Out Artists on the Rise

What do a gender-bending opera diva, an innovative guitar virtuoso and a queer electro-rap group have in common? They’re all part of our profile of 16 unique out musicians on the brink of stardom

Chris Pureka

Connecticut native Chris Pureka’s music is evocative of the folk era of the 1960’s. Her voice is soothing and a bit raspy, reminiscent of Janis Ian. Her peaceful guitar sound accompaniment brings the listener inside Pureka’s mind. On the track entitled “Porch Songs” from her recent CD Driving Home, she expresses restlessness and a consuming need for adventure, vocalizing, “Saving quarters for the toll roads, pack the car we can we can leave tomorrow.” Later in the song, she’ll settle for an F train to Brooklyn. Other songs are tales of love and love lost.

Pureka did not get into playing music until she received a guitar at the age of 16. She quickly mastered the instrument and started writing songs. At 20 she was performing at open mikes and coffeehouses.

Pureka is currently at work on a CD, this time with a back-up band. The new songs are about issues of personal change, growth, hope and the tough times and sacrifice we must endure to get to a better place. The CD is scheduled for release in late September, with a national tour to follow.

By being an out queer musician, Pureka believes she creates positive change in and out of the musical world. “Just by being an out person in the public eye helps raise awareness,” she says. “It creates a safe space for the queer artists and queer people in general.”

Pureka now lives in the western Massachusetts town of Northampton, a folk epicenter. She will be appearing in New York at the Living Room on October 3. For more dates, check chrispureka.com.

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