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Same-sex love is rarely addressed in Malaysia’s entertainment industry, but when it is, it’s usually in a bad light. Despite LGBT+ teens being four times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual teens, it’s crucial for music to fight the misconceptions that lead to oppressive social norms. Besides that, they just make damn good music! From singing about heartbreak to being carefree, there must be something down there that you can relate and jam to. To make sure no one gets left behind here at JUICE, we’ve compiled a list of LGBT+ singers, with three out of seven from our country itself.
Here are seven Asian artists who took the risk to be true to their sexuality and deliver us bops!
It would be rude to not include what kids these days call as ‘lesbian jesus’. Starting out as a Disney star, this Japanese mixed singer has been in the spotlight for years (which is why she deserves more recognition here). Hayley Kiyoko has really made a mark in the pop world with her catchy tunes and smooth dance moves, so it’s amazing to see her aiming towards mainstream media. Given the current social landscape, we believe she can definitely go far.
Ah, the first Malaysian in the list and surprisingly, it’s a band! Self-proclaimed as a Queer-core band. Shh..Diam! is based in Kuala Lumpur and despite not having that many recorded tracks, you can easily find ’em rocking on stage at a local show. Their carefree & happy spirit ignites the crowd as they mosh out. So if you’re into that, then you better make sure to check them out.
Our own r’n’b prince Alextbh might be fresh in the music scene, but he’s already made his mark. As his music prospers, he is making us proud by reaching out to audiences outside of Malaysia. He’s recently represented us at Laneway Festival in Singapore, which proves that everyone loves Alex just they way he is. With bops like ‘Alive’, ‘Stoop So Low’ and ‘You’ feat Sam Rui, it’s no wonder why people could just chill and vibe out with his music.
Our last fellow Malaysian in the list, Saintraja aka singer and producer Raja Azrai, who is known for releasing a full-on queer music video last Pride month. His latest album In Saint contains songs that are truly direct without hesitation, and banging beats to make you dance your ass off. His electro-pop music blends in nicely with his haunting vocals.
This dude right here is the first ever openly gay K-pop star and we are lih-ving! Marshall Bang’s voice is nothing but a power box; a mixture of a rich, smoky rasp that’s reminiscent of a 90’s r’n’b singer, one whose sound is both familiar and different altogether. As a musician who resides in a homophobic country (sounds familiar?), he is definitely pushing boundaries.
Another K-pop idol, Holland puts his sexuality front and centre on his debut. The newcomer released his first single Neverland in January, kicking off the new year with a song and an aesthetically pleasing music video that revels in queer love. Imagine all the cuteness in K-pop meshed in with early moody Troye Sivan era, that what’s you get here.
Last on the list, is an artist hailing from Singapore. This 20-year old visual artiste creates dream-pop music that you just want to get lost into. Of Methodist’s hooks derives from pop-rock influences and his lyrical references unabashedly point to home. Don’t even get us started on his music videos! If you love artistes who have a very distinct visual aesthetic with their music, then he is definitely one to look up to.
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