The Pride Playlist: Five LGBTQ artists you should know about

From bubblegum pop to sultry R&B, let these up-and-coming LGBTQ artists be the soundtrack to your summer.

Birmingham Pride is just days away and we couldn’t be more excited about the line-up, which includes queer music royalty such as Scissor Sisters founder Jake Shears, The Gossip frontwoman-turned-solo-artist Beth Ditto, and Drag Race star Courtney Act. This year, there’s also a panoply of rising stars on the bill — here’s our round-up of the LGBTQ acts we can’t wait to see at Pride and at the top of the charts.

Kim Petras

German-born singer-songwriter Kim Petras might have received a lot of attention from the press when she became one of the youngest trans teens to publicly transition, but these days she is best known for her chart-friendly pop stylings. “I Don’t Want It At All” topped the Spotify Global Viral 50, accompanied by a music video which featured a cameo by Paris Hilton, and Petras also featured on Charli XCX’s recent Pop 2 mixtape. Her latest single, “Heart To Break”, is a pure bubblegum pop earworm.

MNEK

As a songwriter and producer, MNEK has worked with everyone in the music industry, from royalty like Madonna, Kylie and Queen Bey herself to Little Mix, Clean Bandit, Zara Larsson, Dua Lipa and K-pop sensation BTS. Now he’s stepping out of the shadows with his own material — R&B scorcher “Tongue” is the lead single from his upcoming album and is guaranteed to send the crowd wild when he takes to the Main Stage at Birmingham Pride on Saturday.

Big Freedia

It might be a bit of a stretch to describe rapper Big Freedia as an “up-and-comer” — her debut single came out in 1999, after all. But we’re still pumped to see her bring her own brand of bounce to the Future Stage on Saturday; latest track “Rent” is a full-on banger.

MikeQ

DJ MikeQ will be playing in the Future Tent on Sunday at Birmingham Pride. A mainstay of the underground ballroom scene, he’s sure to bring the fire — expect to see more than a little voguing…

Le1f

When Le1f’s debut album Riot Boi came out in 2015, being a gay rapper was almost unheard of. It’s still pretty rare, but Le1f is happy to not be defined by that label, and his latest self-released EP Blue Dream blends the kind of trap sound and Top 40 appeal that might finally get him the attention he deserves on this side of the pond.

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