Photo courtesy of The Randy Report | Transgender pop diva Kim Petras is revolutionizing the pop music industry with her songs like “I Don’t Want It At All” while being an ally voice.
Toward the end of 2017, Spotify released a “Songs You Might’ve Missed” playlist to celebrate the incoming new year. Little did I know that I was about to unearth a diamond in the rough as I scrolled through the playlist. The artist I discovered? Pop diva Kim Petras.
Saying that Kim Petras revolutionized my predominantly-diva-pop playlist is truly an understatement. Her debut single and the song that introduced me to her talent was “I Don’t Want It At All,” a song described as a “sugar baby anthem” by critics and Petras herself. Drawing heavily from 80s synth pop, with pounding gated reverb drums and warm, staccato synths in the vein of Madonna or Gloria Estefan, the song features Petras effortlessly switching between low, seductive verses and high, belting choruses. “I Don’t Want It At All” is a song unlike any other. The carefree, indulgent lyrics – “give me all of your attention, / give me summer in the Hamptons” – tap into our desire to be spoiled to infinity and draw to mind the image of endless outlet malls and piles of credit cards. If you aren’t dancing by the third chorus, you’re not listening to the song correctly.
Enchanted by Petras’ unique sound and powerful vocals, I sought out more of her work. The next bop I discovered was “Hillside Boys.” The song opens with the sound of bubbly champagne pouring and then launches into a throbbing bass, violin-like synths and an eighth note drumbeat as Petras belts about late summer afternoons spent with irresistible Los Angeles boys. I envision this song being sung at a Coachella-esque summer festival for a crowd of picnicking California locals and faraway-travelling tourists. Few songs capture the fun of summertime like “Hillside Boys.”
At this point, Kim Petras became one of my favorite artists. When I discovered her most recent single, I jumped with joy. “Heart to Break” is a classic head-over-heels love song that maintains Petras’ signature 80s vibe. Petras shows off even more impressive belting as she declares her unstoppable infatuation. The song praises loving hard and fast with no regard for the consequences, exemplified in the song’s pounding chorus that could bring any hardened listener to their feet. As she adlibs the final chorus, I can’t help but feel like I’m riding passenger-side in a beat-up convertible with the love of my life as the car flies down an empty highway, a la Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” The transition between the vocal glitch/electronic vocal bridge into the final chorus is so exciting that I get goosebumps every time I listen to it.
On top of a bottomless well of vocal talent, Petras is also one of the few transgender music artists in the business today. She made headlines in 2013 for discussing her transition surgery, years before she began debuting her amazing singles. The LGBTQ+ community, particularly the gay community, has been overwhelmingly receptive of Petras’ work. One look at the comment sections on her YouTube channel reveals dozens of snatched wigs.
If you’re watching any artist in 2018, it should absolutely be Kim Petras. Her talent is endless and consistent. Her sound is a unique blend of modern diva pop and 80s synth pop. Her presence as a talented transgender musician is a powerful industry statement. If she hasn’t won at least four music awards by the end of August, I’ll personally stage a protest on her behalf. I have high hopes for this up-and-coming singer, and I know her talent and charm will rapidly lift her to icon status.
By: Trever McKenzie ~Online Editor~