playlist spotlighting our favourite LGBTQIA+ artists below.