lgbtq SXSW musicians SISTERS, SXSW, Queer Bands, Pat Haggerty, Silvana Imam, Young M.A., The Spook School
lgbtq SXSW musicians SISTERS, SXSW, Queer Bands, Pat Haggerty, Silvana Imam, Young M.A., The Spook School

5 LGBTQ Musicians Who Rocked SXSW This Year

So you couldn’t make it to South by Southwest this year? Don’t worry about it. The crowds, the traffic and the Uber surge pricing are all a huge pain in the neck… and, besides, you can enjoy the best of the fest online from the comfort of your chair.

Normally, you could spend time looking up some of the amazing queer musicians who played throughout the festival — but we’ve even done that for you, too. Check ’em out below, and then go grab their songs and listen to them over and over and over and over because they are absolutely stunning.

Silvana Imam

Who is Silvana Imam? She describes herself as a creator, rapper, artist, and visionary based in Stockholm, but that barely scratches the surface. Her influences include Vincent van Gogh, Liberace, and Quentin Tarantino — probably the only time those three men will be mentioned in the same breath — and her musical focus is on anti-racist politics in Sweden and in Europe in general.

 

The Spook School

Prepare to be transfixed: The Spook School, hailing from Scotland, are like nothing you’ve ever heard before. Their focus is gender, sexuality and queer issues — which could be boring and academic in lesser hands, but when they take the stage you cannot help but stand in awe. They formed at the University of Edinburgh, largely through their involvement in the comedy scene there. Nowadays, they sing about how gender is an artificial construct, something that can be bent and twisted and experimented with to your heart’s content.

 

Young MA

This lesbian rapper took over the world with her song “Brooklyn,” and she’s not looking back. Keep an eye out for her debut project, Herstory. Music aficionados have been excited for her ascent for a long time now, even though she’s just 23: You might’ve heard early buzz about her appearance at Webster Hall’s famed “House Party” with Funkmaster Flex and Just Blaze.

 

SISTERS

This intriguing duo has been called a “gay band” but that’s far too reductive. They’re for everyone, from the audiences at the Sasquatch Music Festival to Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party to customers at Starbucks where their music is occasionally piped in. Even more impressive: The band is made up of just two people. Sure, they’re trained musicians, but they’ve invented an entirely new sound — something like indie-rock-plus. “Multi-tasking to the extreme” is how they describe what sounds like a whole army of musicians.

 

Pat Haggerty

You may have heard one of Pat Haggerty‘s amazing stories last year, when Story Corps turned his voiceover into an animated retelling of the time his father lectured him “don’t sneak.” Pat is more than just that one story, though: In the 1970s, he and some other musicians recorded a country album called Lavender Country. It included a song called “Those Cocksucking Tears,” and there’s a documentary short about the album coming out soon. We also did an interview with Pat if you’re looking for more information on this amazing man.