Kim Petras Is Ready For Her Next Chapter
Kim Petras is making pop music great again.
From her Paris Hilton-approved breakout hit, “I Don’t Want It At All,” to her Halloween-themed mixtape—all complete with camp-y music videos—it’s no wonder Kim has throngs of people who seriously stan her (and tons more who love blasting her tracks while cruising down the freeway or getting ready for a booty call).
But after going through a bad breakup last year, Kim is ready to bare her real self in her music—not just the fantasy, designer-dud wearing, party girl vibes she gave us with her first era of tracks.
Her first release from this new musical chapter, “Broken,” immediately popped into the top 10 of the iTunes Pop Chart. Her next release, “Got My Number,” immediately gets stuck in your head in the best way possible. Today, the independent artist released “Sweet Spot,” a song that’s equally fun as it is sexy with serious throwback vibes.
Now that Kim’s initial goal of releasing songs that become instant “gay club classics” has been checked off her bucket list, she’s continuing to release track after track (at an impressive pace, mind you) that range over a wider variety of topics—but still provide that infectious beat and simple, but relatable lyrics that keep her fan base snowballing.
We talked to the rising pop princess about breakups, sugar daddies, her artistic journey, and her upcoming tour.
In your latest release, “Broken” you mention hoping that your ex gets karma. Have you ever seen one of your exes experience karma before?
I think just that I’m doing well and my songs are playing in clubs is good karma for me. I’ve kind of given up on even like checking up on my exes. I still do sometimes, but I don’t care.
I think we all hope to be like that with our exes one day.
Yeah, fuck em!
When you’re feeling heartbroken, are you the type to go out, party, and try to forget about it? Or do you like to take a few days to fully feel everything and mourn the relationship?
I’m just depressed and antisocial after a breakup. I’m just hanging by myself and watching something, eating a ton of food, that’s my best way to get over it. But my friends will drag me out eventually to socialize and make me feel better. But I definitely have the tendency to make myself feel something, like, “I have to feel miserable now.” I feel like it’s songwriter thing, like, “oh I’m going to write so much better if I really feel it.”
Tell us about your new single, “Got My Number.”
It’s a lot more upbeat than “Broken.” It’s more 90’s sonically, and I’m leaking my best friend’s number in it. So I’m going to be with him when the song gets released and see his reaction, it’s going to be really fun.
How do you think he’s going to react?
I think he’s going to love it because he loves the attention. I think at first he’s going to be like, “you psycho bitch.” But it’s just going to be a fun thing, you know. I’m half terrified and half really excited.
You released an amazing Halloween-themed mixtape last year. Is Halloween your favorite holiday?
Yeah, I’d definitely say that. I love watching scary movies and getting really into it. I think October is my favorite month, my favorite time of year, my favorite holiday. I always get really into it. This year I’m going to continue Turn Off The Light Vol. 1 and release volume 2 and it’s going to be really fun. And a bunch of surprises, I’ve been building that stuff since I released the last one. I was kind of blown away by how good it did. Because I released that and thought nobody would be into the horror-inspired pop stuff, so I was really excited and it exceeded my expectations. It was just playing at every Halloween party there was and people seemed to love it so it was a great experience dropping that.
So you’re an independent artist. Nowadays it kind of gets lost what it actually means to be an independent artist. Can you tell us about that from your perspective?
Yeah, so it’s not like I’m doing the whole thing on my own, I have an amazing team of people that really believe in me. I work with Artists Without a Label and they help you out. It’s invested in streaming so everything gets released at the same time everywhere, all those little things. I can kind of decide anything that I do and it really enables me to drop more music vs. being on a major label. And I have nothing against signing with a major label, but I think it just wasn’t the right move at the time and I feel like I would’ve gotten stuck at this point and wouldn’t have been able to put out music. A lot of people get stuck [waiting to release music] and I just never wanted that. I wanted to be able to put out music when I want, and drop a lot of music, kind of like an urban artist. I love a challenge. I love doing things my own way. I’m one of the few pop artists that are independent that are really doing everything themselves and I’m pretty proud!
You answered my next question. I was going to say you’ve blessed us with so much music in the past year and I feel like at a label you wouldn’t have been able to release as much music.
Totally, and I think that’s such a cool thing to feel free and to create a bunch of stuff and drop it as it goes which is kind of what I’m doing. Even though I am trying to have a master plan and have a couple surprises, most of it is like, “I love this song, let’s drop it”— easy as that. But with labels come a lot of connections and branding things and people that have done this a million times before, but I’m excited to be doing it on my own terms.
At 16, you were one of the youngest people to undergo gender-affirmation surgery. How do you think your life would have gone differently if you had to wait a few years or more to undergo this surgery?
I was one of the first to get that ever, to get an underage surgery opportunity and not have to go to a different country or anything. It was a fight since I was 12 years old. I just wanted to not have to worry about that kind of stuff. I had been pretty sad since I was 5 years old and I was very sure of what I needed to do, my parents were right there with me. Ever since then it’s been a struggle but I’m very proud of achieving that with my parents together and changing the law so that other kids can do the same thing in Europe.
How was the transition moving from Germany to LA?
Well it was kind of what I always wanted to do. Since I was 12 years old, I was just writing everyday and there were really no opportunities for me in Germany to make pop music the way I wanted to make pop music. It wasn’t easy. I went by myself, I could barely afford anything. I got the plane tickets by waitressing and saved up money to come out here and it took a long time before anyone heard any of my songs. It was definitely hard, I didn’t know anybody, but I knew it was what I had to do. Being an immigrant and feeling like you don’t fit in, you don’t understand the culture. Even though I always watched American TV shows and was really obsessed with speaking English and have always been really good at it and always knew that I wanted to move here.
From what you saw in American movies and TV shows, do you feel like what you experienced in LA was pretty accurate to what you expected?
It’s not half as dramatic as everything is in movies. But, a lot of the cultural stuff you can definitely learn from movies.
One of your biggest early hits was “I Don’t Want It At All,” what was the inspiration behind this song?
It was just about being a material girl and a brat, kind of like the LA girl experience. Not like LA girls are all like that, but it just seems really fun to go down that rabbit hole. But yeah, Paris Hilton, fashion— I’ve always been really obsessed with fashion.
One of the top comments on the YouTube video is, “this song makes me want to have a sugar daddy,” which is pretty accurate to how I felt when I first heard the song. Do you have any funny stories about sugar daddies in LA?
No, it’s really always been [more about] that lifestyle, it just seems so fun. I’ve never actually had one, it’s just fantasizing about it. I wrote that song from a futon with four other roommates. I was not living a glam life, it was kind of just me fantasizing about that. I think the song makes you feel like it is your life and I think that’s the power of music, it can just take you to a different place. But I love watching those YouTube videos about people’s weird sugar daddies experiences, I love that shit.
Yeah, same. And what you’re saying totally ties into LA and the whole Instagram experience of being at home on your futon and either posting about or singing about some glamorous lifestyle.
1000%. I felt like it was an updated version of what “Material Girl” was and it’s really relatable. Madonna’s my favorite artist ever I feel like my first era was about writing club bangers [inspired by] old school Madonna songs and that was my main goal, but it’s really different from my new stuff.
So you’ve been going through this slow transition with your music, especially with the lyrics. Is it a reflection of what you’re going through right now?
I think [during] the first era, I wasn’t even sure if people wanted to hear what I had to say because I was writing for other people for so long. I was like, “is anyone gonna fuck with me?” I was really insecure and shy. But I just wanted to write pop songs that could play in any gay club at anytime, so that was my first era and I feel like I’ve achieved it. I feel like I’ve got some gay club classics. I went through a breakup last year while I was promoting everything. My songs were getting played on the radio and I was touring and everything was going really great, but I got cheated on and I would get on stage and feel sad about my real life, so I just started writing everything down in my little journal that I write lyrics in. The songs that I listened to were Travis Scott, Post Malone, Kanye, Rihanna, and I just kind of wanted to make that music to forget about my drama. I feel like I found a lot of confidence at the same time. [The new music] is just a true representation of who I am and what it’s like to hang out with me rather than the club version of me, which is cool.
So, I regularly listen to your music when I’m getting ready to go out or go on a date or whatever. What do you typically listen to when you’re getting ready to go out?
Recently I listen to Astroworld, Rihanna’s Unapologetic, Beyonce’s Dangerously in Love, I love 808s & Heartbreaks, SZA’s Ctrl album—but that always makes me a little sad. Lana Del Rey, Marina and the Diamonds—I always loved her, one of my favorite albums ever is Electra Heart. Those are my faves.
What can we expect to see on your upcoming tour?
All kinds of things! It’s my first headlining tour so it’s going to be my first real legit show where I get to do anything I want. I don’t want to spoil anything, but definitely all of my new songs that are going to come out by that time. I don’t even know how many are going to come out, but I think it’s going to be quite a bit of my first album, so I’m going to perform a lot of new songs. I’m starting rehearsals next week so I’m trying to make this the greatest it can be and I’m really excited.
You can check out Kim on her upcoming tour this summer at the dates below. More info here.
6/11 Nashville, TN @ The Basement East
6/12 Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage
6/14 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
6/15 Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore Silver Spring
6/17 Philadelphia @ Theatre of Living Arts
6/18 Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
6/20 Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
6/21 Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Café
6/24 Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda
6/25 Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda
6/26 San Francisco, CA @ Mezzanine
6/27 San Francisco, CA @ Mezzanine
8/23 Leeds, UK @ Leeds Festival
8/24 Manchester, UK @ Manchester Pride
8/25 Reading, UK @ Reading Festival
8/27 London, UK @ Omeara
8/30 Paris, France @ Les Etoiles
9/1 Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Bitterzoet
9/3 Berlin, Germany @ Kantine Am Berghain
9/4 Cologne, Germany @ Yuca
Photographer & Production: Thom Kerr
Photographic Assistants: Cris Ian-Garcia & Elena Rojas & Craig Morton
Styling: Matthew Mazur
Assisted by: Marc Eram
Hair: Iggy Rosales at Opus Beauty using Hidden Crown Extensions & bumble and bumble
Makeup: Melissa Murdick at Opus Beauty using The Crème Shop