Ashleigh Brink // Columnist
Who better to talk about in this next instalment of Queer and Now than King Princess? The shining beacon of gayness in our modern age of Twitter shitposting and Internet stardom. She is truly the icon the LGBTQ+ community deserves.
I first heard King Princess last December on a Spotify playlist a girl made for me, which is quite fitting, considering the subject matter of most of her music. I was immediately hooked. On the playlist, I was introduced to her first single, 1950. I’m calling it now—it is a timeless pop classic. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t even like pop music. Simply put, it is a gay anthem. It captures lightning in a bottle in the way that all pop songs try to, but few ever do. King Princess initially skyrocketed to acclaim in March of 2018 after its release; the hype only amplifying after Harry Styles shared a lyric from it with his 33+ million Twitter followers.
She followed this with the release of her second single, Talia. By mid 2018, she released her debut EP, Make My Bed which by that point came highly anticipated. The audience surrounding the artist has been growing ever since.
Her songwriting prowess is no coincidence either. She grew up around her father’s recording studio in Brooklyn, and in fact, was even offered a record contract at the age of 11. Thankfully for the rest of us, she turned it down, and continued to grow into the amazing queer artist she is today.
With songs like “Pussy is God” and “Holy,” King Princess unabashedly proclaims her love for women. Her queerness is unmistakable. She is one of the few writing queer music for queer women, and that is powerful. Bringing representation to the forefront, she is a force for the LGBTQ+ community. That being said, however, King Princess is perhaps at her best in songs that are not quite as explicit as the aforementioned. Songs like “Talia” and “1950” are unmistakably queer, but their stripped back delivery brings the core focus back to the emotions.
“1950” is the quintessential pop song. It’s fairly simple, she’s not flexing musical complexity with technical progressions, but it captures something. Something raw and unique and powerful in a way that many songs, regardless of genre, try and fail to do. Its lyrical complexity and vulnerability is remarkable, with the song paying homage to Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel, The Price of Salt. Like the work it was inspired by, “1950” makes a strong case for itself to become a new classic.
“Talia,” on the other hand, is a bit more subtle. It is not a queer anthem in the way that “1950” is. Instead, it’s a song of longing for a lost love. Obviously, that theme is timeless and universal in and of itself—we always have and always will deal with the pain of relationships and breakups. But to hear a woman singing about those things, and about another woman? It means a lot. For many of her younger fans, it may be some of the first music they’ve ever heard by someone like them. And beyond that, having a pop song like this helps give young queer people, women especially, a space to be themselves. If a 20-year-old can go up on stage and sing about girls, write albums about girls, then why can’t I just be me, and not care what anybody says?
With just one EP and a handful of singles, King Princess is already a modern-day trailblazer for LGBTQ+ rights and representation. She is one of the few truly worthy of the title “lesbian icon.”
King Princess is leading the way for this new generation of proud, visible LGBTQ+ women in the public eye. Having only really been in the spotlight for just shy of two years, she’s already made a big impact on many young gay people struggling to find themselves, and provided a masterclass on being yourself, no matter what.
King Princess’ first feature length album, Cheap Queen, was released on Oct. 25.