Keep your ears wide open for these queer and non-binary artists set to make waves this year
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS
Music was one of the saving graces that got us all through 2020. Even during a global pandemic, so many creatives and artists kept us smiling with living room live-streams, organising their very own online festivals, and still managing to release epic new EPs, albums and singles. There’s so much more to look forward to in 2021. Here’s our top 10 queer and non-binary artists to keep a ear out for this year – check them out below!
After turning down an offer to study her masters at Cambridge University to pursue her music career, Hope Tala is set to do big things in 2021. With two singles under her belt last year, we’re sure her unique blend of R&B and bossa nova beats will earn her many more fans in the coming months.
Dua Saleh is a Sudanese-American recording artist, songwriter and poet. With an elastic vocal range and dreamy lyrics, they’ve already carved out a space for themselves in the music industry. As if a successful music career wasn’t enough, Dua Saleh will also be appearing on our screens this year, joining the cast of Sex Education season three to play a new non-binary character named Cal.
A garage rock gal pal duo from Brighton, ARXX is made up of Hanni Pidduck and Clara Townsend. Their focus on spreading positive mental health messages online, as well as championing women and non-binary artists, has already made them queer icons on the Brighton music scene, even winning a coveted slot to open for Dream Wife on their UK tour back in 2018. We can’t wait for more ARXX bangers in 2021.
Emily Burns had a pretty successful 2020, but we’re certain she’s got big things planned for 2021. She’s amassed 30 million streams on her single Is It Just Me?, released a long list of stunning music videos and even performed live on Instagram every week during lockdown. What can’t she do?
21-year-old Minneapolis-based singer Dizzy Fae explores her experience of growing up in the mid-west as a queer black femme in every aspect of her music. The release of her 2018 mixtape Free Form led Fae to sold-out U.S. tours with Lizzo and Toro Y Moi and we’re so ready for whatever she’s got lined up next.
Fast-rising newcomer Serena Isioma is a well-traveled 20-year-old Chicago based musician. With a genre-free sound combining hip-hop, indie, and modern lo-fi pop elements, you should definitely look out for more from Serena soon.
19-year-old Sydney-based artist, MAY-A has only released four singles to date, but she’s quickly been growing a loyal fanbase all over social media and praise from the industry. Having written music since the age of 12, she has honed her own brand of songwriting that pairs classic pop with seamless storytelling, surveying her real life in great depth.
Over the last couple of years, Ella Grace has built up a big following with her warm, folk-tinged pop and inclusive support networks. She’s fostered a community of thousands of women on and offline through podcast series, retreats and courses. These safe spaces of exploration, expression, growth and taboo-breaking conversation expand into her music. You won’t want to miss her debut album out 18 January.
Queer Dutch-Ghanaian multi-instrumentalist Nana Adjoa first stepped onto our radar last year with her album Big Dreaming Ants. Her poignant lyricism tackles complicated questions of race, gender, religion, and sexuality – as a queer person Nana often meditates on the meaning and make-up of one’s identity.
19 year-old rising star Audrey Mika first role to prominence as a YouTube sensation whose following has continued to grow with her unique covers of popular hits. We have a feeling we might be hearing a lot more from Audrey as her internet fame grows bigger this year.
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