Kim Petras, the 'unapologetic' transgender pop princess
May 17, 2018
German-born transgender pop singer Kim Petras is a rising star who has been compared to Lady Gaga and garners millions of YouTube views. She spoke to DW on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Deutsche Welle: Lady Gaga's ex-manager Troy Carter says you are the best thing in the world of pop since Gaga's debut. Any idea where this sudden hype comes from?
Kim Petras: I sing pop music that I like, and that is completely unapologetic – which is actually the term, it's called "unapologetic pop." That had been missing before. I write my own lyrics, I can incorporate my own ideas. And yes, apparently, people think it's cool. That's pretty awesome.
What are your songs about?
Basically, they are always about something personal. A relationship that isn't working, or when I talk to friends or go out partying, watch movies. Topics I am interested in and that mean something to me. I take that material and write a structured pop song. And I write a lot about things I dream of, what I wish my life were like.
If people look for you on Google, your transsexuality is very present in the search results. Is that something you've ever written about?
No, I don't write songs about transsexuality. Maybe some day I will. But I actually prefer to write about topics that relatively normal. I find my emotions are inspiring, but I don't find transsexuality to be that inspiring.
You moved to Los Angeles at the age of 19 to become a pop star. Those first months must have been tough.
Yes, they were. I flew to LA, where I knew one or maybe two people from the internet. I slept on couches in studios, had little money and just a few contacts. Every day, I wrote three or four songs, I got to know people, and I contacted them on the internet.
I did that until I had finally grabbed someone's attention. People started recording my songs, later I was offered songwriter contracts. And then, finally, I could take the time to work on my own project. I worked hard for this all by myself.
You just finished your debut album, which is about to be released. What are your plans for the next few years?
I'm going to go on tour with my new album, certainly throughout North America. I'm going to go to lots of prides [Pride marches — editor note] and I'm going to perform at CSDs.
I just got back from a radio tour in the US: San Francisco, San Diego, Milwaukee, Dallas, Denver, New York, LA. And I hope they'll play my song on the radio in America, which actually isn't that easy because they only rotate 12 songs. I plan new music videos and new singles. Lots are completed already, and I can't wait to release them.