LOS ANGELES (AP) – For Kim Petrus, 2022 was a big year: The German singer-songwriter received her first Grammy nomination, made her acting debut with the HBO series “Los Espukis” and released a single with acclaimed pop music producer Max Martin.
Inspired by the impish spirit of her Grammy-nominated duet, “Unholy,” which she and Sam Smith are set to perform at this weekend’s awards show, Petrus decided to dive deeper into the waters of religious language and themes when she worked with Martin to write “If Jesus Would have been a rock star.”
“I never had the opportunity to learn about spirituality or to be accepted by God. So, to me it is like mythology. To me, it’s like a fairy tale or something,” he said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
Petrus, who is transgender, understands his subversive involvement with religion as a way to process trauma.
“I had to be like, ‘I’m going to hell,’ from a young age. It was my experience growing up,” she said. “If I had the chance to be part of a cult, I might have. And I might live the way my concert protesters want me to live.”
Although he’s been making music for over a decade, Petrus’ rise to fame didn’t happen overnight. And while he’s grateful for his success, he admits that this level of celebrity makes him and his music more vulnerable to criticism.
“Now it’s more serious. It’s more like, wow, people are really watching and there are really, really many eyes that might not be my fans, that might not be so kind to me,” she said. “But I think, since I’m building steadily, I’m able to handle it.”
Before his career took off, Petrus released his music as an independent artist under his own label. He credits recording artists such as Robyn and Charli XCX, who independently released music for the 90s Japanese manga series “Sailor Moon,” for inspiring him to create Bunhead Records.
In addition to celebrating many career milestones in 2022, Petrus also marked a personal one: turning 30 years old. But the pop star said her philosophy on age is in line with the late music legend Prince, who famously didn’t celebrate birthdays.
“Age doesn’t matter to me,” she said. “I will never stop clubbing completely and love and go to gay clubs. I’m just that person.”
In keeping with who she is, her new single, “brrr,” which is expected to be on her debut full-length album, is filled with lusty lyrics and heavy electronics. But Petrus hopes to do more with his music than provide a catchy beat for clubbers to dance to.
“It’s a scary time for transgender kids and people and I think there’s a lot that really needs to be figured out,” she said. “I’m scared for the trans community and I just hope I can be the person that makes them forget about those issues and make them have a little fun.”
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