meta-scriptSting, Imagine Dragons, Martin Bandier To Be Feted At 2019 BMI Pop Awards |


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Sting, Imagine Dragons, Martin Bandier To Be Feted At 2019 BMI Pop Awards

The performing rights organization reveals this year's group of special honorees for the upcoming ceremony in May to be held in Beverly Hills, Calif.

GRAMMYs/Apr 5, 2019 - 03:08 am

BMI have announced this year's honorees for their 67th annual Pop Awards: GRAMMY winning singer/songwriter Sting, GRAMMY-winning pop/rock outfit Imagine Dragons, and music publishing executive Martin Bandier.

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Sting's stunning 17 GRAMMY wins and 45 nominations range from his first career GRAMMY for "Reggatta De Blanc" for Best Rock Instrumental Performance nearly 40 years ago to his recent win for 44/876 for Best Reggae Album earlier this year. His ubiquitous hit with the Police, “Every Breath You Take,” will be celebrated during the ceremony as BMI’s most performed song, ending the 22-year run at the top by “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.”

“We couldn’t be more excited for this year’s ceremony, which honors the best of the best in pop music and celebrates songwriting at its finest,” said BMI president and CEO Mike O’Neill. “For the first time in 22 years, BMI has a new top song in our repertoire with Sting’s timeless hit ‘Every Breath You Take,’ a remarkable achievement that solidifies its place in songwriting history. It’s a milestone that demands a special tribute.”

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“We are also thrilled to celebrate the groundbreaking artistry and creative vision of Imagine Dragons," added O'Neill, "Who have become one of the most compelling rock bands of the last decade and a most deserving recipient of our President’s Award."

A notable champion for songwriters, Bandier will become the first-ever executive to recieve BMI's Icon Award. He currently serves as Chairman/CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing since 2007 following a lengthy and successful stint at EMI Music Publishing. Earlier this year, Bandier was honored by the Songwriter Hall Of Fame with the Visionary Leadership Award.

The 67th annual BMI Pop Awards will take place May 14 at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Songwriters Hall Of Fame To Honor Martin Bandier

Benson Boone performing at 2023 KCON
Benson Boone performs at KIIS FM's K-Pop Village at KCON LA in August 2023.

Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images


Get To Know Benson Boone, The "Beautiful Things" Singer & Rising Pop-Rock Sensation

As Benson Boone's erupting smash "Beautiful Things" continues to dominate Billboard's global charts, rounded up seven things to know about the budding star, from his reality TV roots to his rock star mentor.

GRAMMYs/Mar 15, 2024 - 08:25 pm

Benson Boone's swift rise to stardom has been a beautiful thing to witness. Over the past three years, the Monroe, Washington native has gone from viral TikTok influencer to one of Gen Z's most promising pop talents.

Remarkably, the 21-year-old pop-rock artist didn't even discover his voice until he reached high school, after his best friend asked him to play the piano in their school's battle of the bands competition and the singer dropped out at the last second. Boone found himself filling in, an impromptu decision that would unwittingly alter the course of his entire life.

"It's just like I unlocked something I didn't know I had," he mused recently to MTV. "And I stopped, like, halfway through the first verse and just looked around, and I was so shocked that I had just sang…It was, like, the best feeling of my life."

Cut to the present day, and Boone's voice has helped him soar to the top of multiple Billboard charts. His latest single "Beautiful Things," a desperate prayer of a love song that pinballs between warm, folksy verses and a rollicking chorus reminiscent of Freddie Mercury's electrifying vocals, has positively exploded since its January release. Boone's breakout hit has spent six consecutive weeks in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 3 as of press time and topping both of Billboard's global charts for multi-week runs.

"My life has changed dramatically since the song came out," Boone reflected earlier this month in a sit-down with Variety. "It's so, so, so insane to me that this is happening. I'm trying so hard to formulate words. I have so much trouble processing it all right now…But when I sit back and look at what's happening, it really, truly blows my mind. Because it's something a lot of people dream of, and [I'm] one of those people."

Benson is steadfast in building on the runaway success of "Beautiful Things," too. The singer/songwriter's forthcoming debut album is expected some time later this year, and his just-announced Fireworks and Rollerblades World Tour kicks off April 3 in Chicago, with legs in North America, the U.K., Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

As Boone's rise to superstardom continues, rounded up everything you need to know about the buzzy star-in-the-making, from his brief stint on reality TV to the A-list rocker who's taken him under his wing.

He's A Proud "American Idol" Dropout

Before he became a rising star on the charts, Boone initially attempted to get his start in music on "American Idol." During Season 19, the then-18-year-old auditioned for the reality show with a piano-playing cover of Aidan Martin's 2017 single "Punchline" after producers came across his videos online.

Boone's jaw-dropping audition earned a standing ovation from judges Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan before Katy Perry confidently declared, "They're gonna swoon over Benson Boone." All three judges were baffled to learn that the teenager had only discovered his obvious musical talent the year before, and the "Roar" singer doubled down on her praise by predicting, "I'm gonna tell you something that you may not believe. But if you believe it, it might happen…I see you winning 'American Idol' if you want to."

"That is the biggest compliment I've ever gotten, thank you," a starstruck Boone replied. However, by the time Hollywood week rolled around, the fresh-faced teenager had apparently decided he didn't want to win the long-running reality competition, and withdrew after advancing to the Top 24. 

"The reason I quit 'American Idol' is because I wanted to do music," he explained a couple of years later during an appearance on The Zach Sang Show. "I don't want people to be like, 'Oh, Benson Boone, 'American Idol' blew him up. Like, that's where he comes from. No. I want to be Benson Boone 'cause I write smash hits and they love my music…I just didn't want that label on me."

He Has A Bonafide Rock Superstar For A Mentor

Part of Boone's success as a solo artist can be attributed to Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, who came across the young talent and personally signed him to Night Street Records, the rock singer's own Warner Records imprint that has also boasted K.Flay on its exclusive roster, in 2021. 

"We sign artists so rarely at Night Street — it was one of those moments where you know you have no choice," the frontman told Billboard at the time Boone inked his record deal. "That's how I felt when I first sat in a recording booth with Benson. I'm excited for the world to get to know him the way I have these last months."

Since then, Reynolds has also served as a sort of industry mentor figure for Boone, as the burgeoning rocker explained in a 2023 interview promoting the release of his EP Pulse. "He makes you feel comfortable in your own skin, he's very gifted in that way," Boone told iHeartRadio Canada. "So working with him has been incredible, and him taking time for an artist very much smaller than him is just…he's a very kind soul. 

"I think that the main thing that he's taught me is that in this industry, everybody wants something different from you," he continued. "Everybody has a different outlook on yourself than you actually do. And regardless of what that is, you are the leader of your own career and your own life. You have to do things that make you happy, write music that you want to be writing, releasing things that you're proud of…He's just taught me to stick to my gut and just follow my own dreams."

His Earlier Singles Pack An Emotional Punch (No, Seriously, Grab Some Tissues)

The runaway success of "Beautiful Things" may have earned Boone's legions of newfound fans in the last two months, but it's actually not his biggest song on streaming platforms (at least just yet). Before his soul-baring folk-rock anthem was burning up charts around the world, the singer released his debut single "Ghost Town" and heartbreaking follow-up "In The Stars," both of which are included on his debut 2021 EP Walk Me Home… (As of press time, the former has more than 336 million streams on Spotify, and the latter has a whopping 617 million.)

Another smoldering torch song, "Ghost Town" became Boone's first official entry on the Hot 100 after it was released in October 2021. "Maybe you'd be happier with someone else/ Maybe loving me's the reason you can't love yourself/ Before I turn your heart into a ghost town/ Show me everything we build so I can tear it all down," he laments on the soaring chorus over a running piano line and booming, orchestral percussion.

On the heels of "Ghost Town," Boone then penned "In the Stars" in 2022 about the death of his beloved great-grandma. "That kind of loss can be more emotional and heartfelt than a relationship," he told Genius about the song's tender meaning. "I wanted to write about something that was real. It's something I've never really talked about or dealt face to face with. Songwriting is very new to me, and so I'm still learning that process of figuring out how to cope with something through a song. And I think this is kind of where that starts for me." 

Other pre-"Beautiful Things" tracks worth checking out in Boone's quickly blossoming discography include the addictive TikTok smash "Sugar Sweet," wistfully upbeat bop "Coffee Cake" and the introspective "What Was."

His Stage Presence Is Downright Acrobatic

Boone may be a relative newcomer in the music industry, but he's already developed a magnetic stage presence at his packed live shows. In fact, one of his signature tricks on stage is landing a backflip mid-song without so much as missing a beat.

To tease his upcoming world tour, the singer posted a clip of himself in late January belting out "What Was" in front of an ecstatic crowd. In the video, he impressively nails a flip before effortlessly transitioning right into the power ballad's bombastic climax, wailing, "Let me/ Start over/ The moment that I left you in tears/ Is a mem'ry that will haunt me for years/ And years and years and years and years."

"My dad is 49 years old and still backflips, I get it from him," the singer confessed to Australian outlet The Project on his first trip Down Under in the fall of 2022. "I always thought he was, like, the coolest…but yeah, I've been flipping since I was, like, four and it's just always been my thing."

He Has Roots In Mormonism

Boone grew up in small-town Washington as the only boy in a Mormon family with four sisters. He's never really spoken publicly about growing up in the clean-cut, high-demand religion, but he actually briefly attended Brigham Young University—Idaho, the Mormon university in Rexburg, for a semester before pausing his education to focus on music.

Mormonism is a trait he coincidentally shares with his mentor Reynolds, who's been outspoken throughout his career about his Mormon background and actually got kicked out of Brigham Young University around the same time he formed Imagine Dragons. 

While Boone grew up outside the "Book of Mormon Belt" — the geographic area that radiates from Mormonism's Salt Lake City headquarters to include parts of Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming and even southern Alberta, Canada — his Mormon roots have shown up in his music in subtle ways. He even filmed the official music video for "Beautiful Things" against the majestic backdrop of the red rock bluffs outside St. George, Utah (which just so happens to be this writer's hometown!).

He Serves As His Own Creative Team

Boone's creative side extends beyond the realm of music: he's also a talented artist who often draws the cover art for his own singles. When "Ghost Town" was released in 2021, he showed off his skills by sketching the song's artwork for Spotify's Today's Top Hits — even admitting it was his first time attempting to draw a self-portrait with charcoal.

"I've always loved drawing and painting," Boone said of his artistic flair in a 2023 interview, also noting that he designs all his own merchandise. "I get that from my dad…My dad's, like, a crazy artist, he's so good. And so it's kinda just always been something that I've done."

He's An Avid Rollerblader

As the name of his upcoming Fireworks and Rollerblades World Tour would suggest, Boone is both a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie and has a not-so-secret passion for rollerblading. In fact, the singer's TikTok feed is littered with videos of himself landing tricks, stunts and, of course, flips on wheels in between the requisite promo material teasing new music like his upcoming single "Slow It Down," footage from live shows and other viral TikTok content.

What other tricks does Benson Boone have up his sleeve for the rest of 2024? Judging by his meteoric chart success thus far, the world is eagerly waiting to find out.

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Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams

Photo: Todd Owyoung / NBC via Getty Images


10 Fascinating Facts About Bryan Adams: From Writing For KISS To His Serious Side Hustle

The GRAMMY-winning singer and guitarist has sold over 75 million albums and is about to share his songs on the world stage. Ahead of his So Happy It Hurts tour, read on for 10 lesser-known facts about the raspy-voiced rocker.

GRAMMYs/Jan 19, 2024 - 02:54 pm

One of Canada's biggest rock stars, Bryan Adams has had a massively successful and sonically diverse career that spans 45 years. With one win and 16 GRAMMY nominations under his belt, Adams' prolific output includes numerous chart-topping albums and big-name collaborations.

Yet, for a man who has sold over 75 million albums and wants his music to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, Bryan Adams doesn't seem to seek the limelight. 

He’s not tabloid fodder, doesn’t date celebrities, and does not court controversy. While he certainly will promote his latest album or tour — and will begin his international tour on Jan. 20 in Montana —  but Adams is an intensely private individual who is selective with the interviews that he gives and in what he speaks about. He is also not a flamboyantly dressed performer, preferring the jeans and t-shirt that he has carried over from his very beginnings. Appropriately enough, he often calls his band the Dudes Of Leisure.

Adams’ most recent studio album is called So Happy It Hurts and recently released a 3-CD box set of live recordings of three classic albums performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall: Cuts Like A Knife, Into The Fire, and Waking Up The Neighbors.

Ahead of his So Happy It Hurts Tour — which will certainly see Adams perform hits "Summer Of ‘69," "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You," "Can’t Stop This Thing We Started" — read on for 10 lesser-known facts about the raspy-voiced rocker.

who has befriended and collaborated with an impressive range of artists across numerous media.

He Signed His First Contract For $1

Back in 1978, when was just 18 years old, Adams signed a recording contract with A&M Records who decided to take a chance on the fledgling rocker with a "wait and see" attitude. 

They signed him for the paltry sum of $1 which Adams insisted on receiving so he could frame it. 

While his first two albums, Bryan Adams (1980) and You Want It You Got It (1981) didn’t exactly set the world on fire, his third release Cuts Like A Knife (1983) went platinum in America and triple platinum in his native Canada, selling at least 1.5 million copies worldwide. Seems like A&M got a great return on their investment.

His Breakthrough Hit Was Written For Someone Else

In January 1983, producer Bruce Fairbairn asked Adams and songwriting partner Jim Vallance  to come up with a song for Blue Öyster Cult. Their original version of "Run To You" did not impress the band (or Adams) and they passed — so did .38 Special and other groups. 

When Adams needed one more song for 1984’s Reckless, he pulled out "Run" and taught it to his band. This time, everyone including album producer Bob Clearmountain was impressed. It became the album's lead single and Adams' biggest hit, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. 

Although the previous Cuts Like A Knife had three hits singles and went platinum, Reckless spawned six hits ("Heaven" went No. 1) and turned Adams into a superstar, selling 5 million copies in America and reportedly 7 million more globally.

He’s Penned Dozens Of Songs For Others

Adams has co-written songs for numerous other artists, many of them hard rockers. In 1982, he and Vallance co-wrote "Rock and Roll Hell" and "War Machine" with Gene Simmons for the KISS album Creatures Of The Night; and he worked with Paul Stanley and Mikel Japp on "Down On Your Knees" for KISS Killers

That led to credits on albums by Ted Nugent, Motley Crue and Krokus (who used a leftover from Reckless). But the recipients of Adams’ songs span a wide range of artists including Neil Diamond, Tina Turner, Bonnie Raitt, Loverboy, .38 Special, and Anne Murray.

He Loves A Good Duet

Bryan Adams' duets often appear on movie soundtracks and tend to do well. His Reckless collaboration with Tina Turner, "It’s Only Love," was a Top 20 hit, peaking at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. But things got bigger from there. 

"All For Love," his song with Sting and Rod Stewart for the Three Musketeers film soundtrack (1993) went No. 1 in at least a dozen countries, selling nearly 2 million copies globally. He’s also duetted with Bonnie Raitt ("Rock Steady"), Barbra Streisand ("I Finally Found Someone" which went Top 10), and Melanie C from Spice Girls ("When You’re Gone"). He’s also recorded with Chicane, Pamela Anderson, Emmanuelle Seigner, Loverush UK, and Michael Bublé.

In recent years, Adams has said that he would like to duet with Beyonce and Lady Gaga. And in case you missed it, Taylor Swift once brought him onstage to perform "Summer Of ‘69."

The Reckless Video Album Is A Story Of Unrequited Love

With its six videos slightly out of order from actual release, the Reckless video compilation (1984) charts a melancholy story. In "This Time" (the final video from Cuts Like A Knife), Adams is seeking out a woman in a desert town who's only shown with glimpses of her legs and heels. At the end, he finds her in the back of his van and they hook up — or is it just a mirage? 

"Summer Of ‘69" intercuts black and white footage of Adams and a young woman during their teen years with color images of their separate lives today. At the end, his old flame drives by with her current boyfriend who sees her eyeing the rocker, gets angry, and violently stops the car. In "Somebody," she escapes the car as he screams at her, and then she and Adams wander in different locations as they recollect one another. 

In "Kids Wanna Rock," Adams jumps onstage for a high energy performance, while in "Heaven," his old flame’s new guy has been pulled over for drunk driving, so she ditches him to see the Bryan Adams show conveniently happening across the street. He is unaware she is there, mesmerized by him. 

After he races off the stage he finds himself locked inside the venue with snow coming down outside. In "Run To You," actually the album’s first single, Adams performs in wind and snow-swept environs and fantasizes about the same woman who finally walks up to him at the end. But they never embrace or kiss.

He’s An Acclaimed Photographer

Adams has been taking photos for most of his life, but it’s no longer a hobby. — he has photographed everyone from rock stars to royalty, and even himself for his own album covers. He got a lot of good pointers about photography and darkroom work when the famed Anton Corbijn shot the cover for 1987’s Into The Fire.

While Adams’ memorable portraits of people like Pink, Mick Jagger, Amy Winehouse, Rammstein, and yes, Queen Elizabeth II, he has also published books of portraits of homeless people, wounded war veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, images of sand from the Island Of Mustique, and American women dressed in Calvin Klein. He uses proceeds from these books to benefit various charitable causes. He also shot the 2022 calendar for the Pirelli Tire Company to help them celebrate their 150th anniversary. 

These days, Adams told Louder Sound that he is "a photographer moonlighting as a singer."

He’s A Longtime Vegan & Animal Rights Advocate

The singer first became vegetarian at age 28 and later turned vegan, citing animal cruelty in the face of human food consumption. Adams has said that he gets an abundance of energy from his plant-based diet, noting he no longer gets sick. 

Adams has promoted his lifestyle to fans through positive posts, and he joins other famous musicians who are also vegan including Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish, and Stevie Wonder.

He Is Staunchly Committed To Humanitarian & Charitable Causes

Adams has lent his voice and face to a variety of causes. It all started with his appearance at the Live Aid Festival in 1985, which raised many for Ethiopian famine relief. That was followed by the two-week Amnesty International A Conspiracy of Hope tour in 1986, the 1988 Peace Concert in East Berlin, and many others. From earthquake and tsunami relief to climate change to the Mideast peace process, he has been involved in many causes, and he is an LGBTQ ally as well.

In 2006, he co-founded the Bryan Adams Foundation with the goal of improving quality of life around the world via financial grants. Funds "support specific projects that are committed to bettering the lives of other people. The Foundation seeks to protect the most vulnerable or disadvantaged individuals in society." A big goal is "to advance education and learning opportunities for children and young people worldwide."

He Co-Wrote A Broadway Musical

Adams is known for having hit songs from movies including Don Juan DeMarco, The Three Musketeers, The Mirror Has Two Faces, and Robin Hood, Prince Of Thieves. Some people might not know that he and Jim Vallance co-wrote the score to the Broadway adaptation of "Pretty Woman," which ran for 420 performances over a year starting in August 2018. It is currently touring the UK and U.S. 

None of the movie’s pop songs were used; the score was entirely theirs. And it turns out he and Vallance had to audition their work to producers. Adams told Billboard in 2016 that the duo crafted three songs and presented them to the producers, who responded with a "don’t call us, we’ll call you" approach. Thirty minutes later, Adams got the call.

He Tours Places Other Western Artists Don't Visit

Bryan Adams has performed in places other Western artists don't often visit. He has toured India several times; Adams first played Mumbai in the early ‘90s and was impressed with the loyalty of Indian audiences. He was reportedly the first Western artist to play Karachi, Pakistan after the Sept. 11 attacks, and toured in Syria and Lebanon in December 2010. He said Syria had a great audience and had never hosted a Western artist before. 

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Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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Big Freedia at iHeartRadio Can't Cancel Pride 2023
Big Freedia attends iHeartRadio's Can't Cancel Pride in April 2023.

Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images for iHeartRadio


9 Artists Who Advocate For The LGBTQIA+ Community: Troye Sivan, Taylor Swift, Madonna & More

From Big Freedia to Beyoncé, artists who identify as queer and allies alike celebrate love in all its forms.

GRAMMYs/Jun 21, 2023 - 11:00 pm

"GAY RIGHTS!!!!!" Betty Who captioned a cheeky photo earlier this month. Yes, it was a well-known inside joke among the LGBTQIA+ community, but the all-caps message held some serious meaning. The queer pop star's photo was from the White House's 2023 Pride Celebration, where President Biden formally announced the New Actions to Protect the LGBTQIA+ Community plan — and Betty Who was the star performer.

Music has always been a safe haven for gay and trans people of all kinds — from the closeted kids in Middle America finding sanctuary in the songs of their favorite pop stars, to the out-and-proud artists forming the soundtrack for the next generation of LGBTQIA+ fans. And Pride has always been a special time of the year to celebrate visibility and inclusion in the music industry — a place where everyone deserves to show up and be seen (and heard!) as their authentic self, and where every proverbial note, melody and harmony make up a beautiful and unique soundtrack that can only be yours.

Recently, queer musicians and allies who use their platforms to stand up for the LGBTQIA+ community has felt more important than ever. A rash of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation has swept through state legislatures across the country, from so-called "Don't Say Gay" bills to blatant legal attacks on drag queens, trans kids and LGBTQIA+ history as a whole —  but those who stand for the community are fighting even harder.

As Pride month carries on, has rounded up a list of nine LGBTQIA+ artists, allies and bonafide gay icons who've made advocating for the community a central tenet of their music, their words and their actions. Of course, there are dozens to highlight, but take a look at how queer artists like Kim Petras and Troye Sivan and allies like Taylor Swift and Madonna have helped fans shine as their authentic selves.


Kim Petras

Petras cemented her place as a rising star in the pop music echelon in February, when she became the first trans woman to win the GRAMMY for Best Pop Duo/Group collaboration with Sam Smith for their subversive collaboration "Unholy." (Smith, who identifies as non-binary, also made history with the win, though they graciously ceded the floor for Petras to give her awestruck acceptance speech on the GRAMMYs stage.)

As the cover star of Out's 2023 Pride issue, the German pop princess spoke out about the rash of anti-trans rhetoric taking root in legislatures across the country and harming vulnerable trans youth. "I literally was very suicidal as a kid, and I just wouldn't still be here had my parents not believed me," she told the magazine. "I hate that another generation is going through this, and I hate that young kids are going through the same s–t I was going through, and that apparently just isn't changing. I think it's sad. I just never understood why people were so obsessed with what people do to be happy. Just focus on what you can do to be happy."

Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X has never been shy when it comes to sticking up for the queer community — and he usually does so with a healthy dose of snarky humor on social media. He's cheerfully clapped back about everything from the explicit queerness of his music videos to his place in the modern pantheon of hip-hop; mostly recently, he hopped on Twitter to hilariously take down conservative outrage over Pride-themed merchandise at Target.

"Can't believe target is supporting this nonsense, im never shopping there again, my son is not 'too cool for school' these shirts are ridiculous. He is going to school and he WILL learn," the GRAMMY winner wrote in a since-deleted tweet, mockingly referencing the anti-LGBTQIA+ crusaders upset with inclusive and trans-friendly apparel being sold at the popular retailer. 

In another instance from late April, Montero made his stance hysterically clear when he tweeted, "I want to clear all the straight rumors. i have many straight friends and i support their community, but that is NOT me!"

Troye Sivan

Years before releasing his debut album Blue Neighborhood in 2015, Troye Sivan came out publicly via YouTube. Since then, he's been consistently outspoken about his experiences as a gay artist in the music industry.

The Australia native, who announced his long-awaited follow-up to 2018's Bloom earlier this month, has made a consistent point in his career to turn his visuals into unapologetic examples of queer art — from the lusty defiance of 2018's "My My My!" to the "gushy juicy doting adoring power b^tt^m gay ballad" perfection that was 2021's "Angel Baby."

Perhaps most powerful of all, though, was his video for early single "Heaven" featuring Betty Who, which depicted historic moments in the LGBTQIA+ rights movement including some of the earliest Pride parades on record. "We have always been here. we will always be here. this video is dedicated to all those who've come before me and fought for our cause and those who now continue the fight," he wrote in the video's description. "in dark and light times, let's love forever. love, troye x."

Betty Who

Speaking of Betty Who, the indie pop star received an invitation directly from President Biden to perform at the White House's official 2023 Pride Celebration, where the commander in chief formally announced his administration's plan titled New Actions to Protect the LGBTQIA+ Community. The three-point roll-out promises to focus on "Strengthening Physical Safety," "Addressing Civil Rights Violations" and "Strengthening Mental Health and other Support Resources."

"Today was the biggest pride celebration ever held at the white house and i got to be a part of it!!!!!!!!" Betty, who identifies as both queer and bisexual, wrote afterwards on social media. "So many things i want to say! What an honour it is, how proud i am to be part of the lgbtqia+ [community], how special today's event was and how grateful i am to @potus, @drbiden and the amazing white house staff for hosting us. queer joy spouting everywhere!!! very grateful for this incredible experience."

Big Freedia

Earlier this year, Big Freedia was honored by PFLAG — the nation's longest-running LGBTQIA+ organization — with its first-ever National Breaking Barriers Award. The new honor, which she received at PGFLAG's 50th anniversary gala in March, is meant to shine the spotlight on "an individual who uses their platform to help remove obstacles to LGBTQIA+ and intersectional equality in pursuit of a more just, equitable and inclusive world."

Upon receiving the award, the bounce music trailblazer (and 2023 GRAMMY winner) took to Instagram with a determined message, writing, "There's still so much work to do to fight discrimination and I will continue to work on behalf of our whole community to spread love, acceptance, inclusion and everyone's right TO BE FREE."


Taylor Swift

While she'd slyly referenced her support for the LGBTQIA+ community in the past on songs like "Welcome to New York," Taylor Swift took a public stand in 2019 with her Lover era single "You Need to Calm Down." The gay anthem's celebratory music video issued a call to action for her fans to support the as-yet-unpassed Equality Act with her very own petition.

During her Eras Tour stop in Chicago earlier this month, the superstar spoke specifically to her LGBTQIA+ fans, promising them that her concerts would always be a "safe space" for them to celebrate who they are. 

"I wish that every place was safe and beautiful for people in the LGBTQ community, I really wish that. We can't talk about Pride Month without talking about pain," she told the sold-out crowd of Swifties at Soldier Field. "There have been so many harmful pieces of legislation that have put people in the LGBTQ and queer community at risk. It's painful for everyone — every ally, every loved one, every person in these communities. And that's why I'm always posting, 'This is when the midterms are. This is when these important, key primaries are.'

"'Cause we can support as much as we want during Pride Month," the 12-time GRAMMY winner continued. "But if we're not doing our research on these elected officials — Are they advocates? Are they allies? Are they protectors of equality? Do I want to vote for them? — I love you guys so much and happy Pride Month."


What hasn't Madonna done in her iconic career to lift up the LGBTQIA+ community? In fact, there's an entire Wikipedia page dedicated solely to her status as a living gay icon.

Famously, Her Madgesty's love for the gay community started with her early mentor and dance teacher Christopher Flynn. Early in her career, she became one of the first artists to speak out about the HIV/AIDS crisis and decry the stigmatization of gay people at the time.

She's been recognized by the GLAAD Media Awards multiple times, including in 1991 with the Raising Gay Awareness award and in 2019 with the Advocate for Change award. (At the latter ceremony, GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis stated, "Madonna always has and always will be the LGBTQ community's greatest ally.")

More recently, Madge added multiple dates to her upcoming Celebration Tour, including a special stop in Nashville to stand in solidarity with the state's queer, trans and drag communities as they've been bombarded by a string of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation from the state's Capitol.

"The oppression of the LGBTQIA+ is not only unacceptable and inhumane; it's creating an unsafe environment; making America a dangerous place for our most vulnerable citizens, especially trans women of color," she wrote on Instagram alongside the announcement. "Also, these so-called laws to protect our children are unfounded and pathetic. Anyone with half a brain knows not to f— with a drag queen. Bob and I will see you from the stage in Nashville where we will celebrate the beauty that is the queer community!"


Long considered a gay icon in her own right, Beyoncé paid reverential honor to the LGBTQIA+ community and her late uncle Johnny with 2022's Renaissance, an undulating magnum opus inspired by the underground ballroom scene sparked by Black, trans and gay pioneers of the 1970s, '80s, '90s, and beyond.

Queen Bey also holds space for queer artists throughout Renaissance's sprawling, hour-long track list, collaborating with TS Madison and Big Freedia, sampling Kevin Aviance and late drag star Moi Renee, working with Honey Dijon behind the boards and more. "Thank you to all of the pioneers who originate culture, to all of the fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognized for far too long," the living legend wrote in a note posted to her personal website upon the album's release. "This is a celebration for you."

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds has emerged as a powerful advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community through his nonprofit organization Loveloud and its popular Utah festival, which he launched in 2017 to support LGBTQIA+ teens in the state's overwhelmingly conservative (and outspokenly anti-LGBTQIA+) Mormon community. 

This year, though, Reynolds and the Loveloud board — which includes out and proud musicians like Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees, Vincint, Wrabel and Parson James — have expanded Loveloud's mission beyond the Mormonism of the Wasatch front. In early March, Loveloud announced it would be transforming into a traveling festival for its sixth year with stops in Austin, Texas, where dozens of anti-LGBTQIA+ laws have been pursued by the state legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott, and Washington D.C.

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