Thursday 22 November 2018

Ones to Watch 2019 #3 - King Princess

After a couple of bands it’s time to introduce the first of a large number of solo artists that feature on the 2019 Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch list and also the first American artist (overall the list is once again UK heavy because that’s where I’m based). Mikaela Straus is King Princess and appeared on Breaking More Waves back in April after she had impressed with the songs 1950 and Talia from her debut Make My Bed EP

1950 has become a sizeable pop anthem this year - it reached number 17 in Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart and it has clocked up just over 150 million streams on Spotify, helped along the way with the support of Mark Ronson (Straus is signed to his newly formed Zelig label in the US) and Harry Styles tweeting out the lyrics of her songs, without reference, to his fans. As I pointed out in that April blog post, it’s easy to be cynical about the Styles tweets – Styles is on Columbia records and Zelig is an imprint of Columbia – but as a new artist you’re going to take all the breaks you can these days.

1950 and Talia have paved the way for King Princess to pick up a sizeable crowd of screaming girl fans – although perhaps not the same ones that Harry Styles had – her audience is a significantly LGBTI one. (1950 was inspired by Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, which was originally released under the pseudonym Claire Morgan as Highsmith didn’t want to be tagged as ‘a lesbian book writer’. It was later republished under the name Carol.) 

Most recent single Pussy Is God, co-written with her girlfriend and actress Amanda Stenberg will inevitably cement that fanbase further as will her version of the Perfume Genius song Queen, albeit at the moment it is only a live cover rather than a studio release.

All of the songs from King Princess so far share one common strand; they are classy, modern, highly accessible pop tunes with all those classic ingredients of melody and hooks. Add to this the fact that King Princess can nail it live (watch her debut TV performance on Later With Jools Holland for the evidence of that by clicking here) and she was always going to be one of my Ones to Watch 2019 since that first post in April. King Princess rules.

King Princess - 1950 

King Princess - Pussy Is God

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