Hozier – Take Me To Church

Irish singer-songwriter Hozier’s Grammy-nominated Take Me to Church had huge success on both sides of the Atlantic at the end of 2014, and carried with it a strong message against homophobia, both through its attack on Roman Catholic and its hard-hitting video referencing the repression and violence faced by the LGBT community in Russia.

Early in 2015, David LaChapelle’s video of a dance piece by Sergei Polunin using the song also became a viral hit.

Matt Alber – Handsome Man

The video for Matt Alber’s 2014 Handsome Man takes you to a place somewhere between an IKEA catalogue and one of those elegant coffee-table books of soft-porn guy pics. But, hey, we’re not complaining, and it’s a great honeyed romantic song that has the making of a gay men’s classic

Matt reportedly crowd-funded the video, and originally met the man he wakes up to via Scruff; but he told Towleroad they’re just good friends.

Bright Light Bright Light – I Believe

Catchy electro-pop from Rod Thomas aka Bright Light Bright Light has brought him considerable critical success on both sides of the Atlantic. He’s also been supporting Elton John on tour and recorded one of his own songs with him

“I don’t feel like I have the right to be a mouthpiece for the gay world, but I am very much a part of it, and I am proud to be.” rucomingout.com

Steve Grand – All-American Boy

Chicago singer-songwriter – and  LGBTQI activist – Steve Grand self-funded his own bitter-sweet music video about gay unrequited love. It became an instant hit on social media and got him a lot of US TV coverage. He’s gone on to crowd-fund his first album via Kickstarter.

While ample views of Steve’s perfect chest may have added to the viewing figures of his video, this shouldn’t distract you from the fact that this is a solid well-crafted and well-performed song.  Honestly, it is…

 

Conchita Wurst – Rise Like A Pheonix

Austrian broadcaster ORF’s decision to send Thomas Neuwirth’s drag persona Conchita Wurst to Sweden as the country’s entrant in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest created an outpouring of homophobia in social media, and serious attempts in both Belarus and Russia to have Austria’s performance blocked from broadcast on the night.

Conchita’s powerful performance of a rather cheesy ballad reminiscent of Bond themes sung by Shirley Bassey made the song a runaway winner, and catapulted its singer into a worldwide media whirlwind of interviews and appearances. Luckily, Conchita Wurst proved to be highly articulate and more than capable of handling the barrage of questions on everything from gay rights to Vladimir Putin, proving she was neither out of her depth nor arrogantly claiming to represent anyone but herself. Engaging and captivating a broad audience, she became a potent symbol of resistance against repression in countries such as Russia and of the growing confidence of the LGBTQI community in Western Europe.