U.S. Olympic freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy made a triumphant return last year to the Winter Olympics as an openly gay athlete. The reigning silver medalist from Sochi in 2014, Kenworthy may have failed to win gold but instead cemented himself as an LGBTQ sports icon after kissing his boyfriend on national television. A heartwarmingly historic moment, Kenworthy has since been living his best life making appearances everywhere from fronting a Moncler campaign to a recent guest judge spot on RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars.
Now gearing up for the Winter X Games taking place January 24th through the 26th is Aspen, Kenworthy has taken a quick break from his hectic schedule to share with us a playlist of his most essential queer anthems. Breaking down for us all of his favorites bops from queer icons such as Hayley Kiyoko, Troye Sivan, and Years & Years to rising voices like VINCINT, MNEK, and Leland, Kenworthy covers all the bases in a playlist that is sure to win over everyone's little gay hearts.
"What I Need" by Hayley Kiyoko (feat. Kehlani)
I love this song and both these girls. I did a Pride shoot with Hayley a few years ago and I was too shy to tell her how much of a fan I am, but I love her music and how visibly queer she is. And Kehlani is honestly just the most underrated artists in the game. She's an insane dancer and vocalist and she's soon gonna go from being the "hook girl" to the next Rihanna.
Related | Hayley Kiyoko Knows What She Needs
"Plum" by Troye Sivan
I've been a Troye fan since his YouTube days and "Happy Little Pill." I absolutely loved every song on Blue Neighbourhood and Bloom did not disappoint. It was hard to pick a favorite off the album, but I went with "Plum" because I feel like it flew more under the radar than other tracks on the album.
"Karma" by Years & Years
I loved seeing Olly be an out and proud front man of a band, and I think this album is their best album yet!
Related | Olly Alexander Is Done Being Repressed
"Close Your Eyes" by Kim Petras
Every single one of Kim's songs are certified bops and I literally chose this one arbitrarily because I couldn't pick a favorite. Every other pop star does Christmas albums but our trans queen delivered exactly what the gays wanted: a Halloween/pop crossover.
"Mine" by VINCINT
I truly think VINCINT will be remembered as one of the greatest male vocalists of all time.
"Promises" by Sam Smith and Calvin Harris
I just love Sam's voice so much. I've been completely hooked since I first heard "Stay With Me" off his first album and I've loved everything he's done since, but a lot of his songs are slower so it's fun to have one you can really dance to.
"Middle Of A Heartbreak" by Leland
Leland is an incredible songwriter. There are so many songs that he's written for other artists I love (like Troye Sivan), but I also love his voice the songs he's written for himself and I'm excited to see him get recognition as a singer.
"Pynk" by Janelle Monáe (feat. Grimes)
"Free" by MNEK
I've loved MNEK's songwriting for artists like Beyoncé and Dua Lipa, and his debut album Language did not disappoint!
Related | PAPER's Top 20 Albums of 2018
"Sweet But Psycho" by Ava Max
I think Ava is going to be the next big pop star that the gays idolize like Britney or Gaga. She's not queer but she's a fierce ally.
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