2012 was a banner year for lesbian and bisexual women in music with several high profile successes and other that, while on a smaller level, are no less significant.
While taking a hiatus from working on her own albums, bisexual vocalist Sia Furler continued to expand her songwriting work by penning tracks like the number one single “Diamonds” for Rihanna and Ne-Yo‘s “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself).” She also collaborated with Flo-Rida on the hit summer song “Wild Ones,” for which she’s up for a Grammy, as well as David Guetta‘s dance jam “Titanium.” Continuing her work with Christina Aguilera from years past, she worked on tracks for the recently-released Lotus and also worked with Ke$ha on Warrior.
Although LP frequently writes for other artists, 2012 was the year she stepped in front of the mic. She released Into the WIld, which included the title track hit single after being featured in a widely-played Citibank commercial. She became the first ever female ambassador for Martin Guitar while also penning hits for Rita Ora, The Veronicas and Leona Lewis.
the xx (which includes out frontwoman Romy Madley Croft) put out their sophomore album, Coexist, which expanded on their 2010 debut and was both a fair critical and commercial success. Coexist went to number one in the first week in their home, the UK, and number five in the United States.
the xx tourmates 2:52 released their self-titled first album. Fronted by sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow (the latter of which identifies as queer), their shoegaze style made them a hit at music festivals like SXSW.
Gossip put out their follow-up to Men in Love, A Joyful Noise in the spring, and there was a noticeable difference in the energy. It could be the number of co-writers and producers on A Joyful Noise that muddled the sparkle, as the songs didn’t come alive as quickly as they have on past LPs, but their live shows brought that missing element back to life. Meanwhile queer singer Beth Ditto released her memoir, Coal to Diamonds, which included nostalgic tidbits about the Gossip’s initial founding and early career.
Melissa Etheridge continued to be one of the most prolific pop rockers with the release of 4th Street Feeling. She said the 12-track album was inspired by growing up in Kansas City. Unfortunately, much of her music was overshadowed by personal issues this year as Melissa battled with ex Tammy Lynn Michaels over separation proceedings very publicly.
Speaking of prolific, Meshell Ndegeocello put out her Nina Simone tribute, Pour une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone. Meshell recorded 14 songs previously written and performed by the late soul singer after reading her biography. The passion project turned out to be a pleasant listen for fans of both musicians.
Sadly we said goodbye to legendary Mexican vocalist Chavela Vargas, who came out more than 10 years ago at age 81. Chavela continued to perform up until a month before she died in August from respiratory issues, but her voice continues to inspire music in all kinds of Latin genres.
Missy Higgins released her first album since 2008’s On a Clear Night after she said she went through a mild career crisis. But once she was re-inspired by the scene in Nashville, the Australian singer/songwriter create The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle with producer Butterfly Boucherv. Fans were happy to see Missy back in their hometowns when she toured with Butterfly this fall, and the new album recently won her an ARIA for Female Performer of the Year.