June is designated the official international Pride Month. but it’s also the month that so many queer music artists release music because naturally. It’s one of the few times per year that they may get major notice for their work. While mainstream artists flood the airwaves, LGBTQ music artists are often overlooked, ignored or relegated to the month of June. So of course while the world is watching this month it’s important to shine an even brighter light on the artists of our community throughout the year.
For part two of this three-part spotlight we’re stepping out of June and continuing to celebrate Pride. We continue to shine the spotlight on some of the incredible independent artists making game changing music within the international queer music community.
Canadian indigenous and two spirit artist Shawnee Kish has been turning ears for some time in music with acknowledgements from major media and receiving top honours in the 2020 CBC Searchlight competition. Now the powerhouse artist has released new song ‘Diagnosed Dissociative’ and a brand new self-titled EP to fuel the empowerment her artistry brings to audiences. There’s never been a better time to discover Shawnee Kish.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan may not be the obvious choice of locations for a first generation Ethiopian Canadian to flourish, but then again, you may have never heard Wild Black, stage name for electrifying artist Elsa Gebremichael. From the moment she released the instant classic disco infused and infectiously brilliant track ‘Moon Star Lover’, Wild Black has been rapidly becoming the one to watch. Taking time in between releases, the Wild Black experience has become a palpable need in music. And now she has returned with the recent release of brand new track ‘Nothing 2 Prove’. We’re here for everything this rising star is creating.
Call it electro dream pop, bedroom pop, alt pop, whatever. tip/toe (aka Burlington, Vermont artist Connor Meehan) is making a loud noise in music with his own blend of melody, rhythm, and intrigue. Balancing unique sounds and styles, mixing elements of melodic hip-hop with alluring beats and engaging visuals, the young artist is playing by his own set of rules, and it’s working. There are a handful of artists in the indie queer music scene who create with such effortless openness to fusion and tip/toe is at the top of that list.
UK DJ, producer and electronic artist Hectic has quickly become the artists artist, the go to for a refresh and remix. Over the past year he has had release after release of EDM magic, breathing new life into the work of his peers. But on his own with new EP “SILK”, Hectic is showing just how much magic truly exists within his skills. Stepping outside the remix arena and into his own original creative space, Hectic is delivering electronic bliss and stands atop his own creative mountain.
So many words can be used to describe Kai Mata: artist, musician, visionary, activist, fighter, defender. The list is extensive. As an artist she is a world of light and hope, humour and quirk, introspective passion, determination and strength. She creates songs that are easily recognizable and contagious with clever and thoughtful messaging. She also is unflinching in her activism and vocal approach to standing up for LGBTQ rights and against hatred, especially in Indonesia where she is currently located. An outstanding example of walking the talk, Kai creates hope for the disenfranchised, compels others to recognize injustice, and provides a release from the worlds negativity. Kai Mata is the real deal and through her music and action we are educated, entertained and elevated.
Isn’t that the guy who cooks? You’d be partially right if that was your first thought. Entrepreneur, media personality, author, artist and musician, and yes…he does indeed cook (a two-time Chopped Champion!). Lazarus Lynch approaches everything he does with style and conviction. And his latest musical projects show just how convicted he is. His recent release ‘Black Queer Anthem’ roars with intensity, never losing the moment being created. A “We’re Here, We’re Queer” mantra for today, in the 2 minute piece Lazarus Lynch drives home feelings of pride, anger, frustration, resolve, resistance and community. And that’s just the appetizer. The main course is everything he brings to his truly honest music, a display of elevated soulful expression.
LEADR is artistically sitting in the sensitive landscape of music. Expressively vulnerable and charmingly captivating, LEADR blends gender expression with lyrical heart and wraps it in a warm and welcoming musical blanket of love and compassion. The delicate nature of his delivery and style automatically reflects positive energy and you can’t help but be drawn into his world. A world that also playfully gives you moments of fantasy to alleviate the dark energy the world would have you be overpowered by. LEADR is the knife of life that cuts through the darkness.
From the first beat of his exceptional debut single ‘David’ I was hooked. I needed to know everything that the artist was doing to make this new sound in music so accessible but notably fresh. Then I discovered the man behind the moniker, Kevin Shoemaker. A classically trained musician with and eye and ear for the future. Starting out in blue and yellow face paint, it was an introduction that gave way to admiration. An artist quietly challenging the lay of the mainstream land. It wasn’t a loud arrival, but rather a subtle knock to say “get ready”. And now with recent releases ‘Capital’ and ‘Americana’, Dandelot is letting us into his grander plan of musical movement. A brilliant vision of what can be through classical mainstream experimentation.
Repeat after me, R&B is alive and well. The strength of Tia Carta shines through her music. An R&B diva with a commanding voice and presence and a powerful story to share. There’s an old school flair to Tia’s music but it still very much lives firmly in today’s sonics. Part of the Pynk Gorilla Entertainment family of artists, Tia utilizes the richness of the various supports surrounding her to drive a musical hammer through a world of denial to create her own world of possibilities.
Unique and exceptional. UK artist Norrisette is an experience in duality. Oftentimes with cinematic flair and experiemental zest, Norrisette plays with the possibilities of ethereal and electronic possibilities. In one moment Norrisette can present you an electro pop fusion concoction to float on, and then follow it up with an otherworldly inventive piece of raw expressionism and creativity. Things in Norrisette’s world don’t need to make sense, they just are. And they are are ultimately beyond intrigue and magnetic appeal. Complete abandon in creative excellence and wonder backed with a deft hand at melodic tempering. Norrisette is sublime.