10 Queer Women Musical Acts for Sapphic Swifties
By Megan Graham
I have been a Swiftie since I was about 9 years old, ever since my family bought a karaoke video game that came with “I’m Only Me When I’m With You” pre-uploaded to it. My first ever concert was the “Speak Now” tour. Eleven years later, Taylor Swift is one of my all-time favorite artists.
But sometimes, as queer women, we want to hear songs where we don’t have to change the pronouns in our Love Stories, or where we remember women All Too Well. And claiming that Taylor Swift is queer isn’t a good solution. So, if you want Taylor Swift vibes from queer women and nonbinary artists who are out and proud, try adding these to your playlist.
If your favorite album is Taylor Swift, try: Rett Madison
Rett Madison, who uses she/they pronouns, has written songs about both their love for other women and their fluidity when it comes to their gender expression. Madison’s music is very “sing along with a guitar and cry a little bit,” like Taylor Swift’s debut album, but this time without having to sing about a high school boy named Drew.
If your favorite album is Fearless, try: Harper Grae
Harper Grae is a perfect country-pop mix, for those of us Swifites who want to dance every time we hear the combination of acoustic guitar and anthemic drums as the Fearless album begins. Grae’s music deals with exes and heartbreak, but she also writes powerfully about miscarriages and growing up as a lesbian in an Alabama church.
If your favorite album is Speak Now, try: Brooke Eden
As the first album I listened to from start to finish over and over again in my bedroom, Speak Now has a special place in my heart, so I knew I wanted to find an artist who made me want to scream her song in the middle of a concert without losing a country twang. Brooke Eden has that mix, and could easily be classified as Fearless or Speak Now. The music video for her song, “Got No Choice,” features her longtime girlfriend Hillary Hoover and is the “Enchanted” queer bop we need.
If your favorite album is Red, try: Fletcher
Fletcher, like Taylor Swift in her Red era, is a little bit all over the place. But that’s what makes her so special! In one album, she sings with a guitar and bops around to a pop anthem. Her debut album, “Girl of My Dreams,” details many of the same turbulent, post-breakup emotions that Taylor deals with in Red. The opening track of her album, in a very Taylor-esque way, references some of her own previous music. And, Fletcher herself is a huge Swiftie. How’s that for a fun easter egg?
If your favorite album is 1989, try: Rina Sawayama
Rina Sawayama, a Japanese/British pansexual pop star, has the same floating vocals and peppy beats that we hear on 1989. Sawayama came out officially as pansexual in 2018, but all of her music contains her queerness in some forms. In 2018, she told Vice that, “I’ve always written songs about girls. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned a guy in my songs.” If you want to take the “boys and boys and girls and girls” lyric a few steps farther, Rina Sawayama might be for you.
If your favorite album is Reputation, try: Halsey
Halsey has been on the pop music scene for a while, making hits like 2016’s “Closer” with the Chainsmokers. In 2021, when Halsey began using she/they pronouns, fans shared how Halsey’s identity helped them find their own. Before they changed their pronouns, Halsey has been out as bisexual. Their newest album, and especially the song, “I am not a woman, i’m a god,” have heavy pop Reputation vibes, and are great for anyone entering their flop era.
If your favorite album is Lover, try: Hayley Kiyoko
I have personally been a fan of Hayley Kiyoko, or, as her fans like to call her, Lesbian Jesus, since she played a teen rebel on Disney’s Lemonade Mouth. Her queer anthem, “Girls Like Girls,” is the tribute to queer love that “You Need to Calm Down” thought it was. Kiyoko’s upbeat, pop-synth songs have all the pinks, blues, and golds in their notes that the Lover album had on its covers.
If your favorite album is folklore, try: Joy Oladokun
Joy Oladokun’s indie guitar vibes are only made better by the fact that she sings about her experience loving other women. And her lyrics are perhaps even more thoughtful than the story of James, Betty, and Inez. Oladokun says on her website, “when you listen to me, i want you to feel like you’ve taken an emotional shower.” Like with Folklore, you’ll want to wear a cardigan and listen to this in a cabin in the woods.
If your favorite album is evermore, try: Dodie
Dodie, an openly bisexual indie singer who gained her following through YouTube, has addressed love, queerness, and mental health in her music. Her beautiful lyrics, such as “you saw through me all this time / I’d forgotten people are kind,” will transport you into her world as much as Taylor Swift transports us into the small town with a returned pop star. It’s the perfect soft guitar to play during Christmas brunch or a good cry in your room.
If your favorite album is Midnights, try: MUNA
Because Midnights is (probably) my favorite Taylor Swift album ever, I had to save my favorite band on this list for last. If Taylor Swift is not my top artist of this year, it will only be because MUNA is. The sapphic group is made up entirely of queer people, two of whom also use she/they or they/them pronouns. The upbeat, major key tracks on most MUNA songs mask some absolutely devastating lyrics. Their newest album, MUNA, tells the story of a person finding love, losing it, and finding themself again. Their song, “Home By Now,” will become the soundtrack to your next breakup. And, if you want a queer equivalent to “Lavender Haze,” look no further than their peppy falling-in-love song collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers, “Silk Chiffon.” Still not convinced about MUNA? Check them out when they open for Taylor Swift on her tour!
The next time I want to sing along to someone with similar experiences of life and love as me, I’ll be adding these artists to my Spotify playlist.
About the Author
Megan grew up in the suburbs of Massachusetts, where she came out as queer before arriving at college. She is currently in her last year of her degree program, where she studies history and literature. She loves running, reading, and The L Word.