“DO IT FOR THE GAYS,” someone shouted from the crowd as Mikaela Straus most widely known by her stage moniker King Princess, took the stage at the El Rey Thursday night (July 26). The singer-producer responded with a cheeky, “Ya buncha queers,” as she playfully poked her tongue through uncontrollably smile. This was about to be a night Straus and the “buncha queers” were never going to forget.
King Princess’ trajectory has been nothing short of remarkable. Skyrocketing on both streaming and radio (unheard of nowadays, especially for a new artist let alone a new queer artist with “fuck” in the chorus) with her breakout hit “1950,” which by every stretch — is the perfect pop song. Unlike Lorde with “Royals,” KP’s unexpected success and acceptance in the mainstream feels like progressive statement; a step in the right direction.
As KP performed her succinct one-hour set list that included songs from her debut EP, Make My Bed, some deep cuts off SoundCloud, and also a track from her unreleased full length album, it was clear that the crowd relished in every note, every chord that was amplified on stage at the El Rey. It’s not only because they were seeing and hearing themselves in KP and her songs, not just because there was sincerity in her emotional execution, and not because she has one of the dreamiest and versatile voices that expand beyond genres. It was an accumulation of all those things, for sure, but there was something else. Like you were watching the beginnings of a long career formulate right in front of your eyes. And because of it was happening to someone like King Princess, it meant that — despite all the divisive bullshit going on in the world — we are moving in the right direction, at least in something. At least we have King Princess to soundtrack that small step forward and we’re ready to follow her into the future.