The music industry has made progress toward inclusivity, but still can go further.
The D.C. Jazz Festival and Embassies of Finland and Sweden are co-hosting the free virtual panel “OutLoud! LGBTQI+ Experiences in the Music Industry” on Thursday at 1 p.m.
“We always participate in Pride events,” Suvi Järvelä-Hagström, of the Embassy of Finland, told WTOP. “We started talking about this last summer. We came up with this idea of connecting it to the music industry. We already had artists in mind as panelists.”
The Zoom panel will feature eight artists calling in from around the world:
- Tove Styrke – Swedish pop artist known for her single “Say My Name.”
- Saara Aalto – Finnish pop star who was runner-up on the UK’s “X-Factor” and a musical co-star of Kylie Minogue, Andrea Bocelli and Adam Lambert.
- Dave Koz – American jazz saxophonist and critically acclaimed DJ radio host.
- Lea DeLaria – American actress, singer and first openly gay comedian to appear on U.S. television on “The Arsenio Hall Show” in 1993. She is best known as Carrie “Big Boo” Black on Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black.”
- Michael Mayo – Singer whose single “The Way” from his debut album “Bones on Artistry Music” is set to release in March.
- Andrew D’Angelo – U.S. saxophonist of Human Feel, Matt Wilson Quartet and Tyft.
- Theo Bleckmann – Two-time Grammy-nominated German singer and ECM recording artist “from another planet,” according to The New York Times.
- DJ John Murph (Moderator) – D.C. music journalist, entertainer and pop critic.
The celebrity musician panel will run 75 minutes with an audience Q&A at the end.
“[They’ll discuss] their background, how they came out, what the reaction was,” Järvelä-Hagström said. “What boundaries, challenges or opportunities they have encountered being LGBTQI artists. I’m sure they have a lot of experiences to share.”
The event is produced in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and sponsored by The Corner at Whitman-Walker on 14th Street in Northwest D.C.
“Our idea is really to have an open discussion, raise awareness and highlight things like equality,” Järvelä-Hagström said.