The music industry is as inclusive as it has ever been, although there’s still a long way to go. More people than ever are identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community, so it’s no surprise that we see more openly LGBTQ+ musicians breaking through in the music industry. This will hopefully make it easier for future LGBTQ+ artists to achieve mainstream success.
We asked some of our students for their most inspiring LGBTQ+ stories from the industry. Here’s who they nominated:
“They are the most inspiring person to me in the industry, and alongside being a global inspiration, they are also ridiculously talented. Their voice and songwriting are second to none.” – Nat Elena Kyriacou, BIMM Institute London.
Demi Lovato, who identifies as non-binary and pansexual, is an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and has been campaigning for gay marriage and equality for many years. She was named the lead performer for NYC Pride Week and Grand Marshal of the LA Pride Parade and refers to the LGBTQ+ community as ‘The Alphabet Mafia’.
Nat Elena Kyriacou from BIMM Institute London told us:
“I nominated Demi Lovato because they are authentic both on and off the stage. They have dedicated their lives to helping others by being transparent about their struggles with mental health and exploring their gender and sexuality.
“They are the most inspiring person to me in the industry, and alongside being a global inspiration, they are also ridiculously talented. Their voice and songwriting are second to none.”
MISS DISNEY DRAG
Lesbian drag queen Miss Disney Drag has been a big name in the Brighton drag scene for many years. Her camp and nostalgic drag style has led to her becoming an award-winning drag sensation with the voice of an angel. Her love for Disney is a big part of her performance, often referred to as “sparkly and enchanting”.
George Wakerley from BIMM Institute Brighton told us why Miss Disney Drag was nominated:
“I nominated Miss Disney Drag because she is generally an awesome person. I played with her a few times before she leapt to do the whole Disney thing. She promotes positive mental health for those in the LGBTQIA+ community and encourages sexual exploration and health. Plus, she’s just one of the best singers I’ve heard in my life.”
Dubbed by MTV as the “Queen of the Dark Techno Scene”, REZZ has been making big moves in the EDM scene. It is thought that REZZ is bisexual and dates both men and women.
REZZ has become a huge figure, boasting millions of monthly listeners and cementing herself as one of the biggest stars in EDM at the moment. With two studio albums and four EPs under her belt, we expect an even bigger future for this bright star.
Matthew Dawson from BIMM Institute Berlin told us why he chose to nominate REZZ:
“I nominated Rezz because she’s managed to become one of the most prominent EDM artists in the US scene in the space of about three years. It’s a massive achievement for a lesbian considering that the electronic music scene is very male-dominated.”
YUNGBLUD, who identifies as pansexual and polyamorous, has propelled himself to become one of the biggest artists of his generation. Before his illustrious music career, YUNGBLUD appeared in Emmerdale and The Lodge. Now, as an artist, he boasts NME Awards, MTV Awards and a BRIT nomination.
Lauren Bell from BIMM Institute London explained why he was her inspiration and nomination:
“I nominated Yungblud because he helped me fall in love with my authentic self. He helped me to feel confident and happy enough to finally start talking about my sexuality after suppressing it for 10+ years.”
Let’s take a look at some more of our students’ favourite icons:
Mohab El-Serbiny from BIMM Institute Berlin nominated Elton John:
He has been releasing music since the late 60s. Now, over 30 albums later, John has sold over 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1995. Queen Elizabeth II also knighted him for his charity work.
John has been openly gay for most his career, and his lasting impact on music will forever be remembered.
Maxim Faster from BIMM Institute Berlin nominated Freddie Mercury: often regarded as one of the best rock vocalists of all time. Mercury had an astonishing four-octave vocal range and was known for being an incredibly flamboyant and unconventional performer.
He helped Queen release over 15 studio albums and have a strong global presence in popular culture for over four decades. It has been estimated that they have sold around 300 million records, making them one of the world’s best-selling rock bands. In 1990, they received the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.
Mercury passed away in 1991 with complications related to the AIDS virus. It is estimated that he donated around £8 million to charity before his passing.
James McPhee from BIMM Institute Brighton nominated Rob Halford.
Appropriately nicknamed ‘Metal God’, Rob Halford has fronted heavy metal titans, Judas Priest, since their inception back in the late 60s. Since then, Judas Priest have released 20 albums while Rob Halford has released 13 more with other bands and projects; quite the work rate!
Halford didn’t publicly come out until 1998, saying that “It’s a wonderful moment when you walk out of the closet. Now I’ve done that, and I’ve freed myself. It’s a great feeling for me to finally let go”.