The lights come on, the crowd rumbles with excitement, and out steps a woman clad in shimmering white onto the stage. Her red guitar in one hand and her cup of juice in the other, she laughs seductively and flashes a cheeky, flirtatious smile while blowing kisses to the crowd.
I consider myself a pretty frequent concert goer, but King Princess’ show stood out in a way that I will always hold dear to my heart. Throughout the night, there were rainbow flashing lights, pride flags, drag queens, and most importantly, a space where I could comfortably and confidently be myself. All around me, I saw LGBTQ+ couples embracing each other and felt myself beaming with excitement. As I waved my five foot long pride flag around and danced until my feet were sore and blistering, I felt a blend of happiness, pride, and acceptance. Euphoria lingered throughout the venue that night that I had never experienced before.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Mikaela Straus, better known by her stage name, King Princess, grew up in and out of recording studios. Offered her first record deal at 11, Straus always had a flair for expressing herself through music. While she accepted her first deal at 17, it was not until March 2018 when musician, Harry Styles, mysteriously tweeted her lyrics to her debut single, “1950,” that King Princess became a moniker among the queer community. Since then, she has performed at multiple music festivals such as The Governor’s Ball, Lollapalooza, and Coachella. As her fame grew, she also collaborated with prominent artists such asMark Ronson and Fiona Apple, on other projects.
“I hate it when dudes try to chase me,” her raspy, mellow voice croons through her iconic opening line of “1950.” The entire song is about queer romance, as it narrates the love story of two women from decades ago when same-sex relationships were not considered the “norm.” The charming, old-time music video features an androgynous King Princess wearing a mustache and displaying affection for another woman. By paying tribute to a time in history when same-sex love was kept private behind closed doors, she is highlighting how far the Gay Rights Movement has come, and the work that still must be done to ensure equality among all people. The unique, liberating energy in her songs is taking the music industry by storm, specifically regarding their view of normalizing same-sex love in music.
In recent years, there has been a rise in LGBTQ+ representation, however, in the music industry, it is still very much lacking. As someone who likes girls, having a queer role model to look up to makes me feel visible and better connected to my community. While my sexuality isn’t entirely who I am or even close to it, it’s been something I have struggled with since I was a preteen and has shaped who I am today. When “1950” first came out (pun intended), I was just a closeted, confused, and insecure 17-year old who was far from ready to share who she was with the world. Hearing Mikaela’s lyrics gave me the validation that the feelings I was experiencing were normal and helped me learn to embrace my identity proudly.
King Princess, who identifies as a lesbian, invites her audiences on her own personal journey of growing up, loving women, and unapologetically being herself. But she’s not just another girl with a guitar, she’s an activist who is using her voice to connect with marginalized communities. Her songs delve deeper into LGBTQ+ topics, such as same-sex love, lust, sex, heartbreak, and all of the emotions that come with exploring your sexuality. Inspired by the success and overwhelmingly positive feedback of “1950,” King Princess released another hit single, “Talia,” in which she mourns the loss of past female lover and uses same-sex pronouns. The video features Straus holding a mannequin dressed like a woman on a bed and singing to her. Other standout songs include the sexy, provocative “Pussy is God” and upbeat “Hit the Back,” a song described by Straus as “an anthem for bottoms everywhere.” Both her music and shows create safe places for queer love and individuality, which speaks volumes to LGBTQ+ listeners around the world.
Her first full EP, Make My Bed, was released shortly after “Talia” in June 2018. Since this release, she has also dropped a full album, Cheap Queen, which features the 20-year old singer in drag makeup on the album cover. The perfect description of Straus’ music is a mix of fun, sexy, rebellious, and vulnerable. Artists like King Princess continue to pave the way for equality and are breaking barriers in the queer community and beyond. King Princess’ music can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, and most music streaming applications. Regardless of your identity, give Mikaela a listen, and you might be pleasantly surprised with what you hear!