KIM PETRAS - GETTING TO THE SWEET SPOT OF POP
Venue: Melkweg The Max - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Date: January 24th 2020
Covers: Killers - Human
Equality factor: queer royalty.
Dance factor: a party with Jesus!
On Friday, the 24th of January 2020, LA-based pop princess Kim Petras kicked off the European leg of her Clarity Tour at Melkweg Amsterdam, one of the city's hippest and coolest venues. While aspiring the look and sound of her childhood idols - think Kylie Minogue and Britney Spears - Kim is far more than just a bubble gum pop artist with iconic looks. In the industry, the 27 year-old German is known for impeccable ambition and work ethic; members of the LGBTQ+ community know Kim as a brave ally for queer rights.
"I'm the bitch with the sauce, apparently", sings Kim.
Within just two lines of Clarity, the concert's opening, Kim Petras sets the tone for a two hour-long extravaganza of confidence, attitude and glamour at Melkweg Amsterdam's main stage. The crowd - a colorful mix of glittery queers, young girls and the enthusiastic self-expressing - is in a stage of pure ecstasy, from the first "Woo-Ah!" to the last thump of the beat. Kim's audience consists of fans who have been following their queen and watching her rise to the Olympus of pop over years, and they know all the lines to every song. This is quite impressive, given that Kim only emerged from the background of LA's busy songwriting scene in 2017, with her debut single "I Don't Want It At All". The song, a sugar baby anthem paired with a rose-colored music video starring Paris Hilton, has over 25 million streams on Spotify today. With its neon sign-inspired cover art, Kim's first release marks the beginning of her first discographical era, characterized by the common thread of single releases with the same neon sign sketch of the singer's head as a cover.
The debut album Clarity, Kim's first official long-format release, was also the first to be graced with an actual photo of her face as its cover art. In an interview with TV-personality an comedian Jonathan Van Ness, she explained that this was done on purpose, to give emphasis to the music she released, rather than her face or background. This makes sense: the Cologne-born artist gained early fame in her home country Germany by being featured in various national teen magazines and television documentaries for being the world's youngest person to receive sexual reassignment surgery. As a 14 year-old, I remember reading about Kim in the popular BRAVO magazine. In her interview from nine years ago, Kim already talked about her dream of becoming a popstar - judging by the euphically screaming crowd at Melkweg, she has achieved her goal!
"I'm a big believer in manifestation", Kim explains to the audience.
She encourages everyone, to manifest with her, introducing the song "Blow It All". While her lyrics usually revolve around sex, glamour, confidence and heart break - like most pop songs - Kim's success is surely not purely based on wishful thinking and manifestation, but on hard and consistent work. Before arriving to LA and working with established producers, she had already over 200 songs up her sleeve. In 2019, she did not just release one full-length album, but two (Clarity and Turn Off The Light). Her hard work also manifests itself in an extremely steep improvement curve of live performances. While Kim's performances were already full of attitude, but a bit clumsy and awkward throughout the fall months of 2019, the European leg of the Clarity tour showed a polished artist, along the lines of master performers like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.
Five outfit changes, glistening plateau over-knee boots in several matching shades and a variety of voluminous hairstyles make Kim Petras a captivating appearance all by herself.
Her looks, provocative twirls, kicks and turns are enhanced by a revolving platform, on which she performs a nearly pole dance-esque choreography (without the pole), all while singing her darker, more daunting tunes, such as "Death By Sex". The performance is visually framed by an array of lighting boxes, occasionally color-coordinating with her latex body suit, and blinking with the letters "SEX", or upside-down crucifixes - whatever suits best at the time. Besides her sound engineer, producer and friend Aaron Joseph, Kim Petra takes the stage all by herself. She is not a professional dancer, but makes up for it with a charming smile and just the right amount of cockiness. Vocally, the "Lock It"-singer does not disappoint either: the only acoustic performance of the concert, a cover of the Killers' song "Human", sounds exactly like the version she recorded at the Spotify studios in late 2018. Besides that, the show itself is far from perfect: a rebellious ear piece, an ill-fitting dress that refuses to zip up, failing lights, and ripping bodysuit straps make Kim hesitate or appear behind the stage every now and then. However, what could ignite a bratty breakdown in many other stars just makes Kim Petras smile apologetically, shrug and tell a quick anecdote to the audience. They don't care. They know - and Kim knows - for a real professional, the show must go on. And so she does, even more charming in her imperfection.
"I's like, almost necessary to have girls in [songwriting] sessions. I feel like girls just have an amazing perspective. We write great songs", Kim expresses her love for female music professionals.
Next to delivering a fabulously fun show, we also love Kim Petras for being a vocal ambassador for the LGBT+ community, and for women in the music industry. As a proud trans woman, she fights for queer rights, all the while refusing to be reduced to her gender identity or sexuality. As a female songwriter and performer, she fights for more female representation in the music industry, especially behind the scenes. Watch her talk women in music with Grammy-winning rapper, singer and overall queen Lizzo in the video below.
To summarize: self-proclaimed German pop schnitzel Kim Petras is a force to be reckoned with. Her impeccable work ethic, confidence and relentlessness have brought her incredibly far - and we cannot wait to continue to watch her rise. We recommend checking out one of her shows for a night of fun, empowerment and fabulousness! Find the remaining tour dates below.
Spotify: Kim Petras
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