This is “Add to Queue,” our attempt to sort through the cacophony of music floating in the algorithmic atmosphere by consulting the experts themselves. Our favorite musicians tell us about their favorite music—the sad, the happy, the beach-y, and the songs they listen to after a breakup. Up next is the pop queen and our in-house perfume reviewer Kim Petras, who is spending quarantine recording her next album at a make-shift studio in L.A. Despite the fact that we can’t go to the beach, Petras is taking us there with her new single “Malibu.” Here, the club princess talks her cover of Paris Hilton‘s “Stars Are Blind,” her favorite Cher track, and which Britney Spears song has a piece of her heart.
ERNEST MACIAS: How are you spending this time in quarantine?
KIM PETRAS: I’m with my best friend of six years. We’re quarantined together because I live in an apartment by myself, so we’re making music together. I have a home set-up, I’m trying to work on my next album.
MACIAS: It must be wild to be working on an album during this time. How’s that going?
PETRAS: This would be my debut album, my real debut album. So “Malibu” is the first single off of it and it’s really exciting because the song has been around for a while. I made the demo about three years ago. And it just kept coming back around and people kept asking, “Where’s Malibu?” When we finally finished it, I thought it was one of my best songs ever. I’m really trying to take my time and make a concept album that’s cohesive from start to finish. I think I have a lot of say. This last year was really crazy and changed my life. So, I have lots of new things to talk about.
PETRAS: Actually, it’s more about somebody you just can’t forget. The song is very much written about my imagination of Malibu before I visited. I’m from Germany, so I just saw it on TV, and it seems like this magical place. Then I got there, and it actually felt quite boring. It was just a bunch of rich people’s houses. It wasn’t as exciting as I thought.
MACIAS: How do you feel about finally releasing it?
PETRAS: I’m so excited, especially dropping it during this time. I was going to drop this for Coachella and that obviously got postponed. This song is going to make people feel like they just went to the beach, even though nobody can right now. That’s why I make pop music. I want people to forget about their problems for three and a half minutes. It’s probably the best song I’ve ever done.
MACIAS: You recently performed at The Stonewall Inn Gives Back event, where I saw you perform a cover of “Stars Are Blind” by Paris Hilton. Why did you decide to cover that song?
PETRAS: That song is an anthem of the LGBTQ community. It always makes me happy. When I listen to it, I forget about everything. I thought it was perfect for the cause: helping out nightlife workers in the LGBTQ community, working gay clubs and gay bars who don’t have a job right now. I have a lot of friends there. I’ve been a club kid for years, before anything. I very much owe my success to little gay bars in Brooklyn who started playing my songs early on because they loved them, and it all grew from there. I feel indebted to the gay community and especially to gay clubs and gay bars. They really broke me as an artist.
MACIAS: What’s the last song you listened to?
PETRAS: “Nasty Girl” by Destiny’s Child. It hasn’t necessarily been in my rotation, but this morning I just kind of remembered the melody.
MACIAS: What have you been listening to while you’ve been in quarantine?
PETRAS: I’ve been listening to a lot of Daft Punk. I’ve been also listening to Future Nostalgia, of course. It’s a great album by Dua Lipa. I’ve been listening to a lot of Love Angel Music Baby by Gwen Stefani, which is probably my favorite album of all time. It still sounds exciting and anything she touches is cool. That era was very influential on me and right now I can’t get enough of it.
MACIAS: What was your first concert?
PETRAS: Pink was one of my first big concerts. She did a lot of acrobatics and shit back in those days. She was flying all over the audience. When she played “Just Like a Pill” I got emotional because that’s one of my favorite songs by her. Once I was a little older, I saved up to go to a Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball tour. I cried, I danced, and that was super influential. I also saved up to see Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream tour. I wish I could have gone to a Gwen Stefani concert, but I was always too broke. I’d love to see Cher. That’s my dream.
MACIAS: What’s your favorite Cher song?
PETRAS: Probably “Strong Enough” or “Save Up All Your Tears.”
MACIAS: Who was the first pop singer to influence you?
PETRAS: That would be the Spice Girls, all of them. I was like five or six, and that was the only album I had. I would listen to it all day and all night. And also Kylie Minogue. She’s always been a huge influence on me and still is. She tweeted me the other day and congratulated me on my success, and that was really surreal. I can’t believe she knows who I am,
MACIAS: That is such a moment. Who would be your dream collaborator?
PETRAS: Definitely Daft Punk. I would die to work with Daft Punk. Also, Kylie. And I’ve been dying to collaborate with Pabllo Vittar. I love everything Pabllo stands for. We’ve been DMing about something.
MACIAS: What’s your favorite summer song?
PETRAS: Let me go into my summer quarantine playlist. I love “Touch My Body” by Mariah Carey. I started listening to a lot of The Emancipation of Mimi because that album turned 15 recently. So I went back and listened to all the songs and it’s such a strong album.
MACIAS: What songs would you listen to after a breakup?
PETRAS: When I was going through a breakup, I listened to Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak. “Heartless” is an amazing song. Also “Love Lockdown.” That whole record. I also listened to quite a bit of Post Malone when I was going through a breakup recently.
MACIAS: If your life was a TV show, what would be the theme song?
PETRAS: “Piece of Me” by Britney Spears. I fucking love that song. Also, Robyn wrote it, and in so many parts of it, you can still hear Robyn’s vocals. Love that.
Listen to KIM PETRA’s “Add To Queue” playlist below, and follow Interview on Spotify for more.
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