Kim Petras

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Kim Petras
Kim Petras looking away from the camera with her hand under her chin.
Petras in June 2018
Background information
Born (1992-08-27) 27 August 1992 (age 29)
Cologne, Germany
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active2008–present
Associated acts

Kim Petras (born 27 August 1992) is a German singer and songwriter based in Los Angeles. Between 2016 and 2020, she released music as an independent artist under her own imprint, BunHead Records, before signing with Republic Records in 2021 where she will release her upcoming third album and major-label debut.[2]

Petras began recording music as a teenager, releasing her debut extended play One Piece of Tape in 2011. She independently released her debut single in 2017, "I Don't Want It at All", which went on to top several viral music charts on Spotify.[3] The song was followed by Billboard-charting singles "Feeling of Falling" (with Cheat Codes), "Heart to Break", and "1, 2, 3 Dayz Up" (featuring Sophie).

Following her early success, Petras released a collection of digital singles which would later comprise her unofficial body of work known as Era 1. Petras released her debut project, Clarity, on 28 June 2019.[4] The record was preceded with a nine-week-long promotional campaign, during which Petras released one single per week with an accompanying visual lyric video. Clarity received acclaim from music critics, reached number seven on the Heatseekers Chart and number 26 on the Independent Albums chart. Following this, Petras released a Halloween-themed album, Turn Off the Light in October 2019. In 2020, Petras saw international chart success with her singles "Malibu" and "Broken Glass", the latter being a collaboration with Kygo. Petras achieved more success with a snippet release and a MTV EMA performance of her single "Coconuts", which went viral on TikTok.

Early life

Kim Petras was born in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.[5][6] While she was assigned male at birth, her parents said that from the age of two, Petras knew she was a girl.

In 2006, Petras, then aged 13, appeared on a German television current affairs show in which she discussed her medical gender transition. At age 14, Petras appeared in a documentary and a talk show,[7][8] in a push to get permission for early sex reassignment surgery at age 16, before the minimum age of 18 in Germany. These appearances resulted in international media coverage of her transition, touting her as the "world's youngest transsexual".[9]

In September 2007, she was a model for a German chain of hair salons.[10] Petras was evaluated by the head of the psychiatric unit at Frankfurt Hospital, Dr Bernd Meyenburg, and approved for gender confirmation surgery at 16 years old;[11] Petras announced, in November 2008, that the surgery was completed.[12] The Daily Telegraph claimed Petras was the youngest person in the world to have had that surgery at the time. About her surgery, she stated "I was asked if I feel like a woman now – but the truth is I have always felt like a woman – I just ended up in the wrong body".[13]

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Petras stated that the first song she ever wrote was "about this dude in second grade who didn't like me back".[14]


2008–2014: Career beginnings

Petras performing in 2012

Between 2008 and 2009, Petras released a string of singles under Joyce Records: "Fade Away" (2008), "Last Forever," "Die for You," and "Boomerang" (all 2009). In 2009, she was featured on "Taste" by Sobertruth and in 2011 was featured on "Magnetic". Later in 2011, Petras released her debut extended play, One Piece of Tape, under the imprint Bionic Ballroom.

In 2013, Petras was featured on two singles named "Flight to Paris" and "Hearbeat" by German DJ Klaas. Throughout the next few years, Petras worked with producers including The Stereotypes, C.J. Abraham, Stephen Dresser, Johan "Jones" Wetterberg, Edward Ellis, and Aaron Joseph on a music career, releasing demos on her SoundCloud page, including one titled "STFU".[15] For her contributions to social media, Petras was ranked at number 19 on Billboard's Artist Chart, listing developing artists, in July 2013.[16] In 2015, Petras appeared on "You" by Isaac Phase for his album, Phase 00001.

2017–2019: Breakthrough with Era 1

Petras performing at Capital Pride in 2018

In August 2017, Petras released her debut single "I Don't Want It at All",[17] The song went on to reach the Spotify Global Viral chart.[18] The accompanying music video for the song premiered in October on Vevo, and features a cameo appearance by Paris Hilton.[19] In the same month, she was picked by Spotify to be one of the four artists named as a RISE Artist, a "program designed to identify and break the next wave of music superstars."[20] During the end of 2017, Petras was dubbed "most likely to dominate the pop charts" by Paper magazine,[21] and appeared on Charli XCX's mixtape Pop 2 (2017) for the track "Unlock It" alongside Jay Park.

In January 2018, the Nicholas Harwood-directed video for Petras' single "Faded", which features Lil Aaron, premiered on Noisey,[22] That same month, she appeared in the January issue of Galore.[3] Petras released the breakup-inspired "Heart to Break" in February, to commemorate Valentine's Day.[23] The song was given its radio debut on BBC Radio 1 on 19 February. Bryan Kress of Billboard noted how while the single is "still keeping Petras' upbeat, unabashed pop sound... [it] ventures into new territory for the songwriter."[23]

On 1 October 2018, Petras released Turn Off the Light, Vol. 1, a Halloween-themed extended play. The project was seen as a departure from Petras' typical sound, and features a guest appearance from the horror hostess character Elvira.[24] Afterwards, Petras announced plans to release a single a month as a lead up to her debut album.[3] She was featured on Cheat Codes' song "Feeling of Falling" in November 2018.[25] Petras has been credited with composing the song "Young & Wild" on Twice's 6th EP, Yes or Yes.[26]

In February 2019, Petras released three singles titled "1, 2, 3 Dayz Up" featuring Sophie, "If U Think About Me...", and "Homework" featuring Lil Aaron.[27] Petras has not publicly expressed plans to release an album with any of her digital singles from 2016 until early 2019, but has referred to this release period as Era 1.[28]

2019–2020: Clarity and Turn Off the Light

Petras and Aaron Joseph on The Clarity Tour in 2019

Petras released her debut album, Clarity, on 28 June 2019. Throughout May and June, Petras released one song a week as a lead-up to the album's release.[29] In June, Petras embarked on the 24 date "Broken Tour" across North America and Europe.[30] Petras was featured on the covers of Galore and Notion magazines that same month. The album was preceded by promotional singles including "All I Do Is Cry" and "Sweet Spot" and was accompanied by the lead single, "Icy", on its release date.

In August, Petras announced that there would be a limited edition vinyl pressing of Turn Off the Light, Vol. 1 through Urban Outfitters. Petras has announced that Turn Off the Light, Vol. 2 will be released exactly a year after the first part. On 1 October 2019, Petras' second studio album Turn Off the Light was released. The album features songs from Vol. 1 and also nine new tracks.[31] On 11 February 2020, she released the single "Reminds Me". That same month, she announced that she would be the supporting act on the European leg of Camila Cabello's The Romance Tour,[32] which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On 7 May, Petras released the single "Malibu" as the lead single off of next album. The song was promoted by a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and charted in the United Kingdom. Petras was later featured on the song "Broken Glass" by Kygo, from his album Golden Hour, released 29 May.[33] On 23 October, Petras announced that Turn Off the Light, Vol. 3 will be released some time in 2021 "when [she] can perform it live".[34] She also released a new song "Party Till I Die". Petras' song "Reminds Me" was sampled by the Kid Laroi for his song "Reminds Me of You", a collaboration with Juice Wrld released on the first anniversary of his death.[35]

2020–present: Major-label debut

On 6 November 2020, Petras was featured on K/DA's EP All Out, appearing on the song "Villain" alongside Madison Beer, which charted in New Zealand and on the US World Songs chart. In 2021, Petras was featured on remixes of several songs made popular on TikTok, including "Jenny" with Studio Killers, and "SugarCrash!" by ElyOtto and Curtis Waters.[36] Additionally, her 2017 song "Unlock It" with Charli XCX and Jay Park went viral on the app.[citation needed] Petras has additionally announced Turn Off the Light, Vol. 3 will be released sometime in 2021.[34]

In August 2021, Petras signed to Republic Records and released "Future Starts Now" as the lead single from her upcoming major-label debut studio album.[2] Petras performed the song at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards pre-show on 12 September 2021,[37] as the first out trans artist to perform at the VMAs.[38] In November 2021, she performed two more singles from the forthcoming album — "Coconuts" and "Hit It from the Back"[38][39] — when she appeared at the 2021 MTV Europe Music Awards, becoming the first out trans artist to perform at the EMAs,[38][39] a show that MTV had deliberated hosted in Budapest, as "an opportunity to stand in solidarity"[40] in protest against the Hungarian anti-LGBT law;[39] likewise Petras's performance was intentionally raunchy and "sex positive"[38] and spoke out to say "It's going to be pretty powerful to be in Hungary and perform the show when these laws have just happened".[41] Petras also performed at the 2021 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, becoming the first out trans performer to do so.[38] She was featured in the 2021 holiday film The Bitch Who Stole Christmas.[42]

Artistry and public image

Kim Petras is a pop artist who also makes electronic dance music (EDM), dance-pop, electropop and bubblegum pop.[5][43][44] She credits the late 1990s and early 2000s pop scene,[45] as well as 1980s Italo disco,[21] as the primary basis for her sound. Petras' inspirations include Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Kylie Minogue, Madonna and the Spice Girls,[46][47][45] as well as Boy George, Debbie Harry, Queen, Freddie Mercury,[15] Judy Garland, Baby E, Lil Aaron, and Liz Y2K.[3] In an interview, Petras stated that "To me, pop music is an escape from my problems. I can put on my headphones and listen to it for three and a half minutes to forget about everything that's bothering me. It's always been that way for me. I feel like pop definitely saved my life in so many ways."[48]

On her song writing, Petras told Noisey that "there's something about making a song that everybody can sing and remember, and when you listen to it the first time you already know the words by the second chorus, like you've always known the song. I'm obsessed with that idea."[45] She commented on themes, stating "I write about boys, heartbreak, sex, having fun and the things that I go through."[3]

Following her debut, Petras was dubbed as "the new princess of pop" by Nasty Galaxy.[15] The title was further repeated by publications including Billboard,[49] ABC News,[50] V,[51] and Idolator.[52]

Following the release of her debut album Clarity (2019), many reviewers praised the record but criticized her involvement with Dr. Luke, who had been accused of sexually and verbally assaulting American singer-songwriter Kesha in 2015.[53][54][55][56] To avoid controversy, Petras has refrained from mentioning him in interviews, and has not given Dr. Luke a formal production credit on her album.[57]

Awards and nominations

Year Awards Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2020 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Music Artist Clarity Nominated [58]
Queerty Awards Anthem "Sweet Spot" Nominated [59]
Badass Nominated
2021 British LGBT Awards MTV – Top 10 Music Artists Nominated [60]
Queerty Awards Anthem "Malibu" Nominated [61]



Special guest


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  2. ^ a b Aswad, Jem (26 August 2021). "Pop Singer-Songwriter Kim Petras Signs With Republic Records (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
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  10. ^ Fotoshooting mit Kim im Unisex Bonn 1 September 2007 –
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  12. ^ Gender reassignment surgery blog post (26 November 2008)
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  29. ^ Kenneally, Cerys (13 June 2019). "Kim Petras announces new collection of tracks Clarity". The Line of Best Fit. Archived from the original on 16 June 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
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  32. ^ Roth, Madeline. "Kim Petras Gives A Big 'Fuck You' To Love On New Song 'Reminds Me'". MTV News. Archived from the original on 12 February 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  33. ^ "Kygo's 'Golden Hour': Stream & Listen". Billboard. 29 May 2020. Archived from the original on 3 June 2020. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
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  35. ^ Abel, Shifferaw (8 December 2020). "The Kid Laroi Drops "Reminds Me of You" With Posthumous Juice WRLD Vocals". Complex. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  36. ^ Bradley, Stern (9 January 2021). "How Studio Killers' "Jenny" Became a Queer TikTok Hit (Interview)". Muumuse.
  37. ^ Manzella, Sam (12 September 2021). "Kim Petras Serves Bubblegum-Pop Realness in VMAs Pre-Show Performance". MTV. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
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  39. ^ a b c Clark, Conor (15 November 2021). "Kim Petras makes history as first out trans artist to perform at MTV Europe Music Awards". Gay Times. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  40. ^ Szalai, Georg (19 October 2021). "MTV to Counter Hungary's Anti-Gay Law as EMAs in Budapest Will "Stand in Solidarity" With LGBTQ+ Community". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
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  55. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer (29 August 2018). "Dr. Luke's Queasy Two-Front Comeback Effort". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 29 February 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  56. ^ Pykeren, Sam Van. "Kim Petras' new track revitalizes a longstanding controversy". Archived from the original on 11 May 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  57. ^ Caramanica, Jon (10 July 2019). "Kim Petras Builds Tomorrow's Pop Out of Yesterday's Fragments". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 3 December 2019. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  58. ^ "GLAAD ANNOUNCES NOMINEES FOR THE 31ST ANNUAL GLAAD MEDIA AWARDS". GLAAD. 8 January 2020. Archived from the original on 14 January 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  59. ^ "The QUEERTIES 2020 / Badass Winners".
  60. ^ @BritLGBTAwards (20 April 2021). "She gives us ohrwurm (sorry Germany,..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  61. ^ "The QUEERTIES 2021 / Anthem Winners".

External links

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