criibaby (Jae Riley)

Jae Riley (criibaby) by Jarron Williams

Jae Riley, the voice behind Billboard-featured queer musician Criibaby, is bringing inclusivity to music with her gender-neutral lyrics. By avoiding pronouns like “she” or “he,” Criibaby enables listeners to connect with lyrics that transcend the gender binary. Her unique songwriting method is for more than just inclusivity — it’s also for queer representation. “While it’s true that my intentionally gender-neutral music is for everyone,” she tells GO, “it’s also meant to fill a void for LGBTQ+ people who don’t feel like they relate to popular love songs because of the pronouns and heteronormativity most of that music is drenched in.” On National Coming Out Day, Criibaby released her debut EP “love songs for everyone,” just the first of many projects she’s creating to make music more inclusive. Like many artists, she deals with “constant rejection,” “imposter syndrome,” and “people trying to take advantage of your art,” but all that washes away when she hears from fans in the LGBTQ+ community about how her music made them feel seen and appreciated. “Reading stories that queer folks send me about how my art has brought a sense of belonging into their lives at times when they needed it most makes it all worth it.” —IL

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