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Kim Petras Is Bubblegum Pop’s Next Great Hope: PopCrush Presents

Kim Petra: PopCrush Presents
Colby Koch

Pop music has taken some twists and turns over the past couple of years, and some people have been longing for the glossy, gooey sounds of ’90s and early 2000s. Thankfully, the wait is over: Meet Kim Petras. Hailing from Cologne, Germany, this pop-star-on-the-rise wants to get your body moving with her shiny debut single, “I Don’t Want It At All.” Inspired by the likes of Destiny’s Child and Britney Spears (and P.S., she and Brit share the same manager!), Kims set to become one of the pop world’s new princesses.

While she’s a newcomer to the music scene, Kim previously made headlines when she began female hormone therapy following her 12th birthday, a few years before undergoing gender confirmation surgery at the age of 16, becoming one of the youngest women to do so.

We had the chance to chat with Kim about her fascinating life, her addictive new music and what’s next to come.

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What’s your first musical memory?
My mom singing in our house all the time.

You were writing songs in your mom’s basement, and now you’re traveling the world and working with Aaron Joseph and Dr. Luke. How does it all feel?
[It’s] a little bit like a dream come true! It’s been a lot of work to get to this point so I’m excited to get up every morning and do what I love.

You’ve mentioned that music videos would be an escape for you. What were some of your favorite videos?
Destiny’s Child‘s “Survivor.” Britney Spears‘ “Toxic.” Spice Girls’ “Say You’ll Be There.” Gwen Stefani‘s “Wind It Up.” Fergie‘s “Glamorous.” All gems!

Talk about working with on “I Don’t Want It At All.” What inspired it? What was it like getting into the studio with some big name writers and producers?
My manager took me to Sephora, and [he] said I could get whatever I wanted because we just came from a meeting that went really well. When the total started going up, he tensed up a little. And the cashier was like, “Just close your eyes and swipe it, sweetie!” I thought it was a hilarious lyric so I wrote it down! The next day we wrote the song. It was a really fun [and] inspired session. Cirkut, Dr. Luke, Lil Aaron and Aaron Joseph are really chill and cool! It’s just like working with friends.

What else can you tell us about the music you’ve working on?
A million things! I’m about three songs away from finishing the record. They all make sense together, and there’s a lyrical thread connecting them. There’s a song on there [that] I wrote when I was 19, we switched some things around and finished it just now, which is crazy to me. Most of the songs are very much synth-driven and have a lot of nostalgic synth sounds. Very pop melodies and big ad libs! They all mean a lot to me, especially since I picked them from hundreds of songs I’ve written over the years! It’s little bit like a “best of” record of songs only my friends have heard!

You went through female hormone therapy when you were 12 and received gender confirmation surgery when you were 16. Do you feel going through all of that pushed you to grow up faster?
Definitely! Very early as a kid I had suicidal thoughts because I didn’t identify with my gender! My mom told me very early on that I could get female hormones and the surgery once I was old enough. I didn’t have many friends in school, and a lot of middle-aged people and psychologists told me and my family I was crazy. So I feel like I’ve always had something to fight for and something to prove. I think that makes you grow!

What have you learned from those experiences and what advice would you give to young trans people?
That you can be whatever you want to be and that people’s opinions about you really don’t matter at all! All that matters is if you’re a good person and what you do with your life rather than what gender and sexuality you identify with.

What’s next?
Finishing this record and finishing the first music video is my main focus right now! Then I’m gonna start doing performances! Basically a million things happening at the same time, but I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.

Meet the Alternative Women of Pop:

NEXT: POPCRUSH PRESENTS — QUIN

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