Meet the music journalist giving LBGTQ+ SoundCloud artists a platform

Meet the music journalist giving LBGTQ+ SoundCloud artists a platform

Image c/o Em Watson

In celebration of Pride month, we partnered with PAPER Magazine to spotlight seven rising queer creators that need to be on your radar. PAPER’s readership reflects the taste-making, culture-shaping audience that exists on SoundCloud, so we knew that together we could reach even more stans that stand for something – and would show up to support the creators they love.

So instead of recapping PAPER culture reporter Matt Moen’s interviews (all of which you can find exquisitely wordsmithed here) we decided to do things differently, and introduce you to the voice that’s empowering these LGBTQ+ creators to be heard. 

According to Matt, “It is vital that we not only elevate but amplify these voices with the largest megaphone we have if we hope to make any progress towards a more equitable society.” And it’s true. While music may be the most experimental it’s ever been, it’ll only continue in this direction if the industry, fans and fellow creators let it.

Read on to find out what the future sounds like, how you can support queer talent – and if you’re a creator yourself, how you can get on Matt’s radar. Spoiler alert? It helps to be yourself. 

And then go support these creators by streaming, liking, reposting & commenting to keep the Pride love alive all year long.

P.S. Matt also moonlights as a DJ, so producers get @ Skinny McToothpick.  

SOUNDCLOUD: Why did PAPER decide to partner with SoundCloud for this storytelling series?

Matt: What appealed to us about doing this series was the opportunity to find artists that are just starting out or haven’t gotten much attention and use PAPER and SoundCloud’s collective platform to help open them up to a much wider audience than they had been reaching before. As for what a possible 2.0 might look like, I would love to see artists partnered up with more established acts to collaborate or potentially mentor them. I would love to some form of support that goes beyond just a one-time feature.

Why is elevating LBGTQ+ talent so important?

Genres like house and disco were birthed by queer creators in queer spaces for queer audiences, they were the ones that set the groundwork for these sounds later becoming mainstream. It is a history that too often gets glossed over or outright erased in the crossover and that is something we, as a collective, need to consciously and consistently work against to make sure these musical innovators get their proper due. We have come a remarkably long way since Stonewall 50 years ago but that still doesn’t change the fact that queer voices are being violently silenced in today’s political climate. Music has always been an outlet for personal expression and socio-political dissent, even more so for LGBTQ+ creators. It is vital that we not only elevate but amplify these voices with the largest megaphone we have if we hope to make any progress towards a more equitable society.

How can readers continue the narrative and support these artists every day / live Pride Month all year long?

Stream their music, buy tickets to their shows, find their Venmo or GoFundMe or Patreon and support them financially because it is hard in this industry for a queer artist to sustain themselves. Be their stan and actually show up. Pride may just be one month out of the year, but the injustices that the LGBTQ+ community faces happen year-round.

What does the future look (sound) like in your opinion? 

I hope that it continues to progress in this direction where we keep adding diverse voices and perspectives to the mix. Getting to hear someone like Troye Sivan openly sing about loving boys on the radio is something I wish I had growing up and I’m glad that future generations of LGBTQ+ youth have now. Seeing Lizzo get so whole-heartedly embraced for the stunning talent she is, feels like it would only have been possible in today’s climate, I just want more and more of that kind of acceptance going forward. Pop is at the most experimental it’s ever been and I can only imagine that it will continue to head in that direction as long as we let it.

How do you use SoundCloud as both a journalist and an artist? 

Before I knew how to write about music I had aspirations of becoming a superstar DJ so I naturally had a SoundCloud account to post mixes and little mashups I made. I think the process of learning to DJ and build a crate is what helped me build my taste. Along the way, I ended up getting involved with the Nightcore community and used my profile to share edits I made and connect with other members of that scene which, before that fizzled out, laid the groundwork for a lot of the relationships that have sustained me to this day. I see my DJing (which I still occasionally do from time to time, promoters get at me) as an extension of my work as a journalist. Not only am I constantly finding new artists, sounds, and scenes but also get first-hand working knowledge of the artist’s side.

What were the main reasons that SoundCloud is important to the LGBTQ+ community?

The ability to publish your own music and organically grow an audience without the help of label is probably the biggest factor. For a community that has been told their work wouldn’t appeal to a wide audience, was too niche or unpalatable, being able to shift that power balance back towards historically silenced voices is incredible progress.

How can an artist get on your radar?

What I look for is an artist has a clear point of view and aren’t afraid to embrace it. My biggest pet peeve is when someone tries to pitch an artist by comparing them to other artists. I’m personally not interested in who’s going to be the next Ariana Grande or Billie Eilish, they already exist so why not just be authentically you? Take chances, be different, be weird!

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