June is Pride Month, and it's a celebration of LGBTQIA+ people across the world. Increasingly, artists are sharing more and more about the nuances of being LGBTQIA+, so it's high time the wider world stopped hearing about the same heteronormative experiences.
We've put together a collection of some of our favourite songs that to help celebrate Pride Month, and to highlight some of the LGBTQIA+ artists that are providing representation for the next generation.
Kehlani - Honey
Kehlani's 2017 track Honey sees her open up about her relationship with her then-girlfriend in a way that she hadn't really done in her music beforehand, having publicly identified as queer and pansexual. It's a stripped-back track which sees her talking about how much she loves her partner - with the music video talking place in California, with Kehlani spending the day with her woman.
Speaking to MTV, Kehlani says she wrote Honey to better reflect herself in her music. “I am very openly queer.I thought that my music lacked representation of how my actual life is. I thought it was important to be myself fluidly in my music and not just in my life. My art mimics my life, so you know I have a girlfriend, and it’s only right that that’s what I make music about and that I’m able to put that out confidently.”
Wafia - Only Love
Only Love sees Australian queer pop artist Wafia exploring the complex emotions that come with accepting your sexuality, and the realisation of having feelings for someone of the same gender for the first time. Like much of Wafia's discography, it sees her drawing from her personal experience. It showcases the joy of realising who you truly are - and how freeing that feeling is.
Kim Petras - Malibu
Malibu sees Kim Petras trying to capture the magic of California she was exposed to growing up. While she didn't feel that magic when she finally made her way to Malibu, she still enjoyed the fantasy surrounding it - and her latest single captures this energy.
Speaking to Insider about Malibu, she says it's her way of showing she doesn't feel "heartbroken anymore". Her debut album is finally on the way, and this song is a great way to show her fans she's in a better place. "I just want to make music that makes me want to dance and makes me forget about all the stupid stuff right now."
It's a song about the excitement of love and the excitement of fantasy - sometimes, the love doesn't correlate with what you expected, but the imagination was half the fun.
Carly Rae Jepsen - Cut To The Feeling
Cut To The Feeling is Carly Rae Jepsen's way of reminding the world just how amazing pop music can be, and the power it holds. It's a song that sees her singing about the high that comes with falling in love with someone, and how you go about expressing it. In this case, Carly wants to express that euphoria by dancing on the roof. All she asks is when you're listening to it, you let go of your inhibitions - let the music flow through you.
Frank Ocean - Bad Religion
Frank Ocean's Bad Religion sees him talking to his taxi driver like a psychologist, discussing unrequited love. Rather than having a happy ending, it's a track about loving and losing a man that was deeply important to him. Frank worshipped him, but the feeling wasn't reciprocated - and eventually, they parted ways.
The track comes off Frank's Channel Orange, and prior to the release of the album, he took to Tumblr to release a thankyou note, which ties into Bad Relgiion. Speaking about his first love, he revealed he loved a man who didn't love him the same way - a man who "wouldn't tell the truth about his feelings for (Frank) for another 3 years."
While it wasn't the first love Frank hoped for, in the note he says "to my first love, I’m grateful for you. Grateful that even though it wasn’t what I hoped for and even though it was never enough, it was." Not everything turns out the way you expect it to, and Frank understood that - he was grateful he'd been able to learn more about himself in the process.
Sam Smith - Not In That Way
When Sam Smith wrote Not In That Way, it was about a certain person in their life, who they wanted to tell exactly how they felt, but they couldn't find the words to say it. It's a track about unrequited love, and being loved, but not in the way you want the other person to love you.
Speaking to Digital Spy, Sam explained that Not In That Way, as well as many of the other songs on their album In The Lonely Hour were written about a specific person. "I remember when we wrote this song I was nearly in tears, because it explained exactly what I can't explain to that person, but in a song. I knew that person was going to be listening to that song, so in a way I was saying it to them. It was an amazing moment for me." It's a cathartic track, and very relatable - sometimes you fall for the wrong person.
Kacey Musgraves - Follow Your Arrow
Kacey Musgraves wrote Follow Your Arrow after writing a poem for a friend taking an overseas trip. It's a track about self-acceptance, and sees her telling her fans to "kiss lots of girls if that's something you're into", which wasn't a, topic that country fans were used to hearing about. Kacey set out to show country fans she had their back 100%, especially if they didn't often see themselves represented in other country artists' music.
Kacey's attitudes towards sexuality surprised some country fans - who have previously been described as one of the more conservative fanbases in music. To this day, Kacey continues to both pay homage to country music's past, as well as push it forward - opening it up to a whole new generation of music listeners.
Halsey (feat. Lauren Jauregui) - Strangers
Described by Halsey as a track that she wrote because "I wanted to see what it would be like of Pat Benatar and Stevie Nicks wrote a love song", Strangers is a collaboration between her and Fifth Harmony's Lauren Jauregui, and features both Halsey and Lauren singing a love song to each other.
Speaking about the track to Zach Sang and the Gang, Halsey said she was proud Strangers showcased a type of pop song that has been underexplored in the past - a woman addressing another woman. "I just love that Lauren and I are two women who have a mainstream pop presence doing a love song for the LGBTQ community. It's unheard of. It's very rare to see it from a female perspective."