Queer pop: Five stars leading the revolution

The rise of queer pop looks set to continue in 2019, with stars like Christine and the Queens, LP and King Princess leading the way.

Queer pop is by no means new – after all David Bowie and the New Romantics got there first, decades ago. But last year the genre seemed to establish itself in the mainstream in a way it has never done before. Many of 2018’s most interesting – and relevant – pop albums explored gender fluidity, identity and sexual freedom. (The trend was seen in television too, where actors such as Asia Kate Dillon pushed boundaries). Here are five singers who are changing the game.

Christine and the Queens

This innovative French artist has made two stonkingly good albums. The first, Chaleur Humaine in 2016, drew on her struggles as a queer woman dealing with alienation and loneliness.

The second, last year’s Chris, saw the performer (with newly cropped hair and ripped biceps) toy with notions of masculinity and femininity, self-loathing and desire – all within the confines of deliciously catchy synth pop.

Like Prince, all her songs have a sexual undercurrent (The Guardian called her “a pansexual horndog”). Like Michael Jackson, she can dance, just check out her moves in the video for Girlfriend. It’s no wonder Christine and the Queens is up for Best International Female Solo Artist at next month’s Brits.

King Princess

King Princess, aka Michaela Straus, is a super cool New Yorker who recently came second in the BBC Sound of 2019 contest.

A musical prodigy who turned down a record deal with Virgin Records when she was 11, King Princess has since grown up and signed to Mark Ronson’s label. KP broke through last year with 1950. She played every instrument on the track, a well-crafted anthem to unrequited lesbian love.

Adam Lambert

The former American Idol contestant (he was runner up in 2009 and came out in Rolling Stone shortly after) spent much of 2018 on the road with Queen filling some of the biggest shoes in the business – those of the late, great Freddie Mercury. With his massive range, and flamboyant on-stage persona, Lambert succeeded in doing Mercury’s memory justice, without imitating him. He’s rumoured to be releasing a new album this year. Check out his recent rendition of Believe at a tribute concert for Cher in December.