King Princess has been preparing for this moment for her whole life. Growing up in Brooklyn where her dad ran a recording studio, Mikaela Straus’ whole childhood revolved around music. She learned to sing, write, and produce in that environment, and was offered a record deal at only eleven years old (she turned it down). Now nineteen, living in LA, and signed to Mark Ronson’s Zelig Recordings label, King Princess has gifted us with an addictively raw and witty EP.
King Princess has already cultivated a major following, especially among the LGBT+ community. She writes openly about relationships with women, but beyond that, she creates music with such authenticity that it’s practically impossible not to fall in love with her work. Her debut single 1950, which closes out the EP, references secretive queer relationships from that period and applies that narrative to her own experiences. Lyrics from the track were tweeted by Harry Styles within weeks of its release, and it only spread farther from there.
I love it when we play 1950.
— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) March 7, 2018
Sonically, Make My Bed is anchored by punchy drum machines and effectively simplistic chords, which provide enough juice to propel her songs without burying the intricacies of her vocal delivery. Mikaela’s voice is full but delicate, with an occasional raspy edge and a gorgeous falsetto making an appearance on Holy. Talia (which somehow still manages to stand out even on a record full of 10/10 tracks) features an anthemic belting moment at the start of the final chorus, which frankly nearly brings me to tears every time I hear it.
At the core of Make My Bed is Mikaela’s singular lyrical style. She has away of approaching her subjects with short, efficient lines that still manage to convey layers of meaning and emotional turmoil. On the EP’s introductory title track, for example, the mournful heartache of growing up and moving out of a childhood home is conveyed in the briefest of phrases. The vulnerable imagery conveyed in the chorus of Talia makes you feel as though you’re living that experience with her. The kind of unfiltered connection that Mikaela creates with her audience, be it in her music, online, or in interviews, is incredibly refreshing. And with a debut like this, how could you not be excited for whatever comes next?