Meet Kim Petras: The trans pop star making history at number one on the US and UK charts
Play her verse on Unholy at my funeral
Yesterday, Kim Petras and Sam Smith made history as they hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with their single Unholy. It was a huge achievement for both artists – Unholy marks the first number one single in the US and the UK by a trans woman and a non binary artist in history (Unholy just celebrated its fourth week at number one in Britain). We’ve all known Sam Smith for years, but if you haven’t got your ear to the ground in the pop scene Kim Petras might have passed you by. Here’s everything you ever needed to know about who Kim Petras is and what she’s done in her career so far!
Kim Petras is 30 years old and from Germany
You’d be mistaken for not knowing that Kim Petras is actually German since she moved to LA when she was 19 to pursue her dream of being a pop star, and got the LA accent with it. Before her pop career, Kim Petras hit headlines globally – including being interviewed by Ph*llip Sch*field on This Morning in 2009 – for reportedly being the youngest person ever to undergo sex reassignment surgery.
She already had dreams of being a pop star back then, and has been working on her goal ever since. On transitioning at a young age, Kim Petras said “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.” Her parents have always fully supported her – as all parents should with their child’s gender journey.
In 2017, everything changed
I, along with most other gays with good music taste and any sense, discovered Kim Petras via Charli XCX. Kim was announced as a feature on Charli’s second 2017 mixtape, Pop 2, and the two have a solid friendship and working collaborative relationship to this day. Kim featured on Unlock It – a song that would go viral in 2021 on TikTok.
By the time Unlock It came out, Kim had already started drip feeding songs from her pop-perfection Era 1 – tracks that would make Katy Perry WISH she’d penned.
She’s besties with Paris Hilton
You know you’re a future pop icon when you get a guest star spot from Paris Hilton in your first ever music video. Since featuring in the I Don’t Want It At All video, Kim and Paris have remained great mates. Paris also popped up in the lockdown-filmed and celeb-loaded video for Malibu in 2020 – and the two have a collaborative song together that was intended for Kim’s recently scrapped major label debut album Problematique.
She’s got a full Halloween album and it’s one of the best pop records of the 2020s
Kim Petras’ first body of work is an album called Turn Off The Light, and if you’ve never heard it before and Unholy has captured your interest about who she is, get it on NOW. Kim Petras is for Halloween what Mariah Carey is for Christmas – every song is immaculately produced and the vocals and terror are off the charts. Also, she sings in her native German on one track!
She went viral on TikTok last year with Coconuts
Remember Coconuts? The fun little bop did the rounds on TikTok at the end of last year and was getting so big on TikTok that the label pulled the release date forward. Absolutely slaps.
This year, she released Slut Pop and collaborated with Christina Aguilera at Pride
Kim Petras dropped the EP Slut Pop earlier this year, which did exactly as it said on the tin to be honest. And then at Pride, she joined Christina Aguilera and the two smashed out some duets from it. Very legendary, very iconic.
She’s currently in major label hell
Until Kim Petras signed with Republic, she was an artist who was capable of releasing music as and when she wanted – this is one of the reasons she was so prolific with drops. Her major label debut has caused hiccups in the road, with Petras speaking out vocally against the label who have now scrapped her album Problematique that homed the first singles Future Starts Now and Coconuts as they tried to get her a hit.
The album leaked in full, and Kim told her fans to listen to it – a move that highlights how bad things must be and one the label is surely seething over, saying on Twitter “It’s ok if u wanna listen to the leaks … I’m not getting to put out any music anyways I’m fucked.” I’ve listened to the album in full, and Republic Records you have ROBBED us all.
The tides are changing for Kim, though – thanks to the runaway history making success of Unholy with Sam Smith. Getting the number one in the UK and the US is insane, and proves to her record label that she’s a fucking star. You can pre-save her next single Jesus is a Rockstar here.
Featured image credit: @kimpetras