To All The Boys I Loved At North Coast

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We’re a good two weeks removed from North Coast Music Festival, summer’s proverbial “last stand”. I had the pleasure of going this year all weekend. The weather might have not been great, but the acts were. Sadly the festival line-up was a tad male heavy, not a lot of love to the female acts. But if you’re boy crazy then the performers, mixed with the sweltering heat, makes for a great time. An endless supply of free drinks in the VIP section also helped matters.

I went into North Coast with no agenda or real expectations. I wanted to hear some artists I was unfamiliar with. As well as see Miguel, Friday’s headliner, and Mura Masa, who would be playing on Sunday. Things did not go as smoothly as I hoped. The festival was evacuated early on Friday before Miguel even went on stage and similarly on Saturday before DJ Snake’s headlining set. But I was still going to make the most out the weekend!

But what ended up happening was me falling for and crushing hard on most of the acts I saw. So in the same vein as Lara Jean Covey from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before I have decided to write a blog post for these intense crushes.  Continue reading “To All The Boys I Loved At North Coast”

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Are You Ready For Summer’s Last Stand?

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Photo courtesy of Marque Magazine

North Coast Music Festival is the unofficial farewell party to summer and welcome into fall and the new semester. The festival is the perfect blend of rising artists and established artists performing for a post-Lollapalooza crowd over three days.

NCMF returns for its ninth year. Taking place in Union Park from August 31st to September 2nd, and the 2018 lineup is stacked and the headliners are going to cap off their respective days with a bang.

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Queer Artist Spotlight: Kelela

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Kelela

Some important points you should know about Kelela at the start is how to pronounce her name and that her music videos always deliver. Kelela is not pronounced how it may appear, sound it out like  Kuh-luh-lah. Addressing my second point, her video for “Frontline” is the best music video of the year. The song is a jam and secondly it look Sims inspired. It took me back to the Playstation 2 days, and I was fully present for it.

A queer identity undoubtedly can impact someone’s life overall and in the day to day, but it is not all that defines a person. That identity can just be one small piece of a puzzle. Especially for a woman of color this identity is just an added layer of oppression from society. Kelela embraces her identity in her music so her audience and women like her feel they can relate to her.

Kelela is an artist to admire. She followed her love for music into a career fairly late into the game, given most artist now want to get a head start and get into the music industry at young age and capitalize on youth to get promotion. Kelela’s journey into the music industry was a slow burn that payed off once she debuted. She’s gotten widespread praise from critics and her peers. Including high profile collaborations with Solange and the Gorillaz.  Continue reading “Queer Artist Spotlight: Kelela”

Queer Artist Spotlight: Holland & A Slowly Changing K-Pop Landscape

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Holland

With the major success that K-Pop has seen here in the U.S. and a growing international audience, it should come as no surprise that new idols and groups are getting more exposure. One idol that made headlines with their debut this year was Holland. Holland saw a lot of attention come his way because he is the first K-Pop idol to be openly gay at the start of their career.

Holland debuted at the start of this year with “Neverland” and the accompanying music video which featured him in a relationship with his male co-star. This received a lot of internet buzz due to the open portrayal of a gay relationship that isn’t often seen in Korean culture or music. However, a lot of this buzz seems to be from outside of South Korea. In South Korea Holland’s video received the equivalent of an R rating, due solely to the kiss between two men, this means his video will get zero airplay on television.

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Queer Artist Spotlight: Kim Petras

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Quick little note: I don’t want to necessarily refer to Petras queer, because even though I use it as an umbrella term encompassing the challenge to heteronormative gender and sexuality standards. Someone people in the trans community may not use the term to apply to them as it can be seen as more related to sexuality.

One of pop’s most promising new voices has been releasing bop after bop since last summer. Kim Petras has been recognized as an artist to look out by most music publications getting all sort of variations of the “artist on the rise” title. And it’s all with good reason all her tracks have been infectious and as catchy as can be.

Kim Petras started her rise in pop music with her song “I Don’t Want It At All”, which is pop perfection. The accompanying video even featured a cameo by Paris Hilton. Petras’ shrine to Paris Hilton in the video made my The Simple Life loving heart swell. Petras gave the gays all they wanted.

Since then she’s released a handful of tracks, as well as appear on Charli XCX’s mixtape Pop 2 on the standout track “Unlock It” with XCX and Jay Park. Petras is readying her debut album, which doesn’t have a set release date at the time of writing this. In the meantime she’s slated to release a brand new track every month until the album’s completion. 

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Queer Artist Spotlight: Years & Years

 

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Olly Alexander of Years & Years 

After a successful debut it is not uncommon for an artist or band to take some time off before the next album or project. With a successful debut comes expectations to meet or exceed the first album. For some this can overwhelming or feel as if they have to adhere to a certain sound. This sophomore slump can be a pressing issue for an artist, which is why taking a hiatus between albums can ultimately be beneficial in feeling confident in making music the artists wants to or feels confident in. And this is what Years & Years are doing as they ready the release of their second album Palo Santo, three years after their debut album release.

I have a tendency to over play a song I really like for a good month, and annoy anyone in a close proximity by looping the song. This is exactly what I happened when I discovered the band Years & Years.  I saw the video for their single “King” and was instantly hooked. You may not be familiar with the band, but you’ve likely heard this song in passing. It was everywhere in the summer of 2015.

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Queer Artist Spotlight: Pabllo Vittar

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Pabllo Vittar

One might be surprised to find out that one of the most famous drag queens at the moment has no relation to the success from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Pabllo Vittar is a Brazilian drag queen who is gaining more popularity by the day. She’s had a lot of success in her native Brazil, appearing on TV shows and releasing a Portuguese version the Major Lazer song “Lean On” entitled “Open Bar”.

The success of the song and her exposure lead to more international attention. Western audiences may recognize Vittar from the Major Lazer song “Sua Cara” which featured Vittar and fellow Brazilian artist Anitta that came out last summer. The collaboration blew up as the music video gained millions views in one day and currently has more than 380 millions views. Vittar has made quick friends with Diplo, working with his group Major Lazer and has collaborated with him for the song “Então Vai” from Vittar’s debut album Via Passar Mal. 

The success of Vittar’s debut album is unprecedented for a drag queen and has resulted in her being signed by a major record label. We can expect a second full length album from Vittar later this year. The album’s singles that recieved video treatment have reached massive success in regards to streams and views. 

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Queer Artist Spotlight: The RuPaul’s Drag Race Music Machine

 

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The cast of RuPauls Drag Race season 10

RuPaul’s Drag Race is a gay institution — that is just fact. Drag Race viewing parties are at all sorts of bars in the city. The show becomes a trending topic on Twitter every week during new episodes. It is an overall success.

For those unfamiliar with the show, RuPaul’s Drag Race is reality competition centered around drag queens competing for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar”. The show is self-aware and is parodying the format of shows like America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway. The show is helmed by the supermodel of the world herself, RuPaul. Just an FYI drag in itself questions the notions of gender and the cis gender male drag queens often use she/her/hers pronouns while in drag. And it is important to know drag is not exclusive to just cis gender men, even though that is all mostly what is represented on the show. That fact itself raises criticism of the show and its casting.  

Over the course of ten seasons and three “All Stars” seasons, a common occurrence that becomes more apparent the more the show progresses is contestants from the show releasing original music. This was originally a trend by RuPaul who has been releasing an album around every season premiere week for years. RuPaul has released 11 full length studio albums dating back to the early 90’s and even has two greatest hit albums and an album of Drag Race contestants covering songs from previous albums. 

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Queer Artist Spotlight: Hayley Kiyoko

 

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Hayley Kiyoko, photo courtesy of Billboard

Lesbian Jesus has risen! Hayley Kiyoko is your newest musical obsession who just released her debut album earlier this year. But sadly her music hasn’t gotten that mainstream love and attention it deserves, which is a shame because Kiyoko shows great promise at being a pop artist with longevity.

Kiyoko is maybe more recognizable to some audiences from her work in acting. From my understanding her most prominent TV roles came from her roles on the Disney Channel original movie Lemonade Mouth and on the CBS show CSI: Cyber (how many spin-offs can one show have?). I’m not too familiar with her acting and let’s be real no Disney Channel original movie can ever top the masterpieces that are Cadet Kelly and Smart House.

She’s released three EPs and her debut album Expectations since finding success on television. In doing so she has amassed a loyal fan base and internet buzz around her. Her breakout single “Girls Like Girls” has over 90 million views for the music video and over 30 million streams on Spotify. I remember being unable to escape the song in my suggested recommendations in the summer of 2015. After eventually giving in and watching the video, I liked what I heard. 

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Queer Artist Spotlight: Tegan And Sara

 

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Tegan and Sara

I’m going to begin with maybe one of the more recognizable names on the list, Tegan and Sara. The band consists of, you probably guessed it, sisters Tegan and Sara Quin. This duo formed the band in the late 90’s and have been present in the indie music scene for over almost two decades.

My love for Tegan and Sara goes back pretty far into my time in middle school. I’m a perpetual night owl and as a kid I remember staying up late at night watching TV and playing Pokemon on whatever system was compatible with the latest game. I remember vividly music channels VH1 and Fuse had these large blocks of programming between like 2am-9am of just music videos. And after a while I started to recognize and grow fond of certain videos.  

A video I loved at the time, 07-08ish, was for Tegan and Sara’s hit The Con from the album of the same name.  As much as I loved this song at the time I knew nothing of the band. I eventually looked them up and it is then that I found out they were twins, I legitimately thought the two people in the music video were unrelated and didn’t they were both in the band. Important note, I was a dumb kid. And then I read that both women were openly gay. This blew my young gay mind, two sisters who were both openly gay and were successful in their field.

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