Critic’s Picks: 10 LGBTQ Musicians to Worship for Pride Month
6/2/2017 by Louis Virtel
When I think of gay artists who have …
When I think of gay artists who have charted on Billboard, one thought springs to the fore: “I wish there were 50,000 more.” Pop music has always been a religion for LGBTQ listeners and it seems only right that we populate, oh, at least 75 percent of every chart. (I’m not great at math but it feels right.) While that remains to be seen, the queer artists who’ve made a dent in Billboard’s vast history stand out as defiant troubadours who often risked being misunderstood or maligned in the service of delivering something relevant to even the most disenfranchised listeners. Here are a few who ruled hard and loud.
005|011 Adam Lambert
To this day, I can’t describe why season eight of American Idol is the best year of the series. The contestants got along really well? Allison Iraheta and Kris Allen seem like fun people? Danny Gokey didn’t know he was the villain? Whatever the reason, Adam Lambert was an indispensable part of it. He rocked pleather like no one I’ve seen since Margaret Cho’s HBO standup special in 1994 and he wailed wild versions of “Ring of Fire,” “Mad World” and (my favorite) “If I Can’t Have You.” Though his outsize stage presence was frequently called (or derided as) “Broadway,” Lambert’s full-throated gusto read way more Taylor Dayne than Nathan Lane, and — trust — it is a serious blessing that we have a gay male Taylor Dayne. After coming out in a Rolling Stone cover story, Lambert has gone on to release three studio albums that all reached the top 3 on the Billboard 200. His time spent with Queen as a live replacement for Freddie Mercury qualifies him for sainthood, full stop.