Kim Petras grew up in Cologne, an amiable little city, but far too reticent for a budding pop star! She hurled her hair straighteners in a handbag and hotfooted it to LA, where she now resides, storming from nightclubs to nail salons and hanging out with friends at boozy bougie brunches.
A purveyor of what she describes as ‘big huge fat pop’, she’s exploded onto the music scene in recent months, with a string of irresistibly catchy, unapologetically girly singles. She’s a pop star of the internet generation, with over 10 million listens on Spotify and a huge and loyal social media following.
For someone relatively new to the industry, she’s also got her lacquer-nailed finger on the pulse, with links to super cool sonorous pioneers like Charli XCX and PC Music. And as if that weren’t enough, Paris Hilton stalks out of a closet at the end of the gorgeously sweet video for her first single ‘I Don’t Want It At All.’
She called Dylan Jones from a tour bus in Brooklyn, and talked about her dizzyingly delicious rise to fame!
Hey Kim! Babe, you’re a pop star! How does it feel?
Amazing! I get to do what I love every single day. I came to LA broke, without knowing anybody. I’m so excited that I get to put out music, and that people love the music, and that people sing along to the songs.
You have to come to London! We always play ‘I Don’t Want It At All’ when we’re wasted.
Oh sick! That’s so dope!
So you have an American accent now?
I kinda just speak like my friends I think, so I guess it’s an American accent! But honestly, I’ve just been watching American movies my whole life. And I watched Britney Spears interviews as a kid, and recorded them on my VCR and watched them back to study the language.
Haha amazing! What’s your favourite movie?
It has to be First Wives Club. I’m obsessed with Goldie Hawn. I love every single movie of hers. First Wives Club is my favourite though. Whenever I put it on, I just smile. I forget I have problems. It’s my procrastination movie that I watch when I really have to do shit and I don’t want to. It just makes me feel good. I’m very into movies, I watch loads of movies. I’m obsessed with a bunch of directors.
Yeah! ‘I Don’t Want It At All’ was my first real music video. Since then, I’ve definitely learned a tonne. It’s mostly about finding directors and people you really click with. And then just discipline, and having a plan for it. I love to use movie references, and I always make big vision boards and have a bunch of ideas. And the styling is super important! I feel like every time I do a music video I get better, and it becomes more me. So I’m excited for the ‘Heart To Break’ video, which is gonna be next level.
Oh yeah! Tell me about that.
I shot it a week ago so we have a rough cut. The core of it is that I think I’m made of glass, and I shatter if I fall in love. It’s a bit of a Disney Princess moment. But with sick outfits.
I know you love Paris Hilton. Did you love her Valentine’s music video?
Iconic. She looked incredible.
How did she end up in the I Don’t Want It At All video? I screamed when she turned up!
SO DID I. So this is how it happened. I was doing the photoshoot, and I started talking about the music video with the photographer. She’d just shot Paris, so when we locked the video down, she called up Paris and sent her the song. And Paris responded with a video of herself dancing to it in her closet. So I guess that was her way of saying yes? But up until the last minute we didn’t expect her to come – we didn’t pay her or anything! She just showed up. She was amazing and super gracious, and super sweet to everybody, and did her take again and again and again until it was right. It was a huge surprise and such a freaking gift. It was so sick that she did that and I’m forever thankful.
Isn’t it so amazing when people surprise you like that.
Yeah! It’s so amazing. I remember having cut-out pictures of her on my bedroom door when I was a kid. And then she loved my song. My childhood dream came true with that music video.
So another person you’ve collaborated with is one of my favourite music artists EVER…Charli XCX! And a lot of your music is quite similar to hers I think…
Well we have like the same voice. You can’t tell us apart on ‘Unlock It’, but the second verse is me, doing a verse that I wrote. It’s been great collaborating with her, she’s been so supportive. She showed up at my show at The Abbey the other night and we performed ‘Unlock It’ for the first time. I’m a huge fan of hers, and hopefully we’re gonna keep on collaborating and keep doing cool stuff together.
You’ve heard of PC Music right?
Of course. I love SOPHIE. That’s how Charli and I met, at SOPHIE’s first show in LA. Which was incredible, probably one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. I’m a big fan of PC Music, big fan of AG Cook and SOPHIE.
So it’s International Women’s Day…what does it mean to you?
Women have been so important to me in my life. I love women and I’m so for equality. It’s really a good time to celebrate the progress that’s being made. Finally, stories are being heard, girls get to boss up and be whatever the hell they want, and that’s so amazing. There’s still a long way to go, but I think we can also say ‘well, we’ve achieved a lot too.’ History is being made, and I really feel like this moment is gonna be in history books in the future. FINALLY it’s a thing. Things are being called out. And it makes you realise how long the world’s been focused on straight male.
AND FINALLY…young queer and LGBT people love you. What would be your advice, to a young queer kid who wants to go out and be a superstar like you?
Work hard on what makes you great, and what makes you unique. The only way to do that, is if you can remove yourself from everything else that’s going on, and do your own thing. Don’t be afraid to be the crazy you. I’ve been told for my whole life that my music is ‘too pop’. And that always felt really awkward to me, and I was always like ‘absolutely not. I love big fat bubblegum pop.’ So that’s what I’m doing! And if I hadn’t done that, I just would have got lost, and I wouldn’t love making music. Because big huge fat pop is why I love music! Find something you love, something that separates you from other people and makes you happy. Being happy is number one. When I was a teen I was always just like ‘WHY HAVEN’T I MADE IT YET.’ I was super impatient and sad. But you just have to believe that it’s possible, and keep going for it, and keep trying. There’s only one you. So if you have something special, it’ll shine no matter what.
Kim Petras’ new single, Heart To Break, is out now on Spotify. Follow her on Instagram @kimpetras