7 Queer Musical Artists Who Have Rebranded Better Than Jojo Siwa in Her ‘Karma’ Era

A good rebrand for a musical artist can be defined as a complete change of image, work, genre, and/or attitude. If you need a reference point, think Miley Cyrus circa 2013, when she released Wrecking Ball, and effectively threw away her good girl image. Has Jojo Siwa achieved a rebrand of similar magnitude? Many on the internet protest that she has not. Her style has changed, but not dramatically. Her rainbow aesthetic and love of bows has been swapped for a similarly juvenile black mesh and leather one piece and KISS-inspired makeup. She got herself a (temporary) tattoo sleeve complete with the names of her unborn children (Eddie, Freddie and Teddy, for whom she already has a sperm donor picked out). She has a Tesla wrapped in hundreds of images of her face. In her new song Karma, she says ‘effed around’, rather than ‘fucked around’ (I thought she was a bad girl now?). Her new look can only be described as bejewelled emo sea monster. These actions feel like a those of a thirteen-year-old on a sugar rush with an unlimited bank account (which she kind of is – she’s made $400 million off Jojo bow sales), rather than a mature adult. 

In the wake of her infamous single Karma, Jojo Siwa claimed she was ‘bringing back’ gay pop music, a genre that never left, and has in fact been thriving in the last few years without her contribution. She has also made claims that no one, in this generation at least, has been able to make as a big of a change as hers. So, let’s take a look at how wrong she is. 

7. Troye Sivan (The Career Change) 

Troye Sivan mastered an effortless career change in 2015, when he transformed from YouTuber to pop star with the release of his first album. Now he’s an international pop star, one of the most famous queer artists of our generation and is best friends with Charli XCX. Jojo Siwa was also a successful YouTuber, and calls child groomers Colleen Ballinger and James Charles some of her close friends (😳). 

6. Dove Cameron (the Disney Star turned musician) 

It is completely possible to change society’s perception of you from child entertainer to a mature adult artist, and Dove Cameron, former Disney star, serves as a prime example. She seamlessly transitioned from an actor on a children’s TV show to a singer and performer with an RIAA certified platinum single. She even identifies as queer and released her hit song Boyfriend, a sexually charged song about a queer relationship, all without dressing up like Gene Simmons and aggressively grinding on her backup dancers. 

5. Chappell Roan (The ‘Hot Right Now’)

Chappell Roan has been churning out gay pop bangers for the last couple of years, most notably with her 2023 album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess, and her newest single Good Luck, Babe! (which reached nearly 7 million streams in its first week). So great is her effect on the gay community that she just performed at Coachella, alongside a slew of other queer artists such as The Last Dinner Party, Renee Rapp, Kevin Abstract, Young Miko, Ice Spice, Victoria Monet and Tinashe. Despite Siwa’s claims, gay pop as a music genre has never left and therefore doesn’t need to be brought back. BUT, for arguments sake, if it were ‘coming back’, the person leading the charge would be, without a doubt, Chappell Roan.

4. boygenius (The Game Changers)

Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers dominated the music industry for queer fans in 2023 with the release of their second collaborative boygenius album the record. The three are powerful musicians and songwriters in their own right, and when they come together, they are perfectly matched and create such a strong synergism that they are arguably one of the most successful cases of solo artists coming together to create a band. 

3. David Bowie (The Blueprint) 

David Bowie is possibly the first artist to incorporate extreme changes to his style and music throughout his musical career, making him the master of the rebrand. He even named each phase of his musical career, Ziggy Stardust, Major Tom, the Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane, Halloween Jack and the Blind Prophet. These characters covered a wide range of genres, such as new wave, industrial, glam rock, art rock, techno, jazz, hard rock, alternative rock, ambient, house, instrumental, folk, disco, funk, soul, and post-punk, among others. The only genre switch Jojo Siwa has made has been from pre-teen pop to teen pop. What a revolutionary.

2. Lady Gaga (The Pioneer)

Much like Bowie, Lady Gaga’s career has been built on her constant reinvention. From Fame Monster to Artpop to Chromatica and everything in between (including her work as both as an Oscar nominated actress), Gaga could never be called ‘boring’. She’s exceptionally talented as a singer, performer, actress and as an activist; she has been a fierce defender of the queer community since the start of her career and has always honoured the queer artists that inspired her and came before her, particularly Queen and David Bowie.  

1. Miley Cyrus (The Inspiration) 

Jojo Siwa has credited Miley Cyrus as her main inspiration behind her recent ‘rebrand’. So, what exactly do the two have in common? They both spent the majority of their childhoods working as entertainers (both were under the age of ten when they began their careers). To an extent, both girls had to play characters, Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana, and Jojo Siwa as Dance Moms star and the face behind her brand. And while Miley Cyrus is now credited with being brave enough to ditch her childish career for something more grown up and authentic, at the time she faced a similar amount of criticism that Jojo Siwa is receiving now. But the fact remains that Miley’s change felt more about rejecting the limitations of being seen a child and an embracing of adult freedom, whereas Jojo’s recent actions seem more like a record-label’s controlled attempt to capitalise Jojo to target an older audience.

I really hope that one day Jojo can ditch the sticker gem earrings and the strange outfits and have a career transformation that reflects her genuine personality and attitude. But is she mature enough yet to understand a rebrand as a portrayal of authenticity rather than just a means to increase her capitalistic worth? But, as Jojo said on the ‘Call Her Daddy’ podcast with Alex Cooper, she considers herself more of a performer than a singer. So perhaps authenticity isn’t really her priority. 

Jojo also recently teased the possibility of her releasing a rap song. I, for one, can’t wait for her to invent rap!

Jacinta Rossetto
Jacinta Rossetto

Jacinta Rossetto is a writer, artist and editor studying Creative Writing at QUT. Her passion project is a little something called Dawn Street Zine, a zine that she writes, designs, produces and scouts content for. Her favourite genres to write in are gothic and literary fiction.

Articles: 24

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