cmd+vent 2018 | Day 4: Jess

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Since I missed posting a letter on Monday, this Tuesday is a double feature. That’s right - double the fun, and what’s more fun than a flagrant, flamboyant glitter bomb?

It feels ridiculous to say “it’s been a politically heavy year” as every damn day requires a level of resistance for marginalized peoples to exist in the world. However, reflecting on visibility of marginalized people within popular culture in 2018 versus my formative years in middle school is unparalleled. 2018 has been so damn good for this, especially for members of the LGBTQ community in music. While it’s still difficult and dangerous to come out as identifying as anything other than heterosexual in a still very heteronormative world, more artists than ever are coming forward as ~queer at the start of their careers than ever.

My pal Jess has taken to highlight emerging artists who’ve leaned into the gay this year. These bold artists are spearheading an entire generation to explore and find comfort in discovering their identities.


Hi, I'm Jess, longtime cmd+f subscriber, first time contributor. I'm not great with words so I'll keep this short and sweet. I'm coming to you with 5 of my favorite new to me and somewhat lesser known queer artist discoveries of 2018, or #20GAYTEEN as coined by Lesbian Jesus herself, Hayley Kiyoko.

This year has not been easy, but it has been a pivotal one with a significant increase of LGBTQ+ representation in mainstream music. Music has always played a part in lifting my mood and the increasing acceptance and growing popularity of LGBTQ+ artists gives me hope and something positive to look forward to.

  • King Princess first came into my life this year thanks to a certain Mr. Harry Styles when one of his typical mysterious tweets turned out to be lyrics from her song '1950'. Since that acknowledgment, she has been blowing up. She's released a handful of tracks this year, the newest being 'Pussy is God', which if casual listeners didn't already Get It, they should now. 'Upper West Side' is my favorite track off her EP. Also, check out the short film she did with Spotify. Listen here | Watch here

  • REYNA this sister duo has been around since 2011, previously known as Vic and Gab, but I only happened to hear them under their new name for the first time this year. They only have a handful of singles out, my fave being 'Cool With It'. I'm really looking forward to their upcoming EP. Listen here.

  • SUMif sounds to me like a mix between Kesha and Hayley Kiyoko, two of my faves, so naturally I am digging her sound. She released her debut EP earlier this year and since then has been putting out a new single every few months. 'Body' is my go-to dance song of choice. Listen here.

  • Keiynan Lonsdale, previously only known to me as Wally West from TV's The Flash, is another artist who has thrown out a few tracks over the years but became more noticed after dropping 'Kiss the Boy'. In 'Preach', Keiynan's got me shook and awaiting a full album. Listen here.

  • girl in red is my most recent discovery. The 19 year old Norwegian behind these chill sounds literally writes and records in her bedroom. Her EP was released a couple months ago on bandcamp, but the video she filmed for her song 'girls' has racked up over 1 million views since June which is pretty impressive for someone who is self-produced. Listen here | Watch here

Lemme tell you it was quite a challenge to choose only 5, so you can check out this playlist with a bunch of my favorite tracks from LGBTQ+ artists this year. Listen here.

You can find Jess retweeting things here.

The 5th day of cmd+vent is tomorrow!