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Beat Box

Indie gay musicians push to get their sounds heard in this season of major pop releases…

By Jimmy Newsum

Spring isn’t traditionally known as a big time for new music releases, but this season’s offerings are bigger and better than ever. A batch of major A-listers are delivering highly anticipated albums, from the Queen Bee’s Cowboy Carterand Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department to new music from Dua Lipa, Normani, Billie Eilish and, of course, Ariana Grande’s Eternal Sunshine.

It can be tough for an indie musician to get their tunes heard in such a crowded field, but these are the gay artists and their new tracks that are breaking through the noise. And, no, we’re not just talking dance floor music! These performers are serving hits in pop, jazz and even country music, ya’ll.

BEAT BOX: Wils - Dancing Lights

“Dancing Lights”

The latest – and last! – release from the Singapore pop singing sensation is an uplifting dance track that tackles issues of self-esteem and insecurity, and promotes a message of self-empowerment and embracing inner beauty. It presents a moodier and more subdued hue than “Open Up Babe” and past songs from the artist, but Wils’ use of vocal effects and vintage synths really drive home the song’s powerful message. “Dancing Lights” is extremely raw, and depicts Wils as a vulnerable, relatable individual who is finally emerging from a dark hole of depression. Along with the single, the accompanying visual captures the essence of grief and its final stage of acceptance. Wils became famous 10 years ago for being the world’s first openly gay Chinese pop singer. “Dancing Lights” is a stunning finale from an artist who has announced this will be his final music release.

BEAT BOX: Johnny Bloom - Roarin 20s

Johnny Bloom
“Roarin’ 20s”

So Fierce Music/The Orchard/Sony Music
Young Johnny Bloom is ushering in a new age of jazz with this unconventional ditty inspired by music from the early and mid-20th century – think Ella Fitzgerald and Marvin Gaye meets Miley Cyrus and Adam Lambert. “Roarin’ 20s” harkens back to a post-war era when young people were dancing to the Charleston and the Shimmy. Bloom gives his track a modern twist. The song is fun and flirty, with an attention-grabbing swing that mixes elements of blues, ragtime, marching music and African folk rhythm.  An impressive debut.

BEAT BOX: Jace M and Toy Armada featuring Joey Diamond - Waiting for Tonight

Jace M and Toy Armada (featuring Joey Diamond)
“Waiting for Tonight”

Queen House Music
Dance music producers Jace M and Toy Armada are putting their own spin on Jennifer Lopez’s club-ready 1999 track, with the help of out artist Joey Diamond. Few are aware that Lopez’s version was also a cover. The song was originally released by girl group 3rd Party. JLo upped the tempo to 125 BPM; Jace M and Toy Armada crank up the energy even higher by combining Diamond’s exuberant vocals with lots of heavy drums and full synths. This celebratory staple is the perfect happy antidote for all of the anxiety many of us are feeling over the pending US elections. It is destined to be a song of the summer.

BEAT BOX: Tom Goss - Not My Problem

Tom Goss
“Not My Problem”

The pop/rock banger tells the true-life story of his five-year relationship with a con man who is now serving time in prison. It is a bit angstier than “Nerdy Bear” and Goss’s other popular tracks. “Not My Problem” acknowledges the heartache and pain Goss experienced after learning the truth about his ex – but, in true Tom Goss style, the singer manages to find a bright spot in the experience and the song is lively and, yes, playful. Even more fun is its accompanying music video, which stars drag queen Meatball as an overly amorous prison guard. Another home run for Tom Goss.

BEAT BOX: Brian Falduto - Whyd You Come in Here Lookin Like That

Brian Falduto
“Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That?”

Brian Falduto’s remake of Dolly Parton’s “Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That” is the adorable out singer at his sassiest and most irresistible. The song is fast-paced and raucous, just like Dolly’s. Her version objectified cowboys in ways they weren’t used to at the time, and Falduto’s remake does too, but in a more modern way that is sure to keep the strappin’ fellers on their toes. Accompanying the song is a music video that features Dan Amboyer from Younger and Uncoupled as a rugged Marlboro man. He plays the scoundrel who has the audacity to come into the honky tonk lookin’ like that…and let’s just say that Brian Falduto won’t be the only one hankering to saddle up on him.

JIMMY NEWSUM is a music writer from Oneonta, NY. He enjoys spending time with his family and his menagerie of animals, although not necessarily in that order.

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