One thing that was clear in 2013: Queer women are a huge part of the way the music industry is headed. Not only are some of us literally writing the songs the whole world sings, but others are bringing new ideas of what pop stars look and sound like while also being completely and totally out, even singing songs with female pronouns.
Here’s who we were in tune with this year, and the impact we are making in music.
THE REIGNING QUEENS
Last year saw Sia Furler become a hit songwriter, and she only expanded upon that in 2013. This year the Aussie transplant penned tracks for Britney Spears, Beyonce, Rita Ora, Jessie J and Katy Perry, but received the most attention for her collaboration with Eminem. Their song “Beautiful Pain” appeared on the rapper’s Marshall Mathers LP 2, which has homophobic slurs like all of his previous albums. Sia came out in support of Eminem, saying:
“I know personally that he is not homophobic, but a performance artist. I would never work with someone I believed to be homophobic.”
Nonetheless, she announced she would be donating all the royalties she received from the song to the the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center.
Sia prefers to stay behind-the-scenes, which was illustrated in a Billboard magazine cover story about her success and desire to remain un-famous. She even shared her anti-fame manifesto with the trade mag and limits her own singing appearances to charity events.
Tegan and Sara released their fifth studio album Heartthrob at the very beginning of the year, and spent the rest of 2013 doing all the press and touring they could handle. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard charts and production by Greg Kurstin as well as on-stage performances with Taylor Swift helped propel them into the mainstream as they hoped. Their single “Closer” was performed on Glee and played during an episode of Awkward. This year also marked their first appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the cover of Spin magazine.
Veteran rocker Joan Jett put out Unvarnished but continues to be celebrated more for her legacy than her current music-making. August 1st was proclaimed Joan Jett Day in West Hollywood during the Sunset Strip Music Fest. Although Joan does not deny her queerness, she continues to maintain her privacy when it comes to who she dates, telling L.A. Weekly:
“I’m not comfortable talking about everything I do. I like boundaries. It kind of extends into music. You want to talk about music, we’ll talk music. You want to know about my love life, I don’t discuss that. My lyrics speak for themselves.”
Lady Gaga‘s ARTPOP did not make too poor of a showing, however it has yet to be as successful as her previous albums. The bisexual-identified performer wants people to know that her sexual orientation is very real, saying:
“You know what? It’s not a lie that I am bisexual and I like women, and anyone that wants to twist this into ‘she says she’s bisexual for marketing,’ this is a fucking lie. This is who I am and who I have always been.”