k.d. lang (1961-)
What I love most about k.d. lang is how many things she has been to me in my life. As a kid, she was the country singer my grandpa listened to. She was one of his favorites, and he wasn’t exactly into music most of the time. I remember being in the car with him listening to Crying, Constant Craving, and Miss Chatelaine with him. Later, she was one of the shining icons I looked to in high school as I started to accept my place in the LGBT community. Ellen was the catalyst, but people like k.d. lang were the community. In 2000 she released Invincible Summer, an album I still maintain is one of the best pieces of music I’ve ever heard. Maybe it was because of where I was in my life at the time, or maybe it was because it was genuinely fantastic, but I still love that album. 2004’s Hymns Of the 49th Parallel was also pretty amazing, featuring the definitive cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. That was before it had been beat into the ground and misinterpreted as either a religious song or Christmas song. It is neither. There had been a few covers of the song before, but k.d. lang’s cover made me forget about all of those.