King Princess Is Rock's Newest Star

King Princess Is Rock's Newest Star

The anointed voice of the moment made a stellar debut as the first artist signed to Mark Ronson's label.

The anointed voice of the moment made a stellar debut as the first artist signed to Mark Ronson's label.

Photography: Justin Campbell

Styling: Yana Kamps

Text: Sarah Gooding

This interview appears in the pages of V114 on newsstands now! Order your copy of the issue today at shop.vmagazine.com

Mikaela Straus hopes to usher in a new era of authenticity in queer culture. In her debut single “1950” Straus, better known as King Princess, showcases her own authentically queer identity while harking back to a time when the LGBTQ+ community was forced to live in secrecy. And while times may have changed, the Brooklynite says that growing up, she saw gayness performed in culture more often than actual gay people representing them- selves. “It’s time for gay people to be in the industry and talking about their stories,” she says.

In the video for “1950,” Straus dons a drawn-on moustache while singing lines like, “I hate it when dudes try to chase me / but I love it when you try to save me.” With its playful takedown of gender norms, the song and video earned millions of plays, celebrity fans from Harry Styles to Kourtney Kardashian, and rapturous praise from the LGBTQ+ community within weeks of its release. “I never would have anticipated a response like this to a first single,” says Straus on a call from her current home in Los Angeles. “You tell yourself, This song is just the starting point, and it’s only gonna get better from here.”

While it may look like insta-fame to an outsider, Straus’s success has been a long time coming. At age 11, she was offered a record contract but turned it down—and it’s a good thing she did. Years later, power producer Mark Ronson would and those demos and ask Straus to dinner to discuss them. “I was like, Fuck yeah, I’ll go for dinner with Mark Ronson!” she laughs. “We got to know each other over the next few months.” Eventually Ronson signed Straus—making her the first artist to sign to Ronson’s label Zelig Records, which released King Princess’s debut EP, Make My Bed, in June.

It was Ronson who encouraged Straus to release “1950” as her first single despite Straus’s initial reservations. “It’s a mid-tempo, gay song! There’s real guitar in it! None of these elements are what makes a song a hit these days,” she laughs. With its subtly subversive country guitar, smoky vocals, and ‘60s-style production, “1950” is right at home in Ronson’s catalog of hits.

Straus now regularly fields messages from other young queer people seeking advice or thanking her for giving them a voice. “It’s really wonderful,” she says. “As a person in the LGBT community, I feel like I’ve begun to do my job.” As a newly crowned leader of queer youth, Straus says King Princess is here for the resistance. “It feels really good to put out some gay shit and be like, Fuck you! to the regime.”

KING PRINCESS WEARS DRESS ARMANI, EARRINGS HER OWN, NECKLACE ZANA BAYNE

Credits: MAKEUP HOLLY SILIUS (LOWE & CO) USING CHANEL PALETTE ESSENTIELLE, HAIR TRACI BARRETT (ART DEPARTMENT), PHOTO ASSISTANT BENJAMIN ASKINAS, STYLIST ASSISTANT AMIRA AOUDJ, LOCATION DUST STUDIOS

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