5 Queer Artists To Watch in 2023
In the past couple of years, the music industry has opened its doors wider to LGBTQI+ artists across the globe. The clear growth and expansion of social media platforms have allowed queer artists to speak their truth without being shushed or censored, and the difference it has made on their careers has been significant.
From well-established, already-touring artists to artists on the rise, we picked out five queer entertainers that you should definitely have on your radar in the upcoming year.
The singer, who goes by the moniker XANA, has made a name for herself on Tiktok since 2020 thanks to her relatable lyrics and catchy hooks. But while today, the artist has a full repertoire of songs that encompasses themes of LGBTQ romance, female empowerment, sex positivity, and self-reflection, she shares there was a time when songwriting was the last thing she wanted to do. That time came right between two completely different musical endeavors: the acoustic duo Coffee Eyes, and her solo debut. But the singer-songwriter couldn’t keep music at bay too long, and in the two years she took off writing to focus on her studies, she somehow developed a better idea of the kind of artist she wanted to be and the kind of sound she wanted to create. As she wrapped up her studies, Xana bought herself a new computer and keyboard, downloaded the producing software Logic, and got to work locked up in her room. The following year, Xana was put in contact with music producers and audio engineers Liam Moes and Shane Stephenson, who helped her bring her demos to life. However, the pandemic struck right as the artist was about to debut her solo career, leaving her no choice but to turn to social media platforms like TikTok to promote her art.
It wasn’t until she parted ways with Columbia Records last year that Lauren Jauregui found her creative peace and freedom. The former Fifth Harmony member chose to leave the major label to handle her future music releases independently, a choice that allowed her to quickly put out music she had been holding on to for years and work on projects that were close to her heart. The 26-year-old first embraced her new-found freedom on her 2021 independent 7-track debut EP, Prelude. The release was quickly followed in early 2022 by the launch of the artist’s Attunement Patreon podcast, in an effort to “use [her] voice to bring harmony and healing to the world,” while bringing awareness to causes close to her heart, such as mental health, LGBTQI+ rights, criminal justice and more.
Jauregui has spent her summer this year on the road, opening for alternative artist, BANKS. As the tour wrapped up, the Cuban-American artist released “Always Love,” a heartfelt ballad that marks the start of a new era for the singer-songwriter. As she actively works on her debut full-length record, Lauren Jauregui will be heading to South America for tour in March 2023.
Alt-pop sensation, songwriter, and filmmaker Zolita has been making a name for herself in the industry ever since her hit “Explosion” gained success back in 2015, but it really was about a year ago that it all changed for the now 28-year-old. In September 2021, Zolita premiered “Somebody I F*cked Once” and its accompanying music video, the first glimpse at the artist’s lesbian romance trilogy project. The follow-up singles “Single In September” and “I F*cking Love You” quickly went as viral on Tiktok as their predecessor and propelled the artist to the front of the pop music stage.
Strong from an ever-increasing following and cheered on by a strong community of fans, Zolita recently launched into her next project, the Falling Out/Falling In introspective video series. The new installment aims to highlight the highs and lows of romantic relationships and is named after Zolita’s upcoming 6-track EP set to be released February 10, 2023.
Jordan Shulman ― who goes by the moniker JORDY ― is one of the artists who has managed to make the most of social platforms throughout the years. After releasing a couple of EPs from 2019 to 2021, the openly gay man released his debut full-length effort, Mind Games in November 2021. Strong from the loving community of fans he had built on social medias during the pandemic, the 26-year-old then went on to promote the record on his first national tour, which he easily sold out. JORDY’s recent move from the East Coast to Los Angeles seems to have given him a brand new perpective on life, love and relationships. His 2022 singles “Dry Spell,” “IDK SH!T” and “i get high” have been a clear display of the artist’s brand new and improved artistry. With a heart-on-sleeve approach, catchy lyricism and unforgettable hooks, JORDY’s music explores themes of rejection and loneliness through the lens of hope and empowerment.
JORDY will be playing at the Troubadour in Los Angeles on December 4th, 2022. The show will mark the end of a round of headlining concerts JORDY played across the United States and Mexico this Fall.
Chicago-raised and Brooklyn-based indie artist Claud Mintz has been making waves since 2018, when they started releasing music with their best friend Joshua Mehling under the pseudonym Toast. But it wasn’t 2020 that the artist, now performing mononymously as Claud, got their big start when they became the first artist to sign with Phoebe Bridgers’ new record label, Saddest Factory Records. Claud’s label debut “Gold” was quick to make its way onto streaming platforms soon after, along with a colorful music video. Since then, the non-binary artist has released their first full-length album, Super Monster, which features a compilation of dreamy bedroom-pop, alt-rock and genre-bending sounds, coupled with coming-of-age lyrics about life and relationships. In June of 2022, Claud released their new single, “Go Home!.”
Claud has spent the majority of the last two years on tour, opening up for mentor Phoebe Bridgers, but also close friend Clairo, The Regrettes, Bleachers and more. After headlining their own American and European tour earlier this year, Claud then embarked on Paramore’s Fall Tour, which just wrapped late November.