YouTuber, author, activist and podcast host Tyler Oakley teamed up with record label Heard Well to create a compilation album called Pride Jams that brings together the varying styles of music in the LGTBQ community.
The album, which arrived Friday (June 24), is a compilation of 13 songs put together in celebration of LGBTQ Pride month. This is Oakley's first project with Heard Well, the record label co-founded by social media star Connor Franta, which has previously released a multitude of albums curated by social-media influencers.
Oakley tells Billboard that he created the album in hopes of connecting his audience with new music and artists. "I had been watching what Heard Well had been up to for a while now. And I thought it was a really cool way for influencers to connect their audience to curated playlists to maybe new music, new artists, things like that," Oakley says.
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The idea for Pride Jams after Oakley attended L.A. Pride and watched the diversity in performances and music styles within the LGBTQ community. "Whether they have varied sexual attractions, or romantic attractions or gender identity or race or nationality, or all these things, we still are one community," Oakley says. "That's really important to showcase the diverse musical stylings that exist within our community -- it's not just top 40 club pop."
Besides showcasing the diverse set of artists, Oakley decided to take the opportunity to the next level by giving back to the community: Proceeds from the album are set to benefit the Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ youth.
"I wanted it to be all of these incredible artists that know how important it is to be supported or loved and to have them come together to kind of help a next generation have their own voice or get to the point where they can feel supported and loved," Oakley says. "And that's through supporting the Trevor Project and helping them provide services for youth that are going through it right now."
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The album is a compilation of artists including Adam Lambert, Lowell, Mary Lambert, Shamir and more. Oakley wanted to create an album that flowed, even in its diversity. Although Oakley does not have any intention to be a musician himself, the YouTuber would like to continue creating more compilation albums in the future.
"I'd love to do more compilations and share more artists and songs that are special to me that might not get the attention they deserve on the top 40," Oakley says. "But I don't think that one of those artists is gonna be me -- but who knows? You never know."
For now, Oakley is excited about the album -- which is available digitally on iTunes and as a physical copy on Heard Well's site -- as one of his many new ventures.
"One thing that kind of hit me, especially with what's going on in the world right now, was a way to give back to a community that's really helped me find my own identity," he says. "So when it came to Pride Jams, it was a way to kind of showcase something that's so important to being gay or being part of the LGBTQ+ community. The coolest thing about it, the number one thing I try to tell people, is it's great music, it's a great cause, it's supporting the artist, it's supporting kids, and it's a win-win situation, because you also get new jams to fall in love with."
--Reporting by Keith Caulfield