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King Princess Needed to Slow Down to “Get Back to What’s Important”

The artist discusses turning the lens inward on Hold On Baby, the follow-up to 2019's Cheap Queen

king princess interview
King Princess, photo by Collier Schorr/Illustration by Steven Fiche
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    “I’m a woman of the theater,” King Princess says, her voice dripping with playful melodrama over the phone. She’s in the midst of explaining what fans can expect from the stage setup when she takes her forthcoming album, Hold On Baby, out on the road. She hasn’t been able to tour in this way for over two and a half years, and she shares that she’s been working hard on the details alongside her girlfriend.

    “No matter what’s on the stage, you should feel like you’ve entered into that artist’s world, and when I’m onstage I want to be in a setting that feels unique to the music,” the artist explains to Consequence. She points specifically to the work of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon as major influences, both throughout their artistic journey and particularly over the past year.

    The thing about performing onstage is that it’s just that — a performance — which makes it all the more interesting that this is an album where King Princess turned inward throughout the writing process, peeling back layers in a more intimate way than ever before.

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    Hold On Baby, arriving Friday (July 29th), is the follow-up to King Princess’ debut album, 2019’s Cheap Queen, a record that’s tough to box into any one genre. Here, almost three years after that release, the journey preparing for her sophomore album was markedly different. As with so many others, a halt to touring forced her to a standstill in a way that nearly forced introspection, too.

    “I wasn’t feeling mentally well,” she recalls of that time. “Then everything slowed down, I stopped moving, and touring, and partying, and distracting myself.”

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    This album revolves heavily around identity, reveling in queer romance (“It’s giving Lilith Fair,” she specifies), and untangling some of those aforementioned threads she’d been wary of pulling in busier times. In a recent statement about Hold On Baby, she shared: “I’m not a girl, not quite a boy, a lesbian, but also gay as the day is long. I’m not one thing. I’m not sure I like myself, but I’m figuring it out.”

    Writing the album, as intense as it can be to wade into such intimate parts of identity, ended up as a form of catharsis. “I needed to get back to what’s important, which is sitting at a table or a piano and writing songs,” she recalls. “The album was a way to chronicle whether I like myself or not, whether I feel confident in my body and my gender…” A pause. “Love a light topic.”

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