Atlanta is brimming with so much raw and unrecognized queer talent. The past year alone has seen an influx of new players in the DIY music scene. Venues like Murmur and Mammal Gallery are playing host to these performers. Although ATL can be a competitive and cliquey place, our humble city is mostly kind to new artists and always thirsty for something new.
Here are six artists that have made an impressions on us and are sure to make a bigger splash in the months to come.
In March, MonteQarlo released Melt, a deep house track so smooth you will forget that the world is terrible and we are are all slowly burning to death. The song, produced by Ben Oginz and engineered by Leonce, feels somehow timeless and extremely current. Layers of velvety vocals over hypnotizing beats leave us eager for more.
When asked what’s next, Monte said, “This summer, I'm dropping my new project called the Dew EP, a music video for my new song Melt, and I'll be performing at the Nashville Pride Festival!”
In addition to dabbling in modeling and drag, they’ve also gotten involved in the local poetry scene. Monte’s work was featured in the first edition of Loudspeaker: a Queer Reading Series and in the inaugural volume of the WUSSY art zine, The Body Issue. On April 20th, their event series CLUTCH returns with “CLUTCH:GREEN” featuring Dandy Warhol, YungBabyTate, and other local qtpoc musicians. Sounds cute, right?
Follow Monte on social media @monteqarlo for more info and updates!
It often feels like television shows such as RuPaul’s Drag Race have mainstreamed the art of drag. With popularity comes a whole lot of homogenization, and we’ve been thirsty as hell for an Atlanta queen to shake things up in the local scene.
One queen that has consistently kept us on our toes for the last several months is Abhorra. With a trademark beat and a duct tape needle nose, she continues to surprise us with outlandish numbers and costumes that range from baby hands to a balloon-filled cow suit.
She’s only been performing in this city for a year now, starting with the Hogtied party at Heretic, then competing in Dragnificent at Jungle and Miss Glitz at Mary’s. You also may have seen her running around on stilts for our NYE Wonderland bash with TASTE Atlanta.
Abhorra is one of the latest performers to join the weekly alterna-drag show staple, The Other Show, at Jungle on Friday nights. She joins a roster of standout queens bringing camp, glamour, and a much needed dose of humor to the Atlanta drag scene.
“EXPECT ME TO FLARE UP around MARY'S WHEN I DOMONATE [sic] AND TAKE OVER GLITZ! NO ONE WILL STOP ME,” she said when asked what’s next for Abhorra. You heard it here first, folks.
A year ago, we spoke to two emerging nightlife engineers, JSPORT (Jay Levy) and Leonce, about their plans to transform the Atlanta underground nightlife scene with their new event series, MORPH.
“I moved here with two missions: Get my degree and create something from scratch,” said Creative Director Jay Levy. Backed by West Coast label Fade to Mind, the powerhouse duo has made good on their promise, throwing events on Edgewood, The Arts Exchange, and Mammal Gallery. MORPH makes space for QPOC artists in an often uninviting landscape and the team continue to make big plans for 2017.
In addition to producing MORPH events and creating music, Jay is also working on a project involving gender neutral fashions.
MORPH 7 kicks off on April 7th at Aisle 5 with special guest KINGDOM [LA; Fade to Mind]
One queer ATLien making a big name for themselves in the DIY music scene is Jaxrenee. With a style that can only be described as dreamy electropop, Jax is responsible for writing, performing, and producing all their own tracks. Their voice is haunting and beautiful, cutting and echoing through every lyric like a strange memory.
In 2017, they will release a conceptual EP about one of our favorite subjects: murder. Each track “will be in the headspace of a different character that experiences/expresses blood lust”.
If you’ve ever been out to Mary’s on a Friday or Saturday night, you’ve probably seen this queer femme with blood dripping down their lips or a prosthetic burn bedazzling the side of their face. It doesn’t matter what the occasion is—they are not afraid to take aesthetic risks. Jaxrenee is a true Atlanta club-kid.
“If someone asks me ‘why are you dressed up’ or like what the occasion is, I know I've done what I wanted to... ATL needs more ppl showing up in LOOKS.”
In a tight-knit drag city like Atlanta, it can be hard to break into the scene and make your mark there. Brave new baby-queens seem to pop out of the proverbial womb every week, vying for tips spots and performing at newcomer competitions like New Faces at Friends on Ponce. One such queen has recently sprung upon the scene, although she’s been performing and traveling for over six years.
Darionçé Noxemma Lupita Jackson is currently in culinary school in Columbus GA, but makes regular trips up to Atlanta to perform and support other queens. In February, she competed in the Single Ladies Showdown at The Heretic, placing third in a full lineup of fierce competitors. She is making a name for herself in Atlanta by performing guest spots at local shows such as Synergy at Burkhart’s Pub and Wild Out Wednesday at Felix’s.
But Darionçé is no one-hit wonder. In addition to drag, she’s also focusing her talents on fashion design and healthy cooking. “My collection Darius by Darius Conway 2017 will feature myself and many ATL trans gay drag [sic] as models,” she told us. Be on the lookout for a new Youtube series featuring “healthy but hearty” #CHEFCHILD recipes.
Follow her on Instagram @only1darionce.
Another handsome, new face in the Atlanta DIY music scene is Hydrakiss—although some of you might know him by his other names, Nick Wiggins or Minks.
Nick smashed onto the scene pulling lewk after sickening looq at the monthly femme party, Powder Room, before making his music show debut at Murmur. Since then, he’s released a 10 track EP on Soundcloud called DANTE and continues to experiment and refine his sound.
“I've been working on my 3rd project, going a completely new route focusing on ethereal soundscapes and unique beats to create an almost fantasy type journey. I'm really excited to finish this and let everyone see the growth and connection between my other projects— it's gonna be fucking great.”
We can’t wait to hear more!