Kim Petras Is Pop Music’s Fastest Rising Star: BreatheHeavy InterviewJune 6, 2019
If you risk nothing, you win nothing, and Kim Petras likes her odds.
Streaming culture is a fickle thing, and Kim knows it. The pop star’s fame has reached new heights in 2019 due to an onslaught of fresh material. While she works on recording an album AND a followup to Turn Off The Light, Kim has steadily released a half-a-dozen songs in recent times, including “Sweet Spot,” “Blow It All,” “Got My Number,” “Broken,” “All I Do Is Cry” and her brand new release (as of today), “Do Me.” Kim treated fans to an accompanying lewk for each release, and it amounted to an impressive visual and sonic rollout.
Prior to that, the 26-year-old unleashed an arsenal of genuinely delicious pop bites, like “Heart To Break,” “Got My Number” and “In The Next Life.” Think of her newest buzz tracks as a heavy appetizer before the main course and dessert. I hope you’re starved, because Kim is ending world hunger.
Give the singer’s new song a spin, then feast your eyes on our interview together below. Kim touches on the energy her fans bring to the table, life changing experiences in the industry, tracks left on the cutting room floor, the new tunes and more. Bon appé***!
You’ve released bop after bop. What’s your perception on how people view your music now versus when you first started?
I think I have a loyal fanbase now that are really good at sending my songs to everybody once I release them. I’m really excited. They’re doing a lot for me by doing that, so I’m thankful because I’m lucky to have that. I love that I’ve built a reputation of releasing quality songs. I’m just really blessed that people perceive me this way and that people take my music seriously.
What’s one of the best experiences you’ve had in the last year music-wise?
Last year was completely life-changing for me. I just think, in general, the last year has really given me confidence as an artist to try more things, to be even more experimental, and put out even bigger songs. I really think that having a fanbase gave me a lot of confidence in myself and, before that, I didn’t know if anybody would even want to listen to me. I feel really supported now. I think that’s the best thing that has happened to me. I really feel like I found myself, thanks to my music and my fans.
Have there been any songs you’ve recorded that were left on the cutting room floor you wished made the cut?
Yes, for sure. I keep going back to play with old songs. I’ve written hundreds to get to the songs that I am at. I will never release a song I don’t think is great, so a lot of songs are left on the cutting room floor. There are some songs that, even years later, I’m like “I got to figure out how to make this amazing.” Usually, me and my collaborators are pretty good at telling what songs are going to be great once its finished and which ones we should abandon. But you never know – years later you sometimes listen to a lyric and you’re like “Oh, yeah, that’s good. Let’s try that again.”
There’s no denying Dr. Luke is an innovative producer, but most people perceive him a certain way. Has that been a hurdle for you, or is it something you don’t choose to engage with publicly?
It’s something I don’t choose to engage with publicly.
Can we look forward to a TURN OFF THE LIGHT VOLUME II?
Of course. I spoiled the surprise naming it Volume 1. There’s a Volume 2. Its coming out this Halloween and I’m really stoked about it. TURN OFF THE LIGHT VOL. 1 did amazing things for me and I didn’t expect it to. To me, and a lot of people on my team, it was just fun – like a weird, little Halloween record. And then it did amazing things and played at every single album party there is; it really gave me some die-hard fans. I still love listening to that record from front to back, just all the way through. So, we will pick up right where we left off.
What’s the experience been like recording your debut album, and what do you want people to take away from it once it’s complete?
It’s been really amazing, I was on tour for a long time before that and was doing a bunch of promo. I wasn’t really able to be in the studio. I love being in the studio and being able to write every day. In the beginning, I experimented a lot. I just wanted to work with different kinds of people and try out all the kinds of sounds that I’m into. I went into a bunch of sessions with people I’ve never worked with and I went back to collaborating with people I have worked with. It’s been a really amazing experience and I think I’ve really grown sonically and as a songwriter. I think it’s a step up. I mean, I don’t want to say too much about it because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’m extremely excited and I love this more than anything I’ve ever done before – even though I’ll always love the songs I dropped in Era 1. I just think this is my best project yet.
What’s something you feel misunderstood by when it comes to your music?
A lot of things. Some people think I’m just this blonde, pop puppet. I’m an independent artist and I’m in charge of everything I do. I really care deeply. I know some people took “I Don’t Want It At All” the wrong way, but to me it was always a fun song. Somebody, who I think worked with Madonna back in the day when she dropped “Material Girl,” told me that she almost couldn’t come back from that because people thought it was vapid talking about wanting boys to buy you stuff. I just thought it was funny, but people took it very seriously. So, I think that song is my most misunderstood and sometimes reflects on me. I’m just kind of like “Why aren’t people willing to laugh? That song is a fun song. It’s not supposed to be anything serious.” I just want to have fun doing what I do and I think a lot of people just don’t understand the humor there. They think that real music has to be serious. I disagree. A lot of people think that pop isn’t real music and I disagree. I think there really is an art to writing pop music.
What do you consider being successful in music means?
It means something different to everybody. To me, being able to tour my entire life, having a real, legit career, relating to people – that’s kind of everything. Of course, I want big hits and I still want to chart this year. I’m competitive. I want to be able to compete with everything good that’s out there. Right now, being successful is going on my first tour this year and dropping my first complete project. As long as I’m always growing, getting better, and making my fans excited about music and about life, that is what being successful means to me.
Close your eyes and picture what your career looks like in 5 years from now. What do you see?
I don’t want to have any expectations, because I feel like having big expectations makes me disappointed in reality. I’m trying to not picture anything and just let it happen, to be honest. I know that’s boring… Of course, I want to be as big as I can be, drop the best songs I can drop, and genuinely be happy. That’s always my goal.
Is there an inspirational quote or mantra you live by that you’d like to share with your fans?
I try to live by “don’t be afraid of making mistakes” and “trial and error.” I don’t like to go into things with fear. I think you can always tell when someone goes into things with fear. If you risk nothing, you win nothing. You have to be willing to lose and to fail and be able to be like “I’m going to bounce back from that.”
I also spoke with producer Jesse St. John, whom Kim frequently collaborates with (she literally leaked his phone number on “Got My Number”). He had this to say about Kim:
“Kim is literally one of the best writers I’ve ever worked with,” John said. She’s a songwriter first, and she knows exactly her brand and who she is. It’s not created outside of her, it comes from exactly who she is, and she is really intelligent and a really really adept songwriter. We connect so much because we’re both students of pop music… we just love pop and pop girls. It’s so fun to meet somebody who connects on that so much. I think connects so much with people because I feel like people can hear that. They feel like, ‘I feel seen.'”