2007 Year in Review: Music

To Come Out or Not to Come Out

For every artist willing to expose a little of their private lives to their audiences, there were two or three still unwilling to talk about their sexuality. In the past year, a handful of artists have refrained from speaking to AfterEllen.com because they were not ready to be identified as out musicians. They ranged from a major-label artist whose publicist didn’t understand why a lesbian audience would be interested in her, to an openly queer musician who just "didn’t want to be a spokesperson for gay women in music."

This shows that the choice to be out still comes with baggage. Some artists may be concerned that being identified as gay means their appeal will then be limited; others may believe that by being openly lesbian or bisexual, they will be expected to become a gay rights activist. In some musical genres, such as hip-hop, being gay is simply not possible if one wants mainstream success.

But there were some who spoke out about their sexuality, including Australian singer/songwriter, Missy Higgins, who has faced speculation about her orientation since the release of her single "Scar." She finally came out this fall to Australian lesbian magazine Cherie, admitting she wasn’t straight and saying, "I think sexuality is a fluid thing and it’s becoming increasingly more acceptable to admit that you’re that way."

Missy Higgins’ "Scar"

She later released a statement to clarify her comments, writing on her website, "I’ve been in relationships with both men and women so I guess I fall most easily under the category ‘bisexual.’"

Maori singer-songwriter Anika Moa also came out this year, and in doing so stated that she was not certain whether or not it would affect the sales of her latest album, In Swings the Tide. Her concern mirrors the often legitimate worries of many closeted LGBT performers who struggle with the decision to come out.

Anika Moa

In a sign that being gay may not be the death knell that some still believe it is, one chart-topping artist managed to cheekily acknowledge the lesbian rumors surrounding her this past year. While singing her hit "Since U Been Gone" with Reba McIntire on CMT’s Crossroads, Kelly Clarkson changed the pronouns from "him" to "her" — and she has reportedly been doing it on tour as well.

Indie Exposure

On the underground circuit, queer women could be found on the mic or on the decks. In July, Le Tigre announced they were officially on hiatus, giving queer member J.D. Samson the opportunity to DJ regularly and go on the road with Le Tigre cohort Joanna Fateman as the performance DJ duo Men. Samson was also featured in Junior Senior’s single, "Can I Get Get Get."

Also announcing a hiatus this year was British band Electrelane, whose album No Shouts, No Calls was a critical favorite. Canadian band The Organ broke up, leaving lesbians to wonder who would be left for The L Word‘s fifth-season soundtrack.

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