Kim Petras on How the Queer Community Has Embraced and Championed Her: “Grateful”
Image Source: Getty / Craig Barritt
It’s been five years since Kim Petras asked for all of our attention in her debut single “I Don’t Want It All.” With a Grammy to her name, a charting new collab with Nicki Minaj, and her first major-label album on the horizon, it’s safe to say the world is tuned in to the German pop star.
“I still go into sessions thinking I suck and I won’t come up with anything,” Petras admits while chatting with POPSUGAR on June 1 at the launch event for the third-generation of the Motorola razr+ in Brooklyn. “I feel like that’s what keeps me going. I wanna make music forever. I feel like it’s my calling.”
Petras’s early success came through, largely, the queer community. It was gay clubs, she says, that helped her learn “about music, about friendship, about love, about anything from my community.” Gay clubs are where she also had the first feeling of, “This is where I belong.” Says Petras, “I just feel grateful that they’ve always accepted me and always been on my side and rooting for me.”
The singer, who is trans, says when she first started making music, it was hard for people to see her as a performer beyond this “very niche thing.” Recounts Petras, “In meetings, people would say like, ‘Who’s gonna listen to this? This is on the gay club music.’ And there really wasn’t anyone proving that a lot of people will come out to shows or that there’s a fanbase for this.”
It’s not been a quick rise to the top, she acknowledges, noting she’s been writing and dropping songs independently for 10-plus years. “I hope it’s easier for future generations, but there’s a long way to go and I’m gonna keep trying to push however far I can,” Petras says.
“I hope that they can listen to the music and be like, ‘I can be whatever I wanna be. I’m not purely defined by being trans. That’s not what makes me special.’ “
She hopes her music – every iteration of it – speaks to young trans people “as it speaks to me.” But beyond what she’s creating, Petras wants her fans to see her as proof that there is a path through the hate. “It’s always been hard for trans people,” Petras, the first trans woman to win a best pop duo Grammy, acknowledges amid a climate of intolerance against the trans community in the US. “And it’s going to be okay. You’re gonna come out of it very strong and very different and very special and don’t let it get you down. I hope that they can listen to the music and be like, ‘I can be whatever I wanna be. I’m not purely defined by being trans. That’s not what makes me special.'”
“Find your passion, work really hard on that,” she encourages. “Find what makes you special. And that’s probably not your gender, probably not your sexuality, not any of that.”
It’s a special treat to celebrate everything that does make the LGBTQ+ community exceptional during Pride month, which Petras tells POPSUGAR she “loves.” The annual festivities remind Petras “of little me and just my aspirations to stay true to myself and be true to myself and hoping I can grow up and be this person that I saw that I was inside. And so I just honor little me at Pride. I believe in everybody being equal, everybody being beautiful the way they are. The goal of life is being as authentic as possible and not caring what other people think about it.”
Image Source: Getty / Craig Barritt
Petras’s steadfast sense of self and fun is reflected in this partnership with Motorola. Like the brand’s new razr+ (available to pre-order on June 16), she’s flipped the script on her career again and again. “I remember the pink razr so distinctly and wanting it and needing it in high school and that feeling when you flip it at the end of the call is just unmatched. I’ve missed that feeling so much. I’m so happy that it’s back in pink, the color that it should be – it’s just such an iconic launch,” Petras says, citing the new cell’s 3.6″ external display screen as her favorite feature of the re-launched pink design.
And now, Petras is ready for the next phase of her career with “Feed the Beast,” due out on June 23. “I’m proud of the message of it,” she teases, “which is kind of just to go for it and do what you’re most scared of.”