The Queer Invasion of Grammys 2023
Article by Maya Vukovska
The biggest annual event in the music industry, the Grammys, is just around the corner - it’s going to be aired live on February, 5, from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. Everybody seems excited about it - even oldies, like the rock legend Iggy Pop, who once said he hated “those people”. This year’s edition is epoch-making for one particular reason: LGBTQ+ artists were nominated in all four major categories! That means that for the first time we could see openly LGBTQ+ musicians walk away with awards for best song, record, new artist, and album of the year.
Here are some of these artists.
This cute little piece of Mexican descent got his breakthrough on Spotify with the song “Ugotme” in 2017, while still working at a fast-food restaurant. Four years later, he had already amassed 100 million streams on the platform and had signed a deal with Warner Records. Another year later, he is nominated for Grammy in the Best News Artist category! The young musician grew up dancing with women and men, who were very masculine and he just loved it. At the beginning of his career, he would refuse to label his sexuality, although many of his songs clearly spoke about relationships with men. In November last year, Apollo went viral with “Evergreen”, in which he sings about a male crush who left him for a girl. When asked about his sexuality in a recent interview, Omar says, “Yes, I was trying to be mysterious and stuff, but I don’t care anymore. Now, I’m just whatever…I’m very gay.”
At the last year’s Grammy Awards, this lesbian country music singer/songwriter made a performance everybody talked about for weeks. She walked the red carpet dressed in a Hugo Boss suit fit for the goddess she is, holding the hand of her wife. They kissed, and then she simply stole the show.
The musician officially came out in 2022. Ten years later, she announced she was engaged to Catherine Shepherd. The couple has two daughters… and also goats, chickens, a horse, a dog, and a cat.
This year, the 41-year-old Carlile has scored nominations in seven categories - just as many as Lady Gaga!
Sam Smith and Kim Petras
No doubt, the collaboration between the Brit Sam Smith and the German Kim Petras has turned out to be a combustible one - their song “Unholy” has brought them a nomination for Best Pop Duo. While it’s the seventh nomination in Smith’s career, Petras is a newbie in this stuff.
Many of us still remember how at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in 2014, Smith came out as gay. When accepting the award for Record of the Year, they thanked the man who “this record is about, and who I fell in love with.” That was a big step forward for Smith because for years they had been struggling to get in terms with their gender. But they made it - with the help of Lady Gaga and makeup.
As for Kim Petras, she was assigned male at birth but at the age of 13, she started gender transitioning. She appeared in a documentary and numerous talk shows in a push to get permission for early sex reassignment surgery. Which she eventually got! The international media coverage of her transition built up her image as the world’s youngest transsexual.
Smith and Petras made history by becoming the first non-binary and first trans artist duo to reach number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The 24-year-old Compton-raised artist got recognition as the guitar player of the R&B band The Internet. In 2022, he shot to fame after his song “Bad Habits” made it to the top of the charts. The song also got him his first Grammy nomination for Song of the Year.
When he looks back at his childhood, he sees himself as being a shy and very much confused kid. “I thought it would be a fantasy to kiss a boy,” he says. “That was the sweetest taboo.” His self-confidence and sexual awareness have grown over the years, and now almost all of what he writes about is sex. “You have a heavy dick, a cannon…I could use your deep throat”. I mean, obviously, the guy has kissed more than one boy since his shy childhood back in Campton…
Although she’s not gay herself, this talented artist with voluptuous forms has always considered herself an ally and “leans heterosexual.” As a teen, she used to be teased for being gay just because she would stare at the girls’ makeup around her. Nobody liked her because of her size, and because she was a bookworm, dressed weird, and was in a band. But the girl had the spirit and soon, she succeeded in turning things around. Oh, she thought, my size makes you uncomfortable? Well, let me just sit on your face. And so she did.
She has previously won three Grammys, and this year, she got five nominations.