The rising “1950” and “Talia” singer-songwriter’s debut EP Make My Bed is a polished and impressive preview of what’s to come from the talented 19-year old.
When Harry Styles tweeted out the lyrics to King Princess’ newly released single “1950” back in March, waves of incoming fans were delighted to stumble across the wonderfully polished debut song of the 19-year old. While the co-sign by the former One Direction band member as well as others such as Charli XCX and The xx’s Madley Croft, have provided a major boost in visibility, it was evident that King Princess was not simply going to come and pass, but that the dynamic multi-talented musician was just getting started.
“I love it when we play 1950 / So cold that your stare’s ‘bout to kill me / I’m surprised when you kiss me”
An ode to her girlfriend and an expression towards the LGBTQ community, “1950” is an analogy for the time period in which queer people were forced to hide their love in public settings. Written and co-produced by King Princess (real name Mikaela Straus) herself, she compares her experience to an unrequited love, with the feeling of somebody being cold with you in a public space very similar to the way people once couldn’t express their love in front of others.
“I wanted to pay tribute to that point in history,” she revealed to Genius. “I wanted people to be able to listen to this music, gay straight, whatever and take something out of it. I was definitely riding a wave of sadness and heartbreak and the result of that is a body of work that I think encapsulates that whole time period of my life.”
Drawing listeners in with her sincere, yet dynamic voice and head-to-toe refined production, the song caught on like wildfire. By June, the track had surpassed 90 million streams on Spotify alone, while going gold in Canada and Australia. The Brooklyn native went on to follow this up with “Talia,” bringing the same raw emotion and vulnerability wrapped in a well-crafted pop-friendly package as her first single.
Today, she released her debut EP Make My Bed, a five-track EP that adds three additional songs to the two previously released singles “1950” and “Talia.”
For King Princess, the long-awaited debut was years in the making. It was only a matter of time, those closest to her would tell you. As a child, she was somewhat of a musical prodigy, learning the piano and guitar, as well as writing her own songs from a young age. She turned down a major music deal when she was just 11 in order to concentrate on school.
She later went on to attend at the University of Southern California Thorton School of Music, where she studied under legendary pianist and singer Patrice Rushen before leaving USC to pursue music full-time after a year. She is inspired by an eclectic mix of artists like Perfume Genius, Nick Cave, Beyoncé and Dolly Parton.
KP went on to release a pair of songs “Send Pix” and “Sunburn” on SoundCloud months ago, which led her to become the very first signee to Mark Ronson’s label Zelig Recordings.
Make My Bed opens on its namesake intro track, a melodic tune set to the slow play of the piano. Like you’re watching the sunrise on an early summer morning, “Make My Bed” sets the tone of the project nicely and provides for a nice transition into “Talia,” the second single previously released back in April.
“Talia” brings the same raw emotion and vulnerability in lyrics and theme as “1950” – a musical setting King Princess thrives under as it brings out the refined texture of her vocals. The well-crafted song alongside her simple and sincere voice exudes a loneliness and longing that that reflect what she was going through at the time.
“Everyone has a different way of dealing with heartbreak,” she said of “Talia.” “This was mine, and I hope it helps somebody else in the same way.”
“Upper West Side” features a slower tempo in which the Brooklyn native flaunts her refined vocals as she serenades “I can’t get enough of you” over a beautifully executed production.
“Holy” may very well be the strongest track of the offering and at the very least is another showcase for King Princess’ destiny for musical stardom. While a pop-infused love song with brilliant production and unmatched vocals, the thing that allures you is KP herself – nonchalant and cool, yet at the same time honest, sensitive and genuine.
While the multi-instrumentalist musician continues to bring her musical excellence across the spectrum (she also co-produced the entire album), she delivers a certain vulnerability that is showcased in her lyrics. Whether she’s speaking on her experiences of love, fear or both, the personal and sincere lyrics she’s written strike you that much deeper because they’re delivered so exquisitely.
The result is a pop-friendly five-track EP with emotional melodies, relatable lyrics on teenage love and sweeping production that is guaranteed to hit the radio and rack up widespread acclaim. There’s no doubt Zelig Recordings hit it big with KP, as through musical talent and natural charisma, she’s able to turn her deepest vulnerabilities into infectious love songs worth singing along to.
After two singles, it was already hard not to imagine her becoming a superstar. While just five tracks, King Princess’ Make My Bed EP is an exciting glimpse of what’s to come from the 19-year old, who’s really only beginning scratch the surface.
The Make My Bed EP by King Princess is available to stream on Apple Music and Spotify now.
Words by Braeden Alexander.