Music will forever flourish. But music hasn't always been the most accepting or space space for marginalized communities. In truth it still isn't. Historically many artists have been encouraged to hide or remain silent about their sexuality and gender identity. And the opportunities for our Queer Trans BIPOC community members has been extremely limited.
But some tides have begun to turn in parts of the world. The voice of the LGBTQ music community has risen and become louder. And more and more phenomenal music releases have been coming from LGBTQ artists. Here in Canada we're now experiencing an exciting surge of new music from queer Canadian pioneers as well as new and developing artists. So now is THE time for you to get up to speed on the Canadian LGBTQ music scene.
The sweet sounds that these artists have been dropping are keeping us in great spirits and if you need a little melodic Queer Can-Con pick-me-up, you've come to the right place. This is the first of what will be an ongoing look at the LGBTQ Canadian artists that are changing the great north music landscape. So strap in and prepare.
Canada's east coast is known for singer songwriters, but it's quickly becoming a bubbling home for new queer artists. Halifax's Burry is one such wunderkid. With humor and sarcasm to spare (seriously, Burry's tik tok and IG are a must follow!), Burry also brings along musical chops in the form of their layered emotional and introspective indie pop/folk music. no matter the personal journey Burry is on, open and honest lyrics are what you'll get. Easily one of the most relatable artists queer youth will relate to.
Toronto's Shn Shn is an ambient electro pop experience. Creator and producer, Shn Shn brings emotion and mind alive with an ever evolving kaleidoscope of sound. Her debut EP structura was released in October of 2020. The EP was both self-released and self-produced. Challenging genre and utilizing experimental and non-traditional elements in her music, Shn Shn is a brilliant example of creative complexity that can be currently heard in new track Taking Time.
Blending indie folk, rock and even country elements into inspired and experiential story telling, Emmett Michael is one of Canada’s brightest rising stars. Channelling the emotions of dark times and the challenges of being transgender, Emmett has not let the hurdles get in the way. Rather he has used that energy to heal, burst into music and share his story through the strength of his engaging lyrics and melodies.
Business in the front, party in the back. Calvyn Cass has arrived on the music scene with a number of weapons in his arsenal. Weapon #1, musicality. Creating upbeat and seductive sounds that are also uniquely fresh and innovative, Calvyn Cass isn’t prepared to just be an artist. He’s a memorable one. Weapon #2, style. Being on the cutting edge of all things aesthetic, Calvyn Cass knows trends, what’s hot, and what’s next. Weapon #3, business acumen. Being savvy isn’t restricted to style. Calvyn Cass is a successful entrepreneur and has utilized his business sense to propel his music career upwards. All this to say, Calvyn Cass is your next level triple threat.
Mars Aspen arrived on the Canadian music scene in mid August 2020. After releasing their initial tracks, they made 2021 the year of Mars making a massive impact by releasing 6 stellar tracks including new song lovesick. Being a current university student, Mars takes everything they experience and wraps it into layers and layers of atmospheric pop and bold lyrical statements and honest vocal delivery. An Indigenous/Asian artist, Mars Aspen is at the forefront of the newest wave of queer music artists and is a significant reason why this new wave is the most exciting yet!
Having already started to create a strong foothold in Canadian music, the artist known as Iamrebelwill has found new energy within his craft. Blending strong RnB rhythms with vocal smoothness, Will also dips into electro pop and hip hop to help his creations come alive. But what truly resonates is the authenticity and confidence of self that flows out of his music. There’s an honesty and love that shines brightly from his most recent tracks that signifies the arrival of a whole new kind of rebel. And it’s an arrival we’re here for!
One of the pioneers of queer Canadian country music, Patrick Masse returns in 2021 with new track Let’s Ride. Having been one of the first queer artists in country music, Patrick has long been a voice and advocate within the LGBTQ music community. Alongside his fellow artists, including Drake Jensen, Patrick has seen the best and worst that music can offer. Now with a new explosion of queer artists emerging into the music scene, the moment is perfect for a whole new era of country music fans to be introduced to the talent and experience of one of Canada’s leading queer artists.
When RnB is good, it’s damn good. When it’s great, it’s magic. And then there’s James Baley. A multidisciplinary artist including both music and dance, rhythm flows out and around James Baley like spun silk. He makes movement seem effortless and his music sound magnetic. Joy, sensation, elation and vulnerability leap out of his lungs. Current single Banishment and its remix by Karim Olen Ash show the versatility and power in this compelling artist.
Unassumingly blissfully wonderful. That’s Saskatchewan’s Morgan Moats. There’s hope in the sorrow and positive energy that conquers the sadness within the lyrical messaging of Morgan Moats’ music. Drawing on soundscapes that blend as a fusion of musical theatre, jazz, pop and more, Morgan Moats brings to music a style long missing. Her music is full of uplifting melody and realness. Morgan Moats is the musical sun that breaks through the clouds and challenges you to push onwards.
Brand new to music, Mali Leona recently released her debut single Triggered and quickly caught the attention of many. Mali brings Pop, Rnb and Soul together to create a grounded sound that sits perfectly alongside high calibre writers like Julia Michaels and Sabrina Carpenter. Now Mali has released her follow up single Toxic and we’re ready for everything this burgeoning artist is about to throw at us. This is where it get really exciting!