21 Drag Queens Who Double as Some of Our Favorite Music Makers
Considering there are quite literally a ton of openly LGBTQ musicians and bands (seriously, check out our A-Z encyclopedia of queer musicians here), we began wondering how many drag queens have released full albums. It turns out there are quite a few drag queen musicians.
And it’s not just “Ru girls,” either. Though much of the music created by queens comes from the long roster of former Drag Race competitors, there’s a slew of other queens who released albums long before our favorite reality TV competition series existed.
Here are 21 drag queen musicians who have released full-length albums that had us gagging (in alpha order):
1. Adore Delano
Six years before appearing on Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Adore Delano appeared out of drag on the popular reality TV singing competition American Idol. But since his Drag Race premiere, Delano has released three albums entitled Till Death Do Us Party, After Party and Whatever; has toured America and the U.K.; and subsequently got involved in a lawsuit with a former manager over performance fees.
2. Alaska Thunderfuck
Initially known as a comedy queen, the Season 5 Drag Race contestant snatched the crown in All Stars 2 and subsequently proved musical chops through two solo albums and two collaborations, the latter being the 2017 album Access All Areas — created with The AAA Girls (fellow Drag Race vets Willam Belli and Courtney Act) — and the 2018 collaboration Amethyst Journey, created with longtime collaborator Jeremy Mikush.
3. Blair St. Clair
Unlike most of the other musical queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race, St. Clair’s 2018 album Call My Life wasn’t self-released but thrown out into the world under the Producer Entertainment Group label. Blair St. Clair released the first single from the album, “Now or Never,” the day following his Drag Race sashay.
4. Courtney Act
In 2015 this Australian queen released a five-track EP entitled Kaleidoscope, an album of electro-pop love songs. On a few of the album’s tracks, Act co-wrote with gay musicians Sam Sparro and Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters. Courtney Act was also part of The AAA Girls with fellow Drag Race alums Alaska Thunderfuck and Willam Belli.
Divine is among the most famous drag queen musicians on our list. John Waters‘ trashy muse re-imagined herself as a bathhouse disco diva in the ’80s and released four albums. Divine gradually integrated his songs into his nightclub and gay bar performances, and eventually he began touring the United States and Europe, where he gained a large following. Some of his hits include tracks like “Born to Be Cheap” and “You Think You’re a Man” and the albums Jungle Jezebel and Maid in England.
6. Edna Jean Robinson
A self-described “trailer park goddess,” Robinson released a 2005 album entitled All the Lives of Me that featured a 14-track compilation of jazz standards, making Robinson one of the only jazz drag queen musicians (if not the only). Robinson has also released a handful of music videos since then, including a dance song about materialism called “Shopping” and the campy holiday tune “Boobs for Christmas.”
7. Ginger Minj
After releasing his first single, “Ooh Lala Lala,” in June 2015, and his second, ”Bad, Bad Boy,” in October 2016, Ginger Minj debuted a 16-track pop album titled Sweet T the same year. The album features bisexual comedian Margaret Cho and Carnie Wilson of Wilson Phillips, plus a handful of heartbreaking covers like “Losing My Religion” and “Dream a Little Dream,” which capture the heartache of growing up gay in the conservative South.
8. Jackie Beat
The L.A. electroclash band Dirty Sanchez included well-known drag performer Jackie Beat alongside Mario Diaz and DJ Barbeau, performing provocative songs like “Fucking on the Dancefloor,” “Really Rich Italian Satanists” and “We Hate Youth and Beauty.” While Dirty Sanchez performed mostly from 2001 to 2008, Beat is also well-known as one of the most famous, raunchiest drag queen musicians around by releasing numerous music parodies both on his own and alongside other drag performers.
9. Jinkx Monsoon
After winning Season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, this genderqueer cabaret and burlesque performer used that newfound fame to launch multiple albums, including The Inevitable Album (2014) and The Ginger Snapped (2018), the latter a reference to the performer’s tried-and-true hair color. Before releasing the albums Monsoon had also performed the titular role in the rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch and played the villainous Velma Von Tussle in an adaptation of John Waters’ Hairspray.
10. Kevin Aviance
Citing “punk, Boy George, Devo and Grace Jones” as musical influences, Aviance grew up as a member of the House of Aviance during the heyday of New York City ball culture. He has since released two dance albums, Box of Chocolates and Entity, and has even performed with musicians like Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston. Most recently Aviance performed with renowned DJ Junior Vasquez and released a 2008 track with the trans rap group La’Mady, entitled “This is New York City (Bitch!).”
11. Manilla Luzon
Three years after appearing on Season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Luzon released the 2014 album Queen. Its title track is a piano homage to Luzon’s deceased drag queen lover, Season 2 competitor Sahara Davenport. Manila Luzon has also released a handful of singles, some solo and others featuring fellow Drag Racers, like “The Chop” with Season 4 queen Latrice Royale, “That’s a Man, Maury” with Willam Belli and “Bring It” with Season 5 winner Jinkx Monsoon.
12. Pabllo Vittar
Pabllo Vittar first became known in Brazil around 2015 for the song “Open Bar,” a version of Major Lazer’s song “Lean On” but featuring original Portuguese lyrics. In 2017 Vittar released debut album Vai Passar Mal (“It’s Going to Be Bad”), which rocketed her to national fame. Vittar is well-known in Brazil and even caused a conservative kerfuffle when uptight citizens complained about his inclusion in a competitive Coca-Cola promotion earlier this year.
Peppermint had an album out in 2009 (Hardcore Glamour) and three singles under her belt before she ever appeared on Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. She has also appeared in a handful of music videos for Cazwell and comedic fellow NYC-based drag queen Sherry Vine. After appearing on Drag Race, Peppermint released an EP entitled Black Pepper.
Though we find the recorded output of this Amazonian drag queen more homogeneous than we’d like, we can’t help but adore the lengthy oeuvre of the world’s most famed queen. He’s been out canvassing for our rights — in giant pumps, no less — for more than two decades; he’s an Emmy-winning reality show host who will always be more famous and beautiful than the drag superstars that are crowned each season; and he gave us “Supermodel (Of the World),” the first volley in what has since turned out to be his multi-media supremacy.
15. Sharon Needles
After dominating Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, this ghoulish “horror queen” continued to work his macabre schtick with a handful of dark-themed singles and albums. While 2013 debut album PG-13 combined dance-pop, punk, metal and electronica, 2015 follow-up Taxidermy had more of an EDM and pop sound, while 2017 album Battle Axe went back to combining dance and rock. Sharon Needles’ revealing lyrics explore a dark obsessions with drugs, sex, deadbeats and the horrors of the entertainment industry.
16. Shea Couleé
This queen from Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race slayed the competition with imaginative fashion and Chicago attitude. Shea Couleé then went on to release a three-track EP entitled Couleé-D and has since released a handful of singles, including “Cocky” with Season 10 queen The Vixen and “Gasoline,” an ethereal R&B track with the U.K. psychedelic group GESS.
Despite exiting from two different seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race too soon — Season 2 and All Stars 2 — Tatianna still managed to release a handful of EDM singles between the two. “Same Parts” is a track that took Tatianna’s spoken-word creation from All Stars 2 and made it something you’d hear in the club. And in 2018 Tatianna released T1, an eight-track album featuring “beat-heavy dance tracks and moody R&B ballads.”
18. Toilet Böys
Inspired by Cher, Elton John, David Bowie and KISS, Miss Guy and her band (made up of Sean Pierce, Electric Eddie, Rocket and Adam Vomit) rocked the late ’90s to early 2000s punk and glam rock scene in New York City with such stage spectacles as cheerleaders, laser light shows and burning guitars. The Toilet Böys have released 14 albums and have toured the world alongside the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dee Dee Ramone and Deborah Harry.
19. Trixie Mattel
The winner of Drag Race All Stars 3 released his first studio album, Two Birds, in 2017 and One Stone the following year. Of all the drag queen musicians on our list, Mattel is the only to release country-folk music albums. With songs like “Mama Don’t Make Me Put On the Dress Again,” “Little Sister” and “Red Side of the Moon,” Mattel’s albums contain a mix of surprisingly deep ballads and country bops exploring the joy and melancholy of male femininity.
20. Vaginal Creme Davis
Part of the queercore movement of the 1980s, this intersex performer embodied the movement’s brand of gender-fucked politics through solo performances and collaborations with bands like Black Fag, ¡Cholita! The Female Menudo and The Afro Sisters, all of which dealt in overtly sexual and racial themes. Interestingly, Davis doesn’t self-identify as a musician and has said, “My goal has never been to purposely entertain anyone.”
21. Willam Belli
Known for a quick wit and sharp tongue, Belli followed up an unexpectedly short stint on Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race with hilarious music parodies of pop hits that mocked Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay politics (“Chow Down (at Chick-fil-A)”), praised well-endowed men (“Love You Like a Big Schlong”) and skewered secret bedroom submissives (“That Boy is a Bottom”). Willam Belli has released two albums and was a member of The AAA Girls with Alaska Thunderfuck and Courtney Act and — prior to that — the group DWV alongside Detox and Vicky Vox, who had us chuckling with the track “Blurred Bynes,” a parody of controversial Robin Thicke song “Blurred Lines.”