Kim Petras Biography
Kim Petras (born 27 August 1992) is a German singer and songwriter currently based in Los Angeles. Since 2016, Petras has been releasing music as an independent artist under her own imprint, BunHead Records.
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. 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 album, Clarity, on 28 June 2019. The record was preceded with a nine-week-long promotional campaign, during which Petras released one single per week with an accompanying visual video. Clarity 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.
Early lifeKim Petras was born in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. While she was assigned male at birth, her parents said that from the age of two, Petras knew she was a girl. After it became clear it was "not just a phase", her parents sought professional help and found the head of the psychiatric unit at Frankfurt Hospital, Dr. Bernd Meyenburg.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, in a push to get permission for early gender confirmation 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". This assertion is inaccurate, as gender dysphoria is often diagnosed in childhood and (social) transition by younger children is not uncommon. However, Petras may have been one of the youngest people at that time to undergo transgender hormone therapy.
In September 2007, she was a model for a German chain of hair salons. Petras announced in November 2008 that she had completed her gender confirmation surgery at 16 years old. The Daily Telegraph claimed Petras was the youngest person in the world to have had that surgery at the time. About her surgery, Petras 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".
2008–2014: Career beginnings
Between 2008 and 2009, Petras released a string of singles under Joyce Records: "Fade Away" (2008), "Last Forever" (2009), "Die for You" (2009), and "Boomerang" (2009). In 2009, Petras was featured on "Taste" by Sobertruth featuring Kim Petras and in 2011 she 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 and Aaron Joseph on a music career, releasing demos on her SoundCloud page, including one titled "STFU". For her contributions to social media, Petras was ranked at number 19 on Billboard's Artist Chart, listing developing artists, in July 2013. In 2015, Petras appeared on "You" by Isaac Phase for his album, Phase 00001.
2017–2019: Breakthrough with Era 1
In August 2017, Petras released her debut single "I Don't Want It at All", The song went on to reach the Spotify Global Viral chart. The accompanying music video for the song premiered in October on Vevo, and features a cameo appearance by Paris Hilton. In the same month, Petras 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." During the end of 2017, Petras was dubbed "most likely to dominate the pop charts" by Paper magazine, 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, That same month, she appeared in the January issue of Galore. Petras released the breakup-inspired "Heart to Break" in February, to commemorate Valentine's Day. 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." On the 21st of that same month, Petras released her online singles-bundle, Spotify Singles, exclusively through the service under BunHead Records, Petras' own label. It consisted of live renditions of "Hills" and The Killers' "Human", as performed at their NYC Studio.
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. Afterwards, Petras announced plans to release a single a month as a lead up to her debut album. She was featured on Cheat Codes' song "Feeling of Falling" in November 2018. Petras has been credited with composing the song "Young & Wild" on Twice's 6th EP, Yes or Yes.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. 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 on multiple occasions.
2019–2020: Clarity and Turn Off the LightPetras 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. In June, Petras embarked on the 24-stop Broken Tour across North America and Europe. 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. Petras made a series of appearances on podcasts and web series to promote the record, including an interview on the Zach Sang Show.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. 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, which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On 7 May, Petras released the single "Malibu" as the first single off of her third studio album. She has described the song as "escapist pop" and commented that "This is really a new start, the beginning of a new chapter and a new album cycle," she says. "I don't feel heartbroken anymore. I don't feel caught up in that. I just want to make music that makes me want to dance and makes me forget about all the stupid stuff right now." She featured on the song "Broken Glass" by Kygo, from his album Golden Hour, released 29 May.
ArtistryKim Petras is a pop artist who also makes electronic dance music (EDM), dance-pop and electropop. She credits the late-1990s/early-2000s pop scene and 1980s Italo disco as the primary basis for her sound. Petras' inspirations include Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Kylie Minogue, Madonna and Spice Girls, as well as Boy George, Debbie Harry, Queen, Freddie Mercury, Judy Garland, Baby E, Lil Aaron, and Liz Y2K. 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."On her songwriting, 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." She commented on themes, stating "I write about boys, heartbreak, sex, having fun and the things that I go through."
Public imageFollowing her debut, Petras was dubbed as "the new princess of pop" by Nasty Galaxy. This title was further repeated by publications including Billboard, ABC News, V, and Idolator.
Following the release of her debut album "Clarity" in 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. To avoid controversy, Petras has refrained from mentioning Luke in interviews, and has not given Dr. Luke a formal production credit on her album.
Awards and nominations
Turn Off the Light (2019)
ToursHeadliningThe Broken Tour (2019)
The Clarity Tour (2019–20)SupportingBloom Tour (Troye Sivan) (2018)
The Romance Tour (Camila Cabello) (2020)GuestPhoenix World Tour (Rita Ora) (2019)
Charli Live Tour (Charli XCX) (2019); 3 dates