With 2018 almost over, its safe to say Gay Culture seems to have gotten its grip on every aspect of the entertainment. From the domination of TV with RuPaul’s Drag Race and Queer Eye being huge hits and Cinema with Love, Simon and Call Me by Your Name being critically adored, LGBT influence is everywhere this year. However, it is music where LGBT individuals seem to be truly thriving. In what is being called #20GAYTEEN, here are 5 LGBT artists that are killing it right now.
Affectionately known as Lesbian Jesus, Kiyoko is having the 20gayteen she deserves. With the release of her debut album Expectations, which reached the top 40 in the UK, and Ireland, and the top 20 in the US, and Australia, Kiyoko has become the breakout star of the year. Kiyoko has been nominated for a number of awards this year, even taking home an MTV VMA for ‘Push Artist of the Year’. Kiyoko also performed across the globe including at Coachella music festival alongside artists like Beyoncé, Cardi B and The Weeknd, and alongside Taylor Swift at Gillette Stadium as part of her Reputation Stadium Tour, which marked Kiyoko’s first stadium performance. In addition, Kiyoko embarked on her Expectations tour, which took the star across America, Canada and Europe.
One of music’s most established LGBT artists, Sivan has had a triumphant year. He released his sophomore album, Bloom, which was received with critical acclaim as well as reaching the top 10 in a number of countries, including the top 5 in the U.S. and Australia. The album’s lead single ‘My, My, My!’ reached the top spot on Billboard’s Dance Songs Chart, as well as the top 40 in the U.K., Ireland and Australia. The album’s fourth single ‘Dance To This’ featured one of music’s biggest names Ariana Grande and reached the top 5 of the U.S. iTunes chart. Sivan also performed alongside Taylor Swift on her Reputation Stadium Tour, performing ‘My, My, My!’ to a 59,000 strong crowd, as well as revealing the release date of Bloom. Sivan also contributed to a number of film soundtracks, including Love, Simon and Boy Erased, the latter in which he also stars alongside Academy Award winners Nicole Kidman and Russel Crowe.
Although a veteran of the music industry, Janelle Monáe’s 2018 has been one of her most successful and authentic years yet, seeing the release of her third studio album, Dirty Computer. For the album, Monáe discarded the alter-ego of Cindi Mayweather which she had adopted for her previous releases. The album saw Monáe discuss more personal themes including her sexual orientation, which she revealed to be pansexual in a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone. The album was critically lauded, receiving a number of five-star reviews from various publications. Many critics compared her work to the work of music legend Prince, with whom Monáe has worked with in the early stages of the album’s production before his passing. The album reached the top 10 in the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, and Canada, as well as the top 20 in Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.
Scottish producer Sophie had a major breakout year. Her debut album Oil of Every Pearl’s Insides was released through Sophie’s own label MSMSMSM. The release was met with critical acclaim from a number of major outlets including Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and NME. The album also debuted in the top 10 of the U.K. Dance Albums chart and the top 20 of the U.S. Independent Albums Chart and the U.S. Dance/Electronic Albums Chart. Sophie also worked with a variety of pop artists throughout the year, including frequent collaborator Charli XCX on her tracks ‘No Angel’ and ‘Girl’s Night Out’. It was also revealed that Sophie has a yet to be released track with Lady Gaga for her next upcoming album.
Years & Years
U.K. band Years & Years have had a tremendous 2018. The three-piece released their concept album Palo Santo to critical acclaim, receiving five-star reviews from NME and DIY. The album reached the top 5 in the U.K, and the top 10 in Ireland, as well as the number one spot on the U.S. Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums Chart. In addition, the album’s lead single, ‘Sanctify’, reached the top 40 in the U.K. and Scotland as well as on the U.S. Dance/Electronic Charts. The album’s second single. ‘If You’re Over Me’ had even more success, reaching the top 10 in the U.K. (where it is certified Gold), Ireland and Scotland , as well as the top 20 on the U.S. Dance/Electronic Charts. The band has embarked on their Palo Santo Tour, which will see them perform across the U.S., Europe and Asia.