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Brody Ray

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OUT Front: Brody Ray Found Himself In Music | TRANScendent Sounds Festival 2021

Brody Ray shares "the most validating experience of my life" ahead of his performance at TRANScendent Sounds Festival 2021 this Saturday, June 26

GRAMMYs/Jun 24, 2021 - 06:51 am

Nashville singer/songwriter Brody Ray publicly came out as a trans man on stage on season 13 of "America's Got Talent," receiving a standing ovation from the judges for his performance. "That was probably the most validating experience of my life," he recently told GRAMMY.com.

"When I was very young, music was one thing that got me through a lot of my emotional struggles. It was a way that I could express myself and let people know how I was feeling," Ray shared. Watch the full video below.

Catch Brody Ray's debut performance of his new single "Friend Zone," and many more epic sets, at the second annual TRANScendent Sounds Festivalairing this Saturday, June 26, at 3 p.m. ET / noon PT on GRAMMY.com and the Recording Academy's YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Watch TRANScendent Sounds Festival 2021 In Full: Performances And Appearances By Billy Porter, Angelica Ross, Nomi Ruiz, Shea Diamond, KC Ortiz & More

Troye Sivan performs in concert during Primavera Sound Festival on May 31, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Xavi Torrent/Redferns)
Troye Sivan performs during Primavera Sound Festival on May 31, 2024

Photo: Xavi Torrent/Redferns

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9 Outstanding Sets From Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival 2024: SZA, Amaarae, Charli XCX & More

Barcelona’s illustrious city festival celebrated 20 years of big music moments at Parc del Fòrum. From Vampire Weekend to Troye Sivan, read on for nine unforgettable sets from Primavera Sound 2024.

GRAMMYs/Jun 5, 2024 - 06:04 pm

Primavera Sound is known for its heavy-hitting lineup and even bigger surprise guests. The Spanish festival celebrated 20 years in 2024, and transformed Barcelona's Parc del Fòrum into a masterclass of genre diversity and LGBTQIA+ inclusivity. There, under mostly sun-soaked skies, a wide range of international and native acts lit up multiple stages from May 29 - June 2.

Primavera Barcelona always promises an eclectic mix of performances that showcase native Spanish talent as well as major international headliners to get the party going. However, it’s not just the massive talent that pulls in the crowd. While the mainstages were graced by American superstars  Lana Del Rey,  SZA and Troye Sivan, the festival’s line-up was elevated by the vibrant non-stop DJ stylings of rising Brazilian star Clementaum and the divinity of Arca — who was rightfully labeled "madre!" by a buzzed up Boiler Room x Cupra activation. 

Primavera Sound’s diverse lineup guaranteed a highlight for every kind of festival goer: from the dad rocker to the 20-something throwing themselves head-first into new music. The festival amped up the energy and was keen to ensure a safe space for all music lovers (including regularly signposting a pro-LGBTQIA+ "Nobody Is Normal" campaign). If you weren't in Barcelona to experience the magic happening at Parc del Fòrum, read on for nine highlights from Primavera Sound BCN.

Arca Delivers A Divine Boiler Room Performance

Drawing on heavy doses of electronica, pop and techno, Venezuelan producer and DJ Arca’s unpinnable sound is exactly what made her sets unmissable. Arca set Primavera alight with two incredible sets: an early morning rave on the Amazon Music Stage on May 31, and a second, more intimate event inside Boiler Room x Cupra’s industrial set up on June 1.

The musician's Boiler Room set brought the club to Barcelona, weathering attendees through a humid thunderstorm with sweaty, fusion beats and remixes (Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Zedd) that made her experimental anthems even more exceptional. 

Read more: 8 Essential Latin Electronic Releases: Songs And Albums From Bizarrap, Arca & More

Vampire Weekend Ignite Indie Nostalgia On Their Primavera Return

We all love a bit of Spanish sunshine, but nobody seemed quite as home on-stage as Vampire Weekend. Having last played at the festival in 2008, the 16-year wait was well worth it with a set list doused with indie rock nostalgia and new bangers that kept the late-night crowd grooving.

It’s not easy to keep a mainstage crowd going on opening night (especially as the band faced some line-up changes for the festival) but Vampire Weekend's catalog-spanning performance rocked. They ran though hits "A-Punk, "Campus" "Oxford Comma," and new tracks ("Classical", "Gen-X Cops", "Connect")  from their new fifth album, Only God Was Above Us – a record which frontman Ezra Koeing described as "feeling perfect" on stage. 

No Vampire Weekend set is complete with some curveball covers. This year, to match the beat of their long-overdue festival return, the band kept things fresh with an incredible cover of Sbtrkt’s "New Drop, New York" performed against a smokey, dark red stage backdrop. Whether performing their own catalog, making surprise appearance alongside French rock band Phoenix  or dropping electric covers, Vampire Weekend prove they’re music more than hitmakers — they’re also a summer festival bucket list act too. 

Troye Sivan Kept His Headliner Set Hot

Troye Sivan kicked off his mainstage set on Friday night dripping with innuendo. Replete with sexy outfit changes (including a pair of crotchless pants), effortlessly cool choreography and a very well-positioned mic in his pelvic region, the two-time GRAMMY nominee showed Barcelona that he not only has stadium-worthy tunes but is a stadium-worthy performer. Performing a medley of hits from his third studio album Something To Give You, Sivan's infectious pop tracks were perfectly timed to sexy and immaculately polished dance choreography (featuring his reliable backup dancer troupe of Simone Nolasco, Mauro van de Kerkhof, Benjamin Williams, Ainsley Hall Ricketts and Theo Maddix) against a campily creative set. 

The singer yearned alongside Spanish musician guitarricadelafuente on a silver silk bed as they duetted "In My Room," and belted out Ariana Grande’s "supernatural" in front of a mesmerizing anime video backdrop. Whether it was intimately crooning to synth-pop summer banger "Honey" or throwback hit "1999," Sivan was undoubtedly a mainstage highlight. As he wrapped up his set, the singer shouted out Barcelona's art and culture as an inspiration for Something To Give You. The Primavera performance was one of the biggest shows of his life, and closed this set with his anthem queer hit "RUSH."


Read more:
Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Troye Sivan On "Rush," The Importance Of Dance-Pop & The Spirituality Of Partying

Yeule Opens Primavera With An Electric Set

Kitted out with tattoos, American flag-styled cargo trousers, a heather gray bikini top and chunky boots,  yeule is exactly as you see them: an uncategorizable phenomenon. While their set clashed with major alt-metal and indie acts Deftones and Pulp, yeule’s distorted, glitchy universe was more than immersive; it was an electronic, energetic undertaking that swept the audience away. Away from the main stages, yeule’s set felt like a charged techo-pop portal to their world of emotional, alt-rock tunes.

Shaped by everything from nu-metal, Avril Lavigne and My Chemical Romance, yeule sounds neither human nor computerized. Often conceptualized as being something of a "cyborg identity," yeule's music translates with a darkly alluring style onstage. They opened with the melodic "Electric" from their second studio album Glitch Princess, while the rest of the setlist beautifully emulated their recent album Softscares; an emotional futuristic electro-pop record. The musician’s punk rock inflected "cybermeat," "sulky baby" and "dazies" were highlights, pulling the crowd closer to the stage as well as new listeners in from nearby smaller stages. 

Performing against a flickering urban city backdrop illuminated the midnight sky, yeule's set created the perfect isolated, small-stage universe to hear their deafening screamo notes during "Bite My Neck" and the hauntingly mellow electro-rock closeout track "software update."

Clementaum Brings The Brazilian Party Spirit To The Boiler Room

The Boiler Room x Cupra stage was the place to be this year. While the Parc del Fòrum never fails to pull together an eclectic mix of talent, Primavera Sound truly thrived in showing its ability to channel the club, ballroom and EDM into a live festival setting. There was never a set that didn’t bring the festival goers in glam outfits and the ultimate dance party vibes. However, the raging techno beats of Clementaum that most caught our attention.

Playing to a packed room with festival-goers tightly crammed in even behind her decks, Clementaum led a chant ("Vai Brazil!") as her country’s flag was proudly waved in the crowd.  Feeling more like a late-night rave, the Brazilian DJ had us thriving on deep beat drops and pummeling beats that you couldn’t help but dance to. Artfully skilled, Clementaum fuses Afro-Latin rhythms, ballroom culture and amped-up electronica for an incredible, heart-racing high.

The trance beat-packed El NICK DGO x Clementaum banger "Dale Pal Party" had everybody dancing, while a full-throttle remix of "Puttuna" pushed things into another level. However, her live rendition of "Pirigótika" (a track with Brazilian singer Bibi Babydoll) was her hallmark performance, and proved that if you haven’t heard of Clementaum, be sure this won’t be the last time you come across her name. 

Amaarae’s Captivating Set Can't Be Boxed In By Genre 

There’s nothing Amaarae can’t do. Taking over the Amazon Music stage on May 30, the Ghanaian American Afrobeats musician can take on anything from punk to R&B. In Barcelona, Amaarae’s chameleonic talent showcases that no style (or genre) is too much for her to turn into a captivating set.

Amaarae proved that whatever mood she brings to stage, she devours, from effortlessly performing slow burner "Wasted Eyes" to silkily switching to "Disguise," a song of desire and domination, and segueing to alternative anthem "Sex, Violence, Suicide." 

Learn more: Meet The Latest Wave Of Rising Afrobeats Stars: AMAARAE, BNXN, Oladapo & More

Charli XCX Proves Her Pop Legacy For Primavera’s Final Night

Nobody throws a party like the ultimate "it" girl Charli XCX. From ranging pop bangers ("I Love It" to "Party 4 U"), the British pop star kept crowds dancing until 4 a.m. — and for good reason. While fans weren’t frightened away by heavy rain and thunderstorms during the festival’s final night, Charli XCX and her fans made Primavera’s final night one to remember. 

And, if you were lucky, you might’ve caught the star pull off an incredible surprise DJ set alongside co-collaborator A.G Cook, and finance The 1975 band member George Daniel. While the early announced pop-up set for her upcoming sixth studio album Brat fell just outside of the festival on Sunday, the sweaty beach-side crowd was packed with fans flocking from Primavera Sound to make sure they got their early hit of Charli XCX ahead of her mainstage set later that night. 

Ethel Cain Gets Political (And Personal)

Following the breakthrough of her sophomore album Preacher’s Daughter, Ethel Cain has been on an unstoppable rise. A goth-pop mix of Lana Del Ray and heartland-style emo rock, the Tallahassee-born musician is crafting her own Americana aesthetic shaped by desire, death and South Baptist Christian influences.

While playing a late afternoon set, the singer stepped out under the blazing sun delivering incredible vocals to fan favorites "Crush’’ and "House of Nebraska." The singer’s set highlights were elevated by two things: a new song and a political call-out that broke the divide between the festival crowd and on-stage artist. Dressed in a ‘Free Palestine’ t-shirt and with a keffiyeh hanging from her mic, the musician denounced genocide and advocated for the people of Gaze before launching into her viral anti-pop song, "American Teenager." 

Amidst her anti-war advocacy, the singer also slotted into a somber new song "Amber Waves," showcasing her penchant for eerie melodies and what fans can expect on her currently untitled upcoming project. 

Learn more: 15 LGBTQIA+ Artists Performing At 2024 Summer Festivals

SZA Brings Stardom, Swords & The Splits To 'SOS' Set

Whether it’s the instantly recognizable intro to "Good Days" or the viral rotations of "Kill Bill," SZA has long been dominating and driving contemporary pop and R&B. The GRAMMY winner highlighted her artistic versatility with deep cuts and chart hits (including those from her massively popular sophomore album SOS) to a packed mainstage crowd.

With a stage set designed to look like a ship, SZA was amplifying the message of SOS loud and clear – with hits, charismatic stage movements and impressive vocals to match. And, she didn’t stop there. From knife play routine to "Kill Bil" to full-throttle Miley Cryus-style and riding an anchor to dropping the splits mid-set, SZA gave a performance that continuously raised the bar. 

Read more: How 'SOS' Transformed SZA Into A Superstar & Solidified Her As The Vulnerability Queen

Music Festivals 2024 Guide: Lineups & Dates For Lollapalooza, Coachella, Bonnaroo & Much More

Photo of Romy performing during the C6 Fest at Parque Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in May 2024. Romy is singing with her eyes closed in a blue and pink shirt.
Romy performs in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Photo: Mauricio Santana/Getty Images 

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15 LGBTQIA+ Artists Performing At 2024 Summer Festivals

From Renée Rapp, Chappell Roan and Ethel Cain, to Megan Thee Stallion and Conan Gray, 2024 summer festivals are stacked with a rainbow of amazing queer artists to see.

GRAMMYs/Jun 5, 2024 - 01:27 pm

Festival season is well underway, both stateside and abroad, with NYC’s Gov Ball, Chicago’s Lollapalooza, Tennessee’s Bonnaroo, and the UK’s Glastonbury Festival offering an array of acts across multiple stages.

In honor of Pride Month, we’ve rounded up a bunch of LGBTQIA+ artists gracing this summer’s festival circuit  — as well as a few Pride-specific festivals —  that you won’t want to miss. Whether you’re in the mood to dance the night away, cry on your best friend’s shoulder, or just vibe out, there are established and rising artists to suit festival-goers with a variety of musical tastes.

Chappell Roan

After opening for Olivia Rodrigo on her GUTS tour, Midwest Princess Chappell Roan took the world by storm with her live-streamed Coachella performance during the desert festival’s first weekend, coming back just as strong in the second weekend. She also performed on NPR's Tiny Desk series, and her latest single “Good Luck, Babe!” slingshotted her even further into super-stardom. You’d be foolish to miss your chance to catch her on this year’s festival circuit. This time next year, she’ll probably be headlining.  

Where to see Chappell Roan: 

The Governor’s Ball  

Queens, New York  

Performing Sunday, June 9 

Kentuckiana Pride Festival  

Louisville, Kentucky 

June 15 

Bonnaroo  

Manchester, Tennessee  

Performing Sunday, June 16 

Lollapalooza  

Chicago, Illinois 

Performing Thursday, Aug. 1 

Hinterland Music Festival 

Saint Charles, Iowa 

Performing Sunday, Aug. 4 

Osheaga Music & Arts Festival 

Montréal, Canada 

Performing Saturday, Aug. 3 

Outside Lands  

San Francisco, California 

Aug. 9 – Aug. 11 

Performance date TBD 

All Things Go 

Columbia, Maryland 

Performing Sunday, Sept. 29 

Renée Rapp 

“Mean Girl” Reneé Rapp has had a banner year promoting her 2023 debut album, Snow Angel, the follow-up to her 2022 EP Everything to Everyone, reprising her Broadway role of Regina George in the movie adaptation of the "Mean Girls" musical, collaborating with Megan thee Stallion, and coming out as a lesbian. Snow Angel found the singer exercising her range both vocally and emotionally, and her live performances show off those impressive vocals even more. Luckily, you have a few chances to catch her at a festival this summer. 

Where to see Renée Rapp: 

The Governor’s Ball  

Queens, New York  

Performing Sunday, June 9 

Bonnaroo  

Manchester, Tennessee  

Performing Saturday, June 15 

Lollapalooza  

Chicago, Illinois 

Performing Friday Aug. 2 

Osheaga Music & Arts Festival 

Montréal, Canada 

Performing Saturday, Aug. 3 

All Things Go 

Columbia, Maryland 

Performing Sunday, Sep. 29 

Blondshell 

Previously performing under the moniker BAUM, Sabrina Teitelbaum has found her niche as Blondshell, writing unflinchingly honest and relatable lyrics about the human condition and belting them out over noisy guitars. Blondshell burst on the scene in 2022 with a '90s-inspired sound, reminiscent of the shoegaze bands of grunge’s golden era. Her self-titled 2023 debut album explores themes of failed relationships and shame, sobriety, unrequited love for a woman, and even a little murder, all with levity and vulnerability most 20-somethings can relate to. 

Aside from the obvious perks of the loud guitars during her live set, you might also be lucky enough to catch a cool cover–she’s known to perform Le Tigre’s “Deceptacon” at shows, and she just released a cover of the Talking Heads’ “Thank You For Sending Me An Angel” for the A24 tribute album, Everyone’s Getting Involved.  

Where to see Blondshell: 

The Governor’s Ball  

Queens, New York  

Performing Friday, June 7 

Day In Day Out 

Seattle, Washington  

Performing Sunday, July 13 

Lollapalooza  

Chicago, Illinois 

Performing Thursday, Aug. 1 

Hinterland Music Festival 

Saint Charles, Iowa 

Performing Saturday, Aug. 3  

All Things Go 

Columbia, Maryland 

Performing Sunday, Sep. 29 

G Flip 

Maybe you always knew who G Flip was. Maybe you were introduced to the nonbinary Aussie artist when they made headlines for their relationship with reality TV star Chrishell Stause. Or maybe you became a fan when you heard their incredible, sapphic-twisted cover of Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” for triple-J’s Like a Version series (which even got Taylor’s stamp of approval).   

However you found G Flip, you probably became a little obsessed instantly, marveling at their ability to croon and play the drums simultaneously without missing a beat. The energy G brought to their in-studio performance at triple-J is indicative of the energy you’ll see on the stage when they play a couple of festivals this summer.  

Where to see G Flip: 

The Governor’s Ball  

Queens, New York  

Performing Sunday, June 9 

Nashville Pride 

Nashville, Tennessee 

Performing Sunday, June 23 

Backlot Bash 

Chicago, Illinois 

June 30 

Spin Off Adelaide 

Adelaide, Australia 

July 19 

Romy

Romy might be better known as part of British indie trio the xx, but her career as a solo artist is just as worthy of recognition. Making feel-good dance music about queer love, the 2024 GRAMMYs first time nominee has the unique ability to transport you to a world where everything is okay and there’s no better place to be than moving in tandem with the people around you. For a true one-with-the-crowd festival experience, jumping around to Romy’s electro-pop is the perfect option. 

Where to see Romy: 

Osheaga Music & Arts Festival 

Montréal, Canada 

Performing Friday, Aug. 2 

Lollapalooza  

Performing Saturday, Aug. 3 

Outside Lands  

San Francisco, California 

Aug. 9 – Aug. 11 

Performance date TBD 

Ethel Cain

Ethel Cain is a force to be reckoned with. Despite the unconventional nature of her music  — which explores themes of religion and conceptual stories about abuse — she’s made a place for herself in the mainstream with singles like “Crush” and “American Teenager" (the latter track nabbed a spot on President Barack Obama’s end-of-year playlist in 2022).   

More than just a great storyteller, she’s an easy to admire artist who is outspoken about human rights. Plus, her performances always feel intimate, even when they’re on festival stages in front of a huge crowd. 

 Bonnaroo  

Manchester, Tennessee  

Performing Saturday, June 15 

Lollapalooza  

Chicago, Illinois 

Performing Saturday, Aug. 3 

Hinterland Music Festival 

Saint Charles, Iowa 

Performing Sunday, Aug. 4 

Thing Festival 

Carnation, Washington 

Aug. 9 – Aug. 11 

Performing Saturday, Aug. 10 

 All Things Go 

Columbia, Maryland 

Performing Saturday, Sep. 28 

Ryan Beatty

Singer/songwriter Ryan Beatty may be your favorite artist’s favorite artist. He became a bit of a teen sensation in the early aughts for his YouTube covers of popular songs, later gaining wider recognition for his Brockhampton collaborations. His solo career has since taken off, making him a reference point for other singer/songwriters — especially following his 2023 album, Calico 

His knack for songwriting even led him to working on a number of tracks on Beyoncé’s COWBOY CARTER album. Ryan’s songs are tender and full of yearning, brimming with raw and real emotion–it’s best to bring some tissues when you catch one of his sets. 

Where to see Ryan Beatty: 

The Governor’s Ball  

Queens, New York  

Performing Friday, June 7 

Bonnaroo  

Manchester, Tennessee  

Performing Saturday, June 15 

Lollapalooza  

Chicago, Illinois 

Performing Friday, Aug. 2 

Outside Lands  

San Francisco, California 

Aug. 9 – Aug. 11 

Performance date TBD 

The Japanese House 

Amber Bain, or the artist known as the Japanese House, shied away from publicity at the beginning of her career. Hand-picked by Matty Healy of The 1975 to make music under his label, Dirty Hit, Bain's haunting melodies and painfully relatable lyrics resonated with listeners and critics — even when they didn’t know who was singing and producing the tracks they were falling for.   

Now, she’s proud to take all the credit for her hard work and talent. The Japanese House’s latest effort, In the End It Always Does, is packed with resonant tracks about growing up, longing, existentialism, and even a sweet, sad ode to man’s best friend — her dog, Joni Jones, is named for Joni Mitchell — all of which sound incredible live. 

Where to see The Japanese House: 

Bonnaroo  

Manchester, Tennessee  

Performing Friday, June 14 

Lollapalooza  

Chicago, Illinois 

Performing Thursday, Aug. 1 

Osheaga Music & Arts Festival 

Montréal, Canada 

Performing Friday, Aug. 2 

Outside Lands  

San Francisco, California 

Aug. 9 – Aug. 11 

Performance date TBD 

 MUNA 

When MUNA calls themselves “the greatest band in the world,” they aren’t lying. The L.A.-based queer pop trio toured for nearly all of 2023, including playing as an opening act for select dates of Taylor Swift’s record-breaking Eras tour. Their fanbase blew up since signing to Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records in 2021 and releasing their third album, led by the hit single “Silk Chiffon.”   

MUNA has built on that momentum by perfecting their live show, as evidenced by two stellar sold out tour-closing shows at Los Angeles' Greek Theater. While they’re taking a break from touring to work on their next record, MUNA are making a few festival stops this summer, including in singer Katie Gavin’s hometown of Chicago.  

L.A. Pride in the Park 

Los Angeles, California 

Saturday, June 8 

Summerfest 

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

June 20 – 22, June 27 – 29, July 4 – 6 

Performing Friday, June 27 

Pitchfork Music Festival 

Chicago, Illinois 

July 19 – July 21 

Performing Sunday, July 21 

Newport Folk Festival 

Newport, Rhode Island 

July 26 – July 28 

Performing Friday, July 26 

Ashnikko 

Ashnikko doesn’t fit into any box, and no two songs sound the same. The blue-haired phenom’s catalog spans from upbeat hyperpop-rap infusions about hard work, reimagined cheers from Bring It On with horror influences, and emo-tinged ballads about how scary it feels to be safely in love. With such a diverse range, you couldn’t possibly be bored watching her perform, especially since her live sets usually boast great visual effects and choreography.  

Where to see Ashnikko: 

Outloud Festival  

Los Angeles, California 

June 1 – June 2 

Performing Sunday, June 2 

Bonnaroo  

Manchester, Tennessee  

Performing Sunday, June 16 

Open’er Festival 

Gdynia, Poland 

July 3 – July 6 

Performing Wednesday, July 3 

Arlo Parks

GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Arlo Parks is the mellow you need in your hectic festival schedule. The 24-year-old is wise beyond her years, as reflected in the gorgeous lyrics about falling in love all over her 2023 album, My Soft Machine: On “Devotion,” she sings, “Your touch embroiders me/I'm wide open,” on “Pegasus,” which features Phoebe Bridgers, she muses, “Never felt luckier than I do right now/Tell me you love me, let me have it.”  

Arlo also released her debut poetry book, The Magic Border, last year, offering her lyrical talent in an even more raw form of expression. While her music is soft and dreamy, she doesn’t shy away from hard and fast guitars on a bunch of tracks, making live performances more exhilarating than you might expect.  

Where to see Arlo Parks: 

Glastonbury Festival 

Pilton, England 

June 26 – June 30 

Performing Wednesday, June 26 

Mad Cool Festival 

Madrid, Spain 

July 10 – July 13 

Performing Saturday, July 13 

Osheaga Music & Arts Festival 

Montréal, Canada 

Performing Friday, Aug. 2 

Thing Festival 

Carnation, Washington 

Performing Saturday, Aug. 10 

Palehound

Indie band Palehound got a shoutout from the New York Times for their 2023 single, “Independence Day,” a hopeful, if not deluded, breakup song with plucky guitar and a fun-to-chant chorus about “living life like writing a first draft.” Despite having a pretty major reach, Palehound, made up of El Kempner (they/them) Zoë Brecher, and Larz Brogan, is still a fairly DIY band, which makes them all the more fun to listen to, especially live.  

NICE, a fest  

Somerville, Massachusetts  

July 25 – 28 

Performing Saturday, July 28 

Hinterland Music Festival 

Saint Charles, Iowa 

Performing Sunday, Aug. 4 

End of the Road Festival 

Larmer Tree Gardens, United Kingdom 

Aug. 29 – Sept. 1 

Performing Saturday, Aug. 31 

Megan thee Stallion 

Despite people trying to keep her down, Megan Thee Stallion continues to rise and conquer, putting the work above everything else. As an independent artist, this feat is even more impressive, but the total creative control she benefits from has allowed for exciting opportunities of self-expression that align with all the things that make Meg one-of-a-kind.  

Her 2024 video for “BOA” let the self-proclaimed anime nerd tap into her geek side, rich with references to her favorite animated shows and video games. And if you’ve seen any of her tour outfits lately–you know that you don’t wanna miss the chance to catch her at a festival this summer.  

Where to see Megan Thee Stallion: 

Bonnaroo  

Manchester, Tennessee  

Performing Sunday, June 16 

Broccoli City Festival 

Washington, D.C. 

July 27 – July 28 

Performing Saturday, July 27

Doechii 

Self-proclaimed “Swamp Princess” Doechii is one of the most exciting new artists of her time, seamlessly blending house influences and smooth R&B vocals with hip-hop beats and clever raps. She’s not afraid to have fun, either, especially when it comes to self-expression in her stylistic choices. Her surrealist music videos have garnered her praise and comparisons to legends like Missy Elliott, but despite all the influences, Doechii is truly one of a kind.  

Where to see Doechii: 

Outloud Festival  

Los Angeles, California 

Performing Saturday, June 1 

The Governor’s Ball  

Queens, New York  

Performing Saturday, June 8 

Tinashe

Tinashe has been around for years, but she’s having a renaissance at the moment thanks to her new single “Nasty,” a sexy bop for the summer which has inspired viral dance trends on TikTok. The multi-talented singer is also a hell of a dancer herself, and her live shows give her the perfect opportunity to show off her moves. If you get the chance to catch her at a festival this summer, don’t pass it up.  

Where to see Tinashe:  

Nashville Pride 

Nashville, Tennessee 

Performing Saturday, June 22 

Open’er Festival 

Gdynia, Poland 

Performing Wednesday, July 3 

Underscores

No music festival bill is complete without a dubstep-adjacent artist, and Underscores is here to fill the gap with her Skrillex-inspired beats. A self-taught producer and vocalist, Underscores started playing around with making beats and loops as a kid, graduating to GarageBand before releasing music at just 13 years old.  

Now 24, she’s been officially releasing music for over a decade, showing off her wide range of influences in eclectic tracks that have hints of bedroom pop, hyperpop, emo, metal, and of course, dubstep. While her production is unique and stellar, her topical and tongue-in-cheek lyrics are not to be overlooked, either.  

Where to see Underscores: 

The Governor’s Ball  

Queens, New York  

Performing Friday, June 7 

Conan Gray

After rising to fame on TikTok in 2020 with his soft and sad unrequited love anthem, “Heather,” Conan Gray has kept the momentum going by not being afraid to try new things. His latest album, Found Heaven, is full of '80s new wave inspired synth pop, offering him a new slate to show off some powerhouse vocals. It also features production and writing assistance from powerhouse producer/songwriter Max Martin, elevating Conan’s sound to new levels that are good for more than just TikTok soundbites.  

Where to see Conan Gray: 

 Lollapalooza  

Chicago, Illinois 

Performing Sunday, Aug. 4 

Music Festivals 2024 Guide: Lineups & Dates For Lollapalooza, Coachella, Bonnaroo & Much More 

PRIDE & Black Music Month: Celebrating LGBTQIA+ & Black Voices

Nxdia, Shamir, girli, King Princess, Zolita, Laura Les, Towa Bird in collage
(From left) Nxdia, Shamir, girli, King Princess, Zolita, Laura Les, Towa Bird

Photos: Dave Benett/Getty Images for Depop; Matthew James-Wilson; Claryn Chong; Burak Cingi/Redferns; Taylor Hill/Getty Images for Boston Calling; Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage; Courtesy Interscope Records

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Listen To GRAMMY.com's 2024 Pride Month Playlist Of Rising LGBTQIA+ Artists

From Laura Les and Nxdia to Alice Longyu Gao and Bambi Thug, a new class of LGBTQIA+ artists is commanding you to live out loud.

GRAMMYs/Jun 3, 2024 - 01:37 pm

LGBTQ+ artists have long shaped the music industry and culture at large, offering audiences a glimpse into their unique lives, shared experiences and so much more.

Queer artists are foundational to American music; Released in 1935, Lucille Bogan’s “B.D. Woman’s Blues” was one of the first lesbian blues songs — and wouldn’t be the last. Fellow blues singers Gladys Bently, Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith also sang about same-sex love (thinly veiled or otherwise). On opposite ends of the 1970s musical spectrum, disco (itself a queer artform) and punk musicians explored gender identity in song and performance —  defying conventional gender norms at the time. Gender fluidity became part of the culture during the '80s, with genre-bending artists such as David Bowie and Boy George leading the charge. 

In the decades since,  a spectrum of LGBTQIA+ artists is opening up —  and creating work about — their sexual and gender identities. Queer artists are also being recognized for their contributions to global culture. In 1999, six-time GRAMMY winner Elton John became the first gay man to receive the GRAMMY Legend Award. 

Read more: The Evolution Of The Queer Anthem: From Judy Garland To Lady Gaga & Lil Nas X

The GRAMMY Awards have become more inclusive of the queer community. In 2012, the Music's Biggest Night became the first major awards show to remove gendered categories. In 2014, Queen Latifah officiated a mass wedding of straight and gay couples during Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love” performance, which included gay icon Madonna performing her “Open Your Heart.” In 2022, Brazilian singer/songwriter Liniker became the first trans artist to win a Latin GRAMMY. Just three months later, Sam Smith and Kim Petras became the first nonbinary and trans artists, respectively, to win a GRAMMY Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performances for their collaboration, “Unholy.” The 2024 GRAMMYs marked a record high for queer women winning major awards: Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, Victoria Monét, and boygenuis all took home golden gramophones in the Big Six Categories. 

As queer artists continue to command attention across genres and get their flowers on the global stage, a new class of LGBTQIA+ artists is emerging into the scene. These artists are both following in the steps of established acts by sharing their experiences through their music, and creating work that is unique to their lives and time. 

In celebration of Pride Month 2024, GRAMMY.com has put together a playlist of rising artists across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, whose sound commands you to live out loud. 

PRIDE & Black Music Month: Celebrating LGBTQIA+ & Black Voices

Charles Esten Press Photo 2023
Charles Esten

Photo: Kirsten Balani

interview

Charles Esten On How Procrastination, Serendipity And "Nashville" Resulted In 'Love Ain't Pretty'

For the first time in his career, Charles Esten is fully focused on music. But as the actor/singer details, his debut album, 'Love Ain't Pretty' is much more than another venture — it's a lifelong goal achieved.

GRAMMYs/Jan 3, 2024 - 10:40 pm

Like many of his peers, Charles Esten has known music is his calling since he was a kid. But at 58, he's just now getting the opportunity to do what his contemporaries are long past: release a debut album.

As fans of the beloved ABC/CMT series "Nashville" or the hit Netflix drama "Outer Banks" know, Esten first established himself in the acting world. But as his "Nashville" role revealed, the actor also had some strong singing chops, too — and it wasn't a coincidence.

Due Jan. 26, Love Ain't Pretty is a testament to both Esten's patience and his passion. Combining his soulful country sound and emotive songwriting, Love Ain't Pretty poignantly captures his years of loving and learning. And with a co-writing credit on all 14 tracks, the album is the purest representation of his artistry possible.

"Being the age I am, and the difference of what this album is to what maybe my first album would've been if I was 28, is the intentionality," he tells GRAMMY.com. "I can chase what's thoroughly me, and the facets of that. And in the end, that, I think, makes better music anyway."

As the title suggests, Love Ain't Pretty mostly focuses on finding the beauty in life. Along with several odes to his wife, Patty ("One Good Move," "Candlelight"), Esten delivers tales of self-reflection ("A Little Right Now") and simply enjoying the moment ("Willing To Try"), all with a grit that's equal parts inspiring and charming.

Perhaps the most fitting sentiment on the album is "Make You Happy" — not because of its lovestruck narrative, but because it captures Esten's goal with Love Ain't Pretty and beyond: "Wanna make you happy/ Wanna make you smile."

"I know that musical superstardom is not an option," he acknowledges. "I don't even seek it. So, what do I seek instead of perfection? Connection."

Below, Esten recounts his fateful journey to Love Ain't Pretty — from his first taste of stardom to finally fulfilling his lifelong dream.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

All the way back in third grade, our elementary school had a contest to write the school song. They said, "Find a Disney song and use the melody and then put new words to it." I did it to "It's a Small World." I probably wrote little doodles on my own [before that], but that was the first one with any bit of fame. 

I went back, like 10 years later, and they were singing that. They actually made it as part of all the assemblies and everything. That feeling, to hear people singing words that you thought of, I'm sure that was the beginning of this path.

Eventually, when I went to college, I was in a band. But, even before I was in a band, my grandmother passed in my sophomore year of college. And, I didn't get back in time to see her. She had helped raise me when I was little, after my parents' divorce, so it hit me hard. I somehow was able to put what she meant to me in a song, and that made a big impact in a lot of ways. Whereas that third grade little ditty made everybody laugh and smile and everything, this made my mother and my aunts and uncles [cry] in a warm, loving way. I could see it affecting them. 

I could [also] feel it help me process what I was going through. That was another bit of an aha moment, like, "Oh wow, writing a song can do that also."

Right after that, I started a band. That experience of hearing a band bring your song alive — it was so much more full, this experience, and hearing somebody else add a thing you hadn't thought of, that was another true revelation, the power of that. So I got hooked rather quickly. 

Honestly, I probably would've stayed in that world if my band had stayed in that world. They all made the decision to graduate and go be doctors and lawyers and stuff, as the song says. When that finished up, I didn't know what I was going to do next. But, having experienced that made it clear to me that I was not cut out for a desk job — even though I had an economics degree. 

I had some friends that had gone to L.A. and started becoming actors. I thought, "Maybe I'll give that a try." But the long and the short of it is, if you had asked me, "Will you continue in music?" I'd be like, "Absolutely. I'm going to go out there and I'm going to meet another bass player and a drummer and another band will come."

It didn't happen. I went to London and played Buddy Holly for two and a half years in the musical "Buddy." When I went back to L.A. after that, then the family started to come, and so the band just never happened. But I had a piano, had guitars — I never stopped writing or playing.

At one point, I had the thought, "Well, I might have missed the boat in terms of ever getting to be a performer myself, but I can write songs." And by this point, I was really listening to a whole lot of country, '90s country, 2000s and all.

So, I decided I was going to start writing in a more formalized way, in a more intentional way, instead of just whenever a song came to me. And, as soon as I sort of said that, things started happening.

I met my friend Jane Bach, who is a great Nashville songwriter. She was going back and forth between LA and Nashville at the time. She invited me to sing at the Bluebird [Cafe in Nashville], which I knew very well, and I said yes. And twice, I had to cancel because I got other work. And at a certain point, I literally said to my wife, "When am I going to get to go to Nashville? That'll never happen."

[That] maybe was two or three years before "Nashville." And then I get this script that says, "Nashville." Next thing I know, I'm here and I'm literally doing my first scene in the Bluebird.

I understand, very cleanly, that ["Nashville"] opened all these side doors that most people don't have access to. But, I also know that there's a chance they could have all been opened and I could not have been ready. 

When it finally [happened], for a lot of people, just looking at an actor who's playing a singer/songwriter, I get the feeling that it was a pleasant surprise — I like to think that there was a little more there than they expected. It was actually more authentically who I was than the actor.

I never really quite verbalized this, but the feeling [of landing "Nashville"] was one of — it'll make me emotional — completion. I felt like the show was an answer to so many unsolved things in my life. And that's, I think, why we haven't left. And it's also why the album meant so much to me.

It meant so much to me that I didn't just get here and do an album. I got here at 46. To be that old and not really know who you are as an artist — I never had to define myself. So, I didn't chase that immediately. I just wanted to make music in Music City and make as much as I could. 

I always felt behind, because all my contemporaries that had been here, very many of them were already incredibly famous and already had done so much. But you can't [focus on] the road not taken. 

I have to admit, there's some part of me that would be like, "What if you were putting out your first album at 28?" That's nothing I sort of worry about. I know that it wouldn't have been this. I wouldn't change anything. I have this wife and this family and this career that brought me here. It feels like this was the way it was meant to happen, as strange as it all is.

I felt more prepared than people might expect. And I had something that most people didn't have, which was, Deacon walked in places before I did. Deacon sang at the Bluebird before Charles did. Deacon was at the Grand Ole Opry before I was.

That began what I would call my 10,000 hours in this town. Between the number of hours I've been able to be on stage at these incredible venues, and play music with these incredible people, and all the singles I was able to put out over the last 10 years, I now feel like that, in some ways, I have as much of a catalog as people that have been here for those 30 years. But, it's still my first album, which I've held onto for something special, and I'm so grateful for the way it turned out. I couldn't be happier.

I knew that I wasn't emptying the whole toolbox to play Deacon. But, having said that, I'm so moved by how much playing that guy influenced my music and my songwriting. A song like "A Little Right Now," it roars at the top and rages a little bit, but in general, that is a Deacon song through and through. "I'm a farmer praying for rain/ I'm a gambler that needs an ace of spades/ I'm a sailor hoping for a gust of wind/ I'm a singer looking for that song/ I'm a prisoner that ain't got long/ I'm a dreamer waiting for my ship to come in/ But lately all my roads have been running out/ There ain't no silver linings in these clouds/ Help me, Lord, and show me how to find the kind of faith that I once found/ 'Cause I could sure use a little right now." When you watch the show, you'll go, "That's the Deacon-est thing I've ever heard."

There's other songs on this album as well. "Maybe I'm Alright" — Deacon's journey was from utterly broken to "maybe I'm alright." As I look at it, he informs this album.

I'm a procrastinator. That's why I released so many singles in 2016, that world record. [Editor's note: Esten released 54 original songs once a week for 54 straight weeks, earning a Guinness World Records title in 2018 for the "Most consecutive weeks to release an original digital single by a music act."] 

That was a mind hack — a life hack — to arbitrarily create deadlines. And, my God, did that work, because I just started putting it out. [After that,] I started thinking about an album, and I even made an early attempt at it, and then COVID hit. 

They felt like songs from a thousand years ago [after the lockdown]. I pretty much scrapped it and didn't use any of them, and said, "I've just got to do this again in a different way. It's a different me. It's a different world."

My wife is not a procrastinator. And I'll show her, sometimes there's an upside of procrastinating. It's like using a crockpot when there's a microwave right there — it stews in all the ingredients. 

Deacon's a major ingredient, but if you just put that major ingredient on it and cook it real quick, it's too pronounced. Stew it in there with all the other ones until it's a new flavor, a new thing in its entirety. And that's what happened.

It's also interesting that, being the age I am, and the difference of what this album was to what, maybe, my first album would've been if I was 28, is the intentionality in terms of radio success or chart success — or chasing something that might not be thoroughly you, but might be a little more popular than thoroughly you. There's no reason for it at my age, so I can chase what's thoroughly me, and the facets of that. And in the end, that, I think, makes better music anyway.

There's a video I put out for "Somewhere in the Sunshine." Already, the impact of that song is sort of blowing my mind. The video is full of quotes from people that commented on YouTube about who they lost, and how it's giving them a little moment of peace, and how it's blessing them. That's my radio play. That's my GRAMMY.

I try to always realize how blessed I am to be able to do this. It's so much more precious later in life. I think people sometimes meet me and I have an enthusiasm for it that is younger than my years. And, maybe [that's] just because I've been waiting at a distance so long and it finally came true. I might get jaded someday, but it hasn't happened yet.

There's still an outsider mentality. I also feel like an anomaly. All the great artist friends I have, I'm not like them. They've been on the radio, they've had cuts, they've had hits. And then, all the new ones starting off doing their first album, I'm not in their group either — they have a whole career and future ahead.

On the other hand, I feel warm and welcomed in all of those arenas, and in everyone in this town. It always has been unusual for me here. All the reasons I'm here, all the why's, all the how's — but I guess, in the end, that's how I fit, and that's how I belong.

I was blessed that I was able to take my time. I think, once you let go of the outcome, freedom is available. It's just really hard to let go of that outcome. But, as I said, I'm a different beast. What I am means I better let go of that outcome, because the odds of me getting a No. 1 smash off this, they're not great. But the odds of me moving somebody with this music? I think they're pretty good.

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