With just two songs out so far, King Princess’ resumé is already pretty damn impressive. While ‘1950’ boasts a Harry Styles co-sign (she’s still waiting to meet him, but is sure they’d vibe) and millions of streams, it’s the first release on Mark Ronson’s label and Mikaela Strauss – her real name, in case you’re wondering - is Zelig Recordings’ first signee. Calling from the city she now calls home, the singer, songwriter and producer is starting her Friday right, just hanging out, drinking coffee. Most importantly though she’s ready - for what exactly we’re not sure - but it doesn’t take long for the conversation to turn towards her vision for a future where queer representation is commonplace and she can dip into her catalogue-style discography whenever, wherever.
Growing up in New York, Mikaela’s parents were into music and her dad owned a studio so she soon found herself surrounded with all the means to experiment and explore a world of sound. Educated on the classics through her family’s love of rock, there was a time when she wanted to be Jack White and just shred it up, but things soon changed. “I don’t think genre is super relevant,” she explains, not wanting to be constrained to labels, adding “pop music is in this weird middle ground where we don’t know what it is, but we know what it sounds like.”
Her forthcoming “eclectic” debut EP sees the King Princess story further unfold; grounded in a pop sound there are still references back to her days as a “punk ass kid”, but moreover it’s a collection of tracks for the queer community. The King Princess moniker hints at both the fluidity she wants to express by removing genre from the equation as well as gender. “I have a lot of walking contradictions as a person,” she admits, “as a name, it’s genderless and I often feel that way as well. There’s been such a long period of time without adequate representation and that’s not the fault of artists, it’s the fault of the system and the fact is was so difficult to come out. It’s time for actual queer people to assume those roles and become icons.”
"It’s time for actual queer people to assume those roles and become icons."
And while there was no coming out story for her - it was more like “this is what’s happening, this is the ship I’m on” she laughs - she knows that isn't always the case. “It’s not something I think of as a negative ever, which is incredible, I’m very very happy that’s the case, because I don’t feel that a lot of people get that opportunity to love themselves unconditionally for their sexuality, especially at a young age, because I’m still a young person.”
The future is coming up fast and Mikaela already knows she’s in it for life. While she wants to release music forever, improving release on release with the goal of having hours of material she can sift through, right now she confirms that the heat of the political climate in the US is great “besides the fact it’s evil”, because it’s fuelling art. “I think there’s a lot of amazing queer people in this country who are waiting for an opportunity to show themselves and express themselves through their art, that goes for every minority group in this country, we’re all connected by this common cause.”
King Princess' debut EP 'Made My Bed' is out now.
As featured in the June 2018 issue of DIY, out now.