The summer is here, and the heat is present in both temperature and music releases. A handful of queer artists have new sets to promote. A handful of artists are promoting their summer tours. A few artists are closing chapters (switching labels). And a few are staging comebacks.
Rappers Zebra Katz, Big Dipper, Big Freedia are all supporting summer releases and promotional tours. Popularly known queer artists Adam Lambert and Mika are supporting their newest sets following their last, both in 2012. Adam showcasing a newer image and sound, and Mika showcasing bluntly queer lyrics, like the ones who made him successful with his debut album.
Music powerhouse Florence Welch follows closely behind with newest, and third album released with The Machine. Julieta Venegas’ new single “Ese Camino” keeps her as one of the top singer-songwriters and instrumentalists of Latin American pop music.
SATURN, Doug Locke and Tyler Glenn make videos which stand for respect and equality, as they discuss homosexual relationships, interracial relationships and racism in America.
On the divas platform we have huge stars Mariah Carey and Madonna releasing newest singles. “Infinity” is promoting Carey’s Caesar’s Palace residency, which has now been extended into 2016. “Bitch I’m Madonna” is looking to become Madge’s highest single on the Hot 100 since 2012’s top ten “Give Me All Your Luvin'”, and extend her legacy for the artist with the most number-one songs on any one Billboard Chart, with forty-five.
Also, get to know Irene Diaz, Jake Lore and Indiana Queen.
See the list below of music videos by rappers, singers, songwriters and other queer and ally performers.
Doug Locke “King”
This beautiful music video about bullying is not the first time Doug Locke has created such endearing visuals. Coming off his newest EP, Blue Heart previous single “#ThisCouldBeUs” touched on interracial love and deep-rooted homophobia. The EP is out now and includes a feature of Kaleena Zanders.
Natalie Imbruglia “Instant Crush”
Natalie Imbruglia’s fourth and last release came quietly in 2009, but after soft sales in Europe and Australia, Come To Life was not released in this part of the world.
Now, on the heels of the fifth release Male, a compilation of covers previously sung by male artists, the new single “Instant Crush” was released. The Daft Punk and Julian Casablancas track is being lifted from the album which was released in North America first, on July 28th, and internationally on August 21st.
Will Young “Love Revolution”
Before American Idol, there was Pop Idol. Before Kelly Clarkson, there was Will Young. The Simons never promoted the artist beyond the UK and Europe, yet the prolific songwriter and performer just logged his fourth number-one album in the UK. 85% Proof just bowed at the top last month following From Now On, Friday’s Child and Echoes. Overall, he has four number-one singles, in addition to eight top five singles, one top ten single, one top twenty single and six top hundred singles.
Irene Diaz “Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby”
The adorable Los Angeles-based singer released this birthday tune this year. Two years ago, whilst doing an interview for LARecord.com, she shared that she was dating her manager, Carolyn.
Leona Lewis “Fire Under My Feet”
Leona Lewis, the X Factor champion, became a huge international star when she released her first album, Spirit. The huge sales slowed down, but her vocal ability and interesting song choices have kept an interest.
She left Simon Cowell’s Syco, under Sony, for Island/Def Jam to release her fifth studio album, I Am. The set will be out this year and the new single “Fire Under My Feet” has been released with remixes.
Jay Brannan “My Last Day on Earth”
The song, which is part of his latest album, Always, Then, Now, was written by Brannan and produced by Jay and Drew Brody. The video was filmed in Namibia, Africa and features Floris Van Bommel, the fashion designer.
Watch “Square One”.
Stromae is slated to make a splash in the music industry outside of Francophone markets. The Belgian performer was part of The Hunger Games soundtrack, and toured North American with his latest set.
Last summer saw his FIFA Belgium track “Ta Fête” be released and following the success of previous single releases.
Listen to “Merci” and watch “Carmen” above.
Florence and The Machine “Ship To Wreck”
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful has become Florence and The Machine’s best-charting album. The new set, their first number-one on the Billboard 200, sold around 128,000 copies in its first week, an improvement of the previous, Ceremonials, which sold around 105,000 in 2011. The album become their third consecutive number-one album in the UK, their second in Australia, first in Canada and Switzerland.
Saturn “Push Your Buttons”
SATURN just released “Push Your Buttons” from his Face of America EP. Watch below and read some of its lyrics:
‘Ahhhh, here I am/ Coming at ya from the Bmore/ no, I’m not Mackelmore…
No, I’m not hip hop/ but I sweat a lot of hot/ urban gaysex pop.
Yes, I’m a patriot. God feared American/ Rainbow c**ksucker – face of America/ Black skin, big lips – face of America.
Land of the free wasn’t written by me/ stole me then told me 2 be all I could be/ Took 200 years just 2 get up off a leash/ And another 100 years just 2 get up off our knees/ Still get a rush every time I hear/ the click click click.’
Watch the music video for “Top of The World”. Listen to “It Gets Better”.
Mariah Carey “Infinity”
Mariah Carey announced she was departing Island/Def Jam and returning to Sony Music, with LA Reid for her up-coming release. #1 to Infinity is the wrapping of this chapter, with the only new song in the set being “Infinity”. The beautiful string arrangements make this stand out in the current pop/RNB market and the high notes bring back the vintage MC everyone is excited to see in Las Vegas.
Jake Lore “Whispering”
Like a Gap commercial of sorts, Jake Lore’s newest music video is an equal parts sexy party. Known for his nude self-portraits on social media, usually pertaining to nude acrobats, Lore decided to use a female body to balance his naked tattooed flesh. Here, you can see the artist shirtless and wet. However alluring or intimidating his facade, pay attention to the music which, albeit lively and energetic, is rather somber and introspective.
Big Dipper “Vibin'”
Big Dipper certainly channeled his Minaj in this Starships-yet-I’ll-raise-you-Ariel extravaganza. A merman, merbear, or whichever term one wittily puts together, done with quality and humorous gusto. This music video is adorable, very mainstream, and did I already mention there is a rapping merbear? Exactly.
Kelly Clarkson “Invincible”
Kelly Clarkson’s latest album release, Piece By Piece, quietly became her third number-one on the Billboard 200. “Heartbeat Song” became her highest entry on the Hot 100 since 2012’s “Catch My Breath”. This summer she is on tour across North America.
Watch “People Like Us”, “Dark Side”, “Tie It Up” and see the list of albums which turn ten years old in the last year, including Breakaway.
Zebra Katz x Leila “Nina Simone”
This collaboration between Zebra Katz and Leila production is a release part of the new Nu Renegade EP. The set was released in May and includes six tracks; “You Tell Em” and “Blk Diamond” are part of it.
Watch “Blk Wiccan” and “Turn The House Up”.
Julieta Venegas “Ese Camino”
Julieta Venegas has become one of the most prolific and poignant artists of Latin America. The Long Beach born artist, with Mexican parents, has collaborated with others like Ana Tijoux, Nelly Furtado, Miguel Bose, Mala Rodriguez and Natalia Lafourcade. She has recorded in different languages, and worked with composer and Academy Award winner Gustavo Santaolalla. “Ese Camino”, the first single off her seventh studio album, is full of charisma as she basks in the memory of being a young girl. This follows the international success of Otra Cosa and Los Momentos, which have sold a combined total of over two million copies worldwide.
Watch the video for “Te Vi”.
Adam Lambert “Ghost Town”
Adam Lambert keeps quiet most of the time. Although he toured with Queen sense his las release, Trespassing, Lambert was out of the limelight until the current release “Ghost Town”. The single, lifted from his third studio album, The Original High, is out now.
This is Adam’s third studio album. The previous two landed in the top three of the Billboard 200, at three and one, respectively. His previous, which hit number one in Canada and Hungary as well, included a duet with Sam Sparro.
Janelle Monáe and Jidenna “Yoga”
Janelle Monáe musician Jidenna for this summer single release. The artist is signed under Janelle’s label Wondaland Art Society, and the single is part of the compilation EP, The Eephus. Watch “Q.U.E.E.N.” featuring Erykah Badu
Mika “Good Gays/Guys”
Mika is releasing his fourth studio album, No Place in Heaven, following 2012’s The Origin of Love. In the past year he has released singles and videos for “Boum Boum Boum”, “Talk About You” and “Last Party”. Now, “Good Guys” or “Good Gays”, as it was rumored to be titled due to lyrics, has been released ahead of the album this month
The Las Vegas native, known as Shamir Bailey, is signed with XL Records. The label houses powerhouse Adele, and other queer musicians like Le1f and Vampire Weekend. After releasing an EP last year, this year will see the release of his debut album, Rachet. Outside of describing himself as genderless, he has said about his beliefs ‘more spiritual than religious, I don’t believe in god per se, I kind of feel like god is the universe’.
Neon Trees “Songs I Can’t Listen To”
The prolific band is maximizing the recent exposure and success of last album Pop Psychology, which became their fist top ten album in the US last year. Neon Trees just released “Songs I Can’t Listen To”, with a video featuring frontman Tyler Glenn with Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black. The band is currently touring intimately this summer after a row of tour dates in 2014.
Big Freedia “Dangerous”
Rapper and performer from Baltimore recently released the visuals for his track “Dangerous”. Considering himself a gay male, Big is genderqueer, answering to both she and he pronouns. Besides his public persona, he runs an interior design business.
Brooke Candy “Duality”
The Californian rapper’s newest release was an electronica instrumental titled “Duality”. The track, a departure from her rap content, sees her avant garde visuals take the lead as she showcases her many sides.
Indiana Queen “With You”
Nashville’s band, Indiana Queen, made a splash this year with the release of this simple, yet tender music video. Fronted by the artist formerly known as Kevin J Thornton, and frontman of Waves on Waves, the band is now touring the US in support of their first effort, This I Do Carry Unto The End. Read about Thornton’s Sex, Dreams and Self-Control show. Read our interview.
Bry’nt “21 Missed Calls” featuring Earth Tone
Bry’nt has been making sultry rap for a while. This summer, he adorns the Sexy Issue for Obvious Magazine. Last year he told Bold and Sugar about being openly queer in the rap genre ‘During my sophomore year of college, I knew I wanted to pursue my career as an out artist. I guess I had kept it a secret that I’d been writing raps relating to my sexuality. One day I let one of my friends in on this “secret” and he was overcome with excitement. He said it would be great to have someone representing for “us” but someone who also had skills. I felt the same way and decided that person should be me and it snowballed from that point’.
Madonna ft Nicki Minaj “Bitch I’m Madonna”
Rebel Heart, Madonna’s latest album, was surrounded by pressures to outsell her pas successful albums, including MDNA, ageist remarks from the media at large, and, of course, capegate. Yet, the era is full of successes.
“Ghosttown” showcased a beautiful visual as Madonna garnered her record-breaking forty-fifth number-one on the dance song charts, breaking her own record (three times in 2015) as the artist with most number-one entries on any of the Billboard Charts. “Bitch” just reached the peak this month
The Rebel Heart Tour is on its way this summer. And before that, “Bitch I’m Madonna” came with a music video vengeance. The clip includes cameos by Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Rita Ora, amongst other recording artists.
Read about The Next Best Thing and its fifteenth anniversary. Watch “Living For Love”.