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6 Queer Artists To Watch in 2018

A new year brings with it a whole host of prospects – new loves, new jobs, new you. But most importantly, 2018 will bring with it a whole host of new artists whose music will hopefully make a splash and provide us with some well-needed bops.

So, here are six queer artists that INTO is particularly excited about for 2018.

Leland

L.A. based Leland released one of 2017’s greatest melancholic bangers in the shape of “Mattress,” a throbbing, sexually charged, and emotive song about letting a lover slip through your fingers and out of your bed. Having written for the likes of Troye Sivan, Allie X, and Selena Gomez (Leland wrote Gomez’s brilliant “Fetish”), 2018 will hopefully see the writer push his solo career further, adding to the now growing list of queer male solo artists pushing pop’s envelope.

Shea Diamond

Shea Diamond is a singer-songwriter based in New York who may have released her debut song, the empowering and bluesy “I Am Her,” back in 2016, but who, hopefully, will return to make an even bigger splash. With an incredible life story, Diamond offers pure soul; her lived-in vocals are dripping with experiences that deserve to be shared with the world. The singer has recently been signed by Justin Tranter, so fingers crossed Shea Diamond will be telling her story loud and clear in 2018.

Lauren Jauregui

We’re betting that next year Fifth Harmony calls it quits. What this means is that Lauren Jauregui, arguably one of the group’s best vocalists, will have a chance to make it out on her own. The star has already teamed up with Halsey on the bisexual banger “Strangers” (one of the most important songs of the year), and her subdued dance track “All Night,” a collab with DJ and producer Steve Aoki, is a sign that she has what it takes to make it in the big bad solo world. What’s more, the 21-year-old often uses her platform to speak out about LGBTQ rights and even penned an open letter to President Trump in which she expressed her fears as a bisexual Cuban-American woman. An activist, vocalist, and pop force to be reckoned with.

Hayley Kiyoko

You might recognize Hayley Kiyoko’s name from her various roles in kid’s films and from the Disney Channel original film Lemonade. It’s her music, though, that has us excited. Kiyoko released the song “Feelings” this year, and since then it’s been obsessively listened to by us. It’s a song that encapsulates that moment where you complicate a new relationship or casual thing by accidentally spilling all your thoughts out in the open. What’s more, Kiyoko, who identifies as a gay woman, has spoken about how through her music she wants to inspire young people who might be struggling with their sexuality. Who can complain about that?

Parson James

Emerging as a solo artist in 2016, it feels like 2018 could be the year that Parson James finally finds the success that someone with his vocal ability deserves. Having teamed up with Kygo for the dance smash “Stole the Show” back in 2015, the singer’s music is infused with the southern gospel influences of his upbringing, the songs exploring his experiences growing up mixed race and gay in the South Carolina, as well as a healthy dose of heartbreak.

Pabllo Vittar

Pabllo Vittar, the drag and stage name for Brazilian singer Phabullo Rodrigues da Silva, has already found some crossover this year. The 23-year-old teamed up with Diplo’s production outfit Major Lazer and Anitta for the infectious “Sua Cara,” and released her debut album Vai Passar Mal in January. Now the most followed drag queen on Instagram, we’re expecting that 2018 will see Vittar’s star power propel her to more sickening, fabulous, and drop dead gorgeous heights than ever before.


Alim Kheraj

Alim Kheraj is a music and culture journalist living in London whose dream is to one day get a Starbucks with Britney Spears.