This list of top LGBT singers first appeared on SERENDIPITY last year.
My Top Ten LGBT singers, by Rich Paschall
If you were to Google (verb, meaning “to search for”) LGBTQ musicians, singers, or artists, you are likely to find some rather long lists. You might be surprised by the numbers, which include many well-known performers. I “Googled” just that to be sure not to miss any obvious choices. Not only did I end up with a long list, but I also tumbled down the rabbit hole of YouTube music videos. Now I have returned, Mad Hatter in tow, to present my Top Ten. If you are unaware of any of these, my new friend will explain them clearly and almost concisely.
We will start you out with an honorable mention. When I was in grade school, Lesley Gore had a string of hit songs. “It’s My Party” was on the radio and on the Juke Box all the time. In 1964 it was nominated for a Grammy award. Listen to the oldies gem here from the Ed Sullivan show. At the time of her death in 2015 at just 68 (lung cancer), she had been with her partner Lois Sasson for 33 years.
Whether you are a member (show your membership card at the door), or an ally (pay a small cover charge), it is time to show some pride in these top performers.
10. Johnny Mathis. “Chances Are” you are familiar with this artist. He was a favorite at our house and my mother played his albums all the time. What’s a little housework without Mr. Mathis singing in the background? It’s Not For Me To Say but he is still singing and just may go on until The Twelfth of Never. That should make you a little Misty.
09. Kathryn Dawn Lang, aka k.d. lang, is a Canadian singer-songwriter. You may have a Constant Craving for the songs of this Grammy Award-winning artist. In 2004 she toured with Tony Bennett and their Album won a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
08. Barry Manilow. The popular singer-songwriter had a long string of hit records and is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. He had 51 songs in the Top 40. In the 1970s and 80s, you could not turn on the radio without hearing him. Not only did he tell you “I Write The Songs,” but he sang them too.
We saw him twice in concert, once at the historic Chicago Theater where I captured the above.
07. Sam Tsui. The popular singer-songwriter became a YouTube sensation a few years ago and has 3.18 million subscribers to his YouTube channel. His album “Make It Up” includes some high-energy videos, including this remarkable non-stop multi-scene no edits effort on the title track.
06. Melissa Ethridge. The American sing-songwriter is known not only for her music but also for her civil rights activism. The frequent Grammy nominee won Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female in 1993. She picked up an Oscar in 2007. It would be tempting to give you one of her hit recordings, but instead, we will go for her dramatic 2005 comeback. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2004, she underwent surgery and chemotherapy. Along with Joss Stone, she owned the stage in this performance at the 2005 Grammy Awards tribute to Janis Joplin.
05. Montero Lamar Hill, aka Lil Nas X is a singer-songwriter and rapper. He won a basketful of awards in 2019 and 2020 and his first country-pop-rap song “Old Town Road” was a massive hit. It stayed in the Number 1 spot for 19 weeks. The Country Music Awards left him out of the bigger categories despite his recognition for collaboration with Billy Ray Cyrus. Perhaps it was because, you know…he’s gay and..young…and black…AND a rapper too! Just in case you think the song was not country enough, he presented this:
04. Darin Zanyar, or just Darin to his fans. The Swedish singer-songwriter is a Superstar in Europe. He first became famous at 16 as the runner-up on Swedish Idol. He records in Swedish and English.
03. Enrique Martin Morales, aka Ricky Martin. The handsome Puerto Rican superstar has been “Livin La Vid Loca” since his days in the boy singing group Menudo. He has also worked as an actor in Mexico and the US where he picked up an Emmy nomination.
He doesn’t “Stay” here long as he is in high demand around the world:
01. Elton John. His superstar success earns him the number 1 spot. From the Crocodile Rock all the way to Your Song, we have never said: “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” I don’t know about you, but he has put a lot of songs on the soundtrack of my life.
Click on the artist’s name for one of his/her hits, or find our 15-song Pride Playlist here.