In 2008, the art and accomplishments of queer women in music were sometimes overshadowed by headline-grabbing spectacles of fauxmosexuality. But in 2009, gay and bisexual musicians garnered greater mainstream and monetary success, as well as critical praise.
Despite our relative lack of visibility in genres such as hip-hop and country, our presence and influence in pop and rock has increased steadily, and it’s been as a result of the quality of our music and not the shock value of our sexual orientation.
Folk rock musician Brandi Carlile‘s fans have been aware of her lesbian status since she began playing in her home city of Seattle in 2000, but it wasn’t until 2009 that she publicly stated that she was, in fact, gay. She told The L.A. Times that her sexuality has “has neither helped nor hindered her,” though a significant portion of her fanbase has come from regular tours with the Indigo Girls.
Carlile’s 2009 album, Give Up the Ghost, is her second on major label Columbia Records, and debuted at #26 on the Billboard 200.
Singer-songwriter Holly Miranda came out about her relationship with a woman this year shortly after the release of her debut EP, Sleep on Fire. Critics raved over her voice, with The New York Times calling her style “smoky and laserlike, picking out heavy, desperate gasps and lingering on them.” She also had a fan in Kanye West, who linked to her on his blog.
She told AfterEllen.com, “I have no problem being out, but I don’t think it has anything to do with my music. I like who I like. I don’t want people to not listen to my music because of that and I don’t want people to listen to my music because of that.”
Holly recorded her debut album with famed indie producer Dave Sitek, and signed with XL Recordings for the album to be released in 2010.