The name “Kim Petras” may not ring a bell for you, but the 25-year-old singer has actually been in the spotlight for a number of years…but not for her music. Back in 2009, a 16-year-old Petras made worldwide headlines when she became the youngest person to receive gender reassignment surgery to begin her transition from male to female (she had been undergoing therapy since she was 12). Back before the trans revolution pop culture has undergone in recent years, stories of trans people, and most notably trans kids, were not as commonplace. Teenage Kim became somewhat of a local celebrity in her native Germany and started off her music career to moderate fame, with singles like “Last Forever” and “Fade Away,” which garnered attention on websites like MySpace and YouTube.
A New Chance At Fame
Flash forward to 2017, and Kim is back in the news, but this time for a few different reasons. For one, she has released a couple stellar pop masterpieces (am I exaggerating? you be the judge, but I know a bop when I hear one) leading up to a hopefully equally as buzzworthy debut album. Another reason Petras is being talked about, though, is not quite as forgiving. The rising star has been dubbed “Dr. Luke’s newest protege” which, in light of recent events surrounding the super-producer and Kesha and her damning sexual assault allegations against him, isn’t exactly a flattering position to be in. Other stars like Kelly Clarkson and Lady Gaga have openly spoken out against the producer as well. Petras has commented on working with Dr. Luke, but fans weren’t exactly thrilled with her response.
“It’s all about the song,” Petras told Out Magazine back in August. “I was skeptical, but my friend Aaron Joseph, who I wrote this whole record with, had nothing but nice things to say about him and set up a meeting. And to me Luke’s been nothing but nice and I’ve had a really fun time writing and working with him. Also, I’ve always been a fan of Luke, and I’m learning a lot from him. I’ve always loved his sound.”
Even with that in mind, Kim Petras may well be the next big thing in pop music. With a sound comparable to Charli XCX, Bonnie McKee, or Katy Perry, we might be hearing a lot more about the German-born star in the future.
“I Don’t Want It At All”
Petras released her stateside debut, “I Don’t Want It At All,” in August, to rave reviews. With a thumping synth beat, Petras sounds confident as she sings about her affinity for designer clothes, attention, and partying it up in the Hamptons — all at the cost of someone else, of course. Petras was inspired by the kinds of girls she has met since getting to LA, but she insists it’s just a fantasy. “I guess it’s a fun fantasy to think about that life because it’s not very much like my life,” she revealed to Out Magazine. “My life isn’t very glamorous, I’m not living fancy or anything. But it’s still fun to imagine that.”
Her latest single “Hillside Boys,” released in September, is the perfect end-of-summer bop; it’s bubbly (literally, it opens with the sounds of a glass of champagne being poured) and sweet, an immediate earworm. On the first listen, you’ll be immediately obsessed. It has the same youthful essence as Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” and the unstoppable charisma and bubbliness of a Carly Rae Jepsen tune. If Kim’s team had been a bit wiser, they could’ve released the song in the late spring and it would’ve been a sure-fire contender for song of the summer. But even with that misstep, the song is undeniably a hit.
The Waiting Game
Even with a mere three songs (she also released the song “Hills” featuring Baby E) out in the universe and a debut surrounded by controversy, we still have high hopes for Kim. She said she has written over 100 songs to put towards her upcoming album and finished around eight tracks, though there aren’t many details at this time. All the young singer knows is that she wants to make “a heartbreak album. There’s a lot of songs on there about escapism—what I want my life to be versus what my life really is.”
All we know is that if her first few songs are any indication, the album will be, without a doubt, a hit (if people can look past her affiliation with the shamed produer). Not to mention, what with the current political climate in the US, there’s no better time for a talented trans woman to take over the pop music world, especially when the LGBTQ community is simultaneously at its most vulnerable and vocal.
What do you think? Listen to “Hillside Boys” below: