In need of some new tunes by your favorite queer artists? Look no further — Billboard Pride is here to help with First Out, our weekly roundup of some of the best new music releases from LGBTQ artists.
Lil Nas X, “Industry Baby” feat. Jack Harlow
It’s time for Lil Nas X’s victory lap. With his hotly anticipated new single “Industry Baby,” the rapper takes his haters to task, reminding them of everything he’s accomplished at just 22 years old. The brass fanfare and bellowing bass come courtesy of Take a Daytrip and none other than Kanye West, which only add to Nas’ snarky bars, as he flexes his Grammys, his platinum single, his No. 1 singles, and everything else in between, all before passing the mic to rising star Jack Harlow, who lays out his own path toward success with a fiery verse.
On top of everything is the stellar music video, directed by Christian Breslauer, that sees the pair busting out of the overtly gay, pink Montero State Prison. Sure, Lil Nas X might be an “Industry Baby,” but songs like this prove that he knows exactly what he’s doing.
Brandi Carlile, “Right On Time”
Brandi Carlile, from the moment she broke onto the scene back in 2005, has always had a knack for writing emotionally evocative lyrics — and that certainly remains true of her newest single. “Right On Time,” the first single off of her upcoming album In These Silent Days, follows Carlile on a journey toward acceptance through mistakes and wrong turns, as she wails on the songs chorus “It wasn’t right/ But it was right on time.” The visual for the track, directed by Courteney Cox, only deepens the message, as it follows a heartbroken Carlile trying to find her place amongst the chaos — a feeling we can all relate to.
Remi Wolf, “Liquor Store”
Songs about struggling with sobriety have never sounded quite as fun as Remi Wolf’s “Liquor Store.” The fuzzy, alt-pop single sees the rising star taking on toxic relationships, with both people and alcohol, through the lens of an absolute banger. Complete with hilarious lyrics, guitar licks that will get lodged in your brain, and a chilled-out sensibility, “Liquor Store” is a simultaneous self-affirmation and doubtful reflection. It’s also an absolute must-listen.
“‘Liquor Store’ feels like I am shedding a skin. It’s about my journey with sobriety, which has been a major life shift for me over the last year,” Wolf said of the new song in a statement. “At the end of 2020, after six months away from the studio, I had a crazy explosive week where all these feelings came pouring out of me — ‘Liquor Store’ captures a lot of them.”
Kiana Ledé, “Ur Best Friend” (with Kehlani)
In need of some excellent R&B vibes this weekend? Kiana Ledé and Kehlani have you covered with their stunning new collaboration, “Ur Best Friend.” The simmering beats and light-as-air piano melody give way perfectly to Ledé and Kehlani, as they trade verses back and forth about the pain of falling for their lover’s titular best friend. The chemistry between this pairing’s voices is simply electric, leaving you wanting more the second the song comes to a close.
King Mala, “Mercy”
Viral indie pop artist King Mala wants to do right by any of the people she’s wronged. On “Mercy,” her stunning new single, the rising singer-songwriter’s laid-back vocals spread out over a twinkling melody and chattering rhythm, as she seeks out the good parts of herself in order to try and fix any of her past mistakes. If this single — and her TikTok favorite “She Calls Me Daddy” — are any indication, then King Mala is a name you ought to learn, because you’re going to start seeing it much more often.
“I have said things I will regret forever and every day I search for the good within me and search for the proof that those things are not who I really am. Sometimes all you can do is forgive yourself and look for the good … that’s what this song means to me.”
A Great Big World, “Glowing”
Ian Axel, one half of the duo A Great Big World, originally wrote the pair’s new single “Glowing” as a lullaby for his son. When you hear it, you know why: The gorgeous single, filled with at first simple piano, soon followed by an orchestral explosion of sound, works best as a message of safety and assurance. Axel’s voice as he tells the listener “we’ll be shining when the lights go dark/ Just a little spark keeps the fire glowing” quivers with sincerity. It’s a beautiful song that will warm your heart from the moment it begins until you inevitably go to press the “repeat” button.