Pop singer and songwriter Kim Petras is on the roster to perform at this year’s LA Pride Festival during LA Pride weekend, on Saturday, June 9 at the Park Stage. WEHO TIMES caught up with the Heart to Break singer while she was getting ready to perform during this past White party weekend. Petras was candid about music, her influences, her early years performing in WEHO, her love of the trans community, and what we can expect from her upcoming performance at LA Pride.
How do you feel right now?
I feel great. Yeah! I’ve been doing a bunch of performances. I’m doing a radio tour, so it’s been crazy. My new music video came out and it’s just been a bit stressful.
I understand you’re from Germany, but now live in Los Angeles?
Yes. I’ve been living in L.A. for about five-six years.
So you know your way around and feel like you’ve paid your dues in L.A. after five-six years?
Oh yes. I feel like L.A. is home.
What are your thoughts on West Hollywood?
Well it’s kind of the place where I learned how to perform. All these years I’ve been performing at little clubs. It’s really cool, because I used to perform, and nobody would show up. I’d get like five friends or something like that, and now I can fill out The Abbey. Last time I did it, Charli XCX came through and we performed together. Yeah, I just love performing in WeHo. All my friends go there. I want to be the princess of WeHo. I don’t ever want to stop performing there. I think it’s so cool to just pop up there very spontaneously and perform.
Who do you look up for inspiration in pop music?
There are so many people. I love early Madonna so much. Madonna is my all time favorite. Into the Groove Madonna is my favorite Madonna.
And you weren’t even born yet!
I know, but still, I find her so cool. I love her videos. There so much out there that I found on Youtube from her early era that we can all get inspired by. I’ve been studying artists. Obviously when Gaga first came out I was a fan. I love Cindy Lauper. I love Freddy Mercury. I think Freddy Mercury is one of the greatest performers ever. I’m such a fan of pop people. I’m not ashamed to do like pop bangers.
We already know you want to be queen of West Hollywood, but how far do you want your music career to go?
Princess. Princess! There are already too many queens in West Hollywood (laughs). Dang… I want to sellout stadiums some day. That’s definitely the goal, to be a huge artist; to always keep growing and get better with every song I drop; to become a better songwriter. I really got into this as a songwriter. That’s just how it started when I was 12 or 13. I wanted to write pop songs. I saw a documentary about Carol King and I got really obsessed with the formula of pop music. Ever since then, I’ve been working on my own sound. Three-four years ago after moving to L.A. and writing a bunch for other people, and doing all genres, I found all this stuff I like, and put it together, and came up with my own sound.
When did you feel a shift in your career where your dream of being a successful pop singer felt real?
Half a year ago my first single came out, and everything has been happening super fast. We put it out on Spotify and we were really not expecting to get such a big streaming following. I think it was like 27 million streams or something like that, which is really good for a new artist. They called us and asked if I wanted to be the RISE Artist for Spotify, which is an artist program where they do content on their site. They put up billboards like on Sunset Boulevard and Madison Square Gardens. Spotify has been a big supporter. Things went immediately crazy. We put out the first song and within a week it went to number one on the viral spot on Spotify. It started out really, really great.
How does the transgender community respond to you being successful trans pop singer whose star is clearly on the rise?
They are so supportive and they react amazingly. I really care about the transgender community and I really feel a part of it. I did my first documentary on being transgender when I was 12. Ever since then, people have been writing me to tell me I inspire them. I was so lucky to have really supportive parents, which is really rare. If you don’t have supportive parents and you have to live in the gender you don’t identify with, that’s when all the suicides happen. The suicide rate is extremely high. I hope I inspire them because I feel constantly inspired by the transgender community. It is brave to come out. Especially those who are doing it at like 40 and later on in life. That really inspires me.
Does you being trans come up often… like it’s coming up now?
I love to talk about it, but at the same time I’m a songwriter. I want people to see the work I put into this. The last six years I’ve been writing songs every single day. I’ve just been going crazy working on my craft and on my talent and I don’t want it to take away from the songs. But I love the transgender community.
What should people expect from your upcoming performances at events like LA Pride this summer?
Yeah. I’m going to do the bops. I love to perform the bops. I always love to have fun. My goal is to always make people forget their problems. I’m going to give it my best and hope people dig it.
For everything Kim Petras, visit her official website at kimpetras.com