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Queer Artist Spotlight: Kim Petras

petras, k

Quick little note: I don’t want to necessarily refer to Petras queer, because even though I use it as an umbrella term encompassing the challenge to heteronormative gender and sexuality standards. Someone people in the trans community may not use the term to apply to them as it can be seen as more related to sexuality.

One of pop’s most promising new voices has been releasing bop after bop since last summer. Kim Petras has been recognized as an artist to look out by most music publications getting all sort of variations of the “artist on the rise” title. And it’s all with good reason all her tracks have been infectious and as catchy as can be.

Kim Petras started her rise in pop music with her song “I Don’t Want It At All”, which is pop perfection. The accompanying video even featured a cameo by Paris Hilton. Petras’ shrine to Paris Hilton in the video made my The Simple Life loving heart swell. Petras gave the gays all they wanted.

Since then she’s released a handful of tracks, as well as appear on Charli XCX’s mixtape Pop 2 on the standout track “Unlock It” with XCX and Jay Park. Petras is readying her debut album, which doesn’t have a set release date at the time of writing this. In the meantime she’s slated to release a brand new track every month until the album’s completion. 

Petras, born in Germany, initially received attention and notoriety for transitioning at a young age. She was in featured in several documentaries and TV news shows in Germany before she pursued music. She has been very clear that she doesn’t want the narrative going around that she wasn’t female before she underwent surgery, something many trans folk have to remind those around them who are unable to separate gender from sex. 

Petras is also set to open for Troye Sivan on his upcoming tour this fall, her biggest stage in the US yet. However, this announcement did come with some controversy. Petras has openly worked with music producer Dr. Luke and has only said positive things about him and has stayed mum on the allegations against him from various artists.

To catch up anyone unfamiliar of the entire situation surrounding Dr. Luke, he is the music producer in the high profile legal battle against Kesha since she came out detailing the various forms of sexual, physical, emotional and work abuse she had to deal with at his hands since the start of her career. Since then other artist have come forward with their stories of dealing with Dr Luke’s abusive and controlling behavior.

Petras has continued to work with Dr. Luke on all of her solo tracks and has only had praise for the producer. This has made Petras very problematic to some since she is aware of all of the allegations and in the past her comments have come of as discrediting Kesha or not believing her. Petras has since apologized for the miscommunication in her statements but has still holds her stance working with him. Knowing that Dr. Luke gets royalties for every stream or purchase of one of Petras song is bothersome, but, this day in age almost everyone’s fave is problematic. If you stream anything pre-Rainbow era Kesha, he’s getting a cut of the check. Same with Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone”. And most parties still play “Ignition” by R Kelly even though he’s a known abuser.

Petras has said she doesn’t want to use her trans identity as tool for her career or be known simply as a trans pop star, but rather the focus be on the music itself. Given her collaborator in her songs, it safe to say the focus is now on who she surrounds herself with.


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