Of all the rising names in pop music, there is no one like Kim Petras. After being thrust into the spotlight as one of the youngest openly transgender artists, her popularity as both an independent musician and LGBTQ+ icon has skyrocketed. Now on the North American leg of her The Clarity Tour, Petras’ energy and talent is undeniable.
After embarking on her first Broken Tour this summer, Petras released her debut album “Clarity” — a full 12-track collection representing Petras’ own rise from the ashes of heartbreak. Petras said about her inspiration, “Before, with my first songs, I felt like I was inventing personalities and writing about how I wanted my life to be. Now I’m singing about what my life is like.” This emotional projection follows successful singles, each uniquely fitting her style. “All my songs, even if they didn’t end up together on a project, are written to be part of a collection,” she said.
This collection has launched her onto The Clarity Tour, beginning in October. In comparison to her first tour, Petras said, “Everything is different. The last one feels almost like a warm up round, but this is the real deal.” While that reality involves bigger staging and elaborate outfits, there’s real backlash that Petras has faced across the country. Just a few days ago, her show in Kansas City, Missouri was met with a crowd of picketers from the Westboro Baptist Church. In the face of such awful hatred, Petras’ response was so authentically powerful — a clip posted featuring a news headline saying “Hoes mad” and a video of her serving looks and posing outside in front of the crowd.
It’s this raw energy that makes Petras’ and her work so alluring — there’s an unabashed vulnerability that completely encapsulates everything she is. On the hate she’s faced, Petras said, “The freedom to be me is one of the most important things in my life. I don’t think you have a choice to be anything but yourself because, if you’re not, you’re going to be unhappy.”
As if her strength as an individual wasn’t inspiring enough, her success as an artist rests solely on her shoulders. Petras is an independent artist, unsigned to a record label, and has built her career on her own terms. “I know exactly what I want my music videos to be like, what I want to stand for, what songs I want to write, and I can do it all the way I want to,” Petras said. Her growing audience is nothing but supportive of her truth, in works like “Clarity,” and her creativity in her newest work.
I was first introduced to Petras in hearing one of her songs from her most recent release “Turn Off The Light,” a full length, Halloween-inspired collection released in two volumes. “This is my dream project,” Petras said. “My friends and I were in the studio wondering why nobody makes Halloween albums. Everyone was like ‘who would listen [to] that?’ But we did it anyway. I don’t think there are any other records out there that are quite like it.” It’s true — the dark electric energy of it is unlike any other pop album I’ve heard.
Undeniably, Kim Petras is a powerhouse, and as The Clarity Tour closes out its North American leg, her star shines brighter than ever. As a powerful transgender woman in the music industry, she gives a piece of advice to those struggling to be their authentic selves. “There are people out there that will love you no matter what, but you’ll only find them if you go for it and be yourself. For me, there wasn’t really any other way to do it, but everybody deserves love — no matter who they are — and so do you!”
Tickets to her show at The Depot in Salt Lake on Dec. 5 are available here. Petras’ albums “Clarity” and “Turn Off The Light” can be streamed on major music platforms.