At 19, Mikaela Straus (aka King Princess) is making a name for herself as a queer artist in the pop scene
I first came across King Princess from an Instagram story by British producer Mark Ronson. Ronson, her mentor/producer/daddy... (Instagram story reference), signed Straus to his label Zelig Records and released her debut single as the companies first single. In an interview with Harpers Bazaar, Straus talks about her connection with Ronson, "He’s amazing. He's a pair of ears. He's an opinion. He's a supporter. He's a big fan too and I think that's really crazy because I'm a big fan of his, so we're both in it together. It's cool when we get to do sh*t together. It's like father-daughter. He said, “Put ‘1950’ out first, it's you. And I said, "Yes ma'am".
Following her closely for a few months now, it's evident the 19 year old is set for big things but taking it at her own pace. Dubbed by some as a new Lorde, Straus seems to do things how she wants and when she wants. Often posting stories just hanging out with friends (Romy from The XX amongst them) and watching Ru Paul's Drag Race (a girl after my own heart), she seems pretty grounded doing what you'd expect of a normal 19 year old. Although she's not what you'd necessarily call normal - growing up in Manhattan, attending a private school and spending her spare time at her recording engineering dad's work space. In interviews with Harper's Bazaar and ID Magazine she talks about bands being in and out of the home all the time, sleeping on couches and even Missy Elliot filmed a video outside her house once.
Strauss has been writing and playing music since she was young and started producing her own music soon after heading off to LA. She did a year in the pop program at the University of Southern California before quitting to focus on her own music full time. Earlier this year she released "1950", her debut single, inspired by one of her favorite books, 1952’s The Price Of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (adapted into the film Carol). The song is all about an unrequited queer love, reflecting on a time when it wasn't acceptable to be queer in public. She then released “Talia,” and a five-song EP, Make My Bed, in June where she further explores sexuality, gender, being queer and empowerment. In talking to Harper's about her journey to LA, she states "I really was a lonely gay kid, and I wanted to have more of a community than I did in New York. I really found that in LA, but I wanted to immerse myself as much as possible in things that really brought me joy".
As for a record, she has spoken about one in the works but its not finished just yet "It's also important that in the record, I move the focus a little bit away from me to more about the things that I think about, communities like drag, gender expression, and friendship—concepts that go beyond me" (Harper's Bazaar). In an interview with ID magazine she also talks about the role of gender pronouns in her work, “I reached a point in my life where I was like, well, am I gonna gender my songs? ... And I decided, yeah, I’m gonna put fucking female pronouns in my songs. It doesn’t make any sense for me to hide that part of myself. I needed to do it to help love myself and get through shit. I needed to be true to it and be like, 'Yeah, this song’s about a lady".
We can't wait to see what she's going to do next and recommend keeping a close eye on this incredible artist.