It's easy to inspect ourselves when refracted by our relationship to others. To excuse, justify and shift blame. What's harder is to stare down the mirror and see yourself as you are – for better or worse. In their new album Hold On Baby, King Princess does just that.
“I’ve only ever written about heartbreak," King Princess AKA Mikaela Straus explains in a press release. "It felt easier to talk about myself through other people. To write about situations that caused me pain, and to use them to justify my own anxieties and depression." Singles like "1950" and "Talia" speak to queer love, the messiness and the heightened emotions. While Straus' debut album Cheap Queen is a fully-fledged emotional affair, written off the back of a public break up.
For Hold On Baby, which drops on July 29, Straus found themself in a unique position. Now in a long term relationship with creative producer Quinn Wilson, they weren't reeling from recent heartbreak – life was going quite good actually, which allowed the musician to look inward in their music. "I’m silly, I’m anxious, I’m sad, I’m sexy. I didn’t want to be scared to talk about those things anymore. The infinite dichotomy of things that make me up. 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," Strauss admits. Hold On Baby, with its songs like "Winter is Hopeful" is a love letter to Wilson. It's also a "firm read of myself", Straus says, "and it's a reminder of the totems in my life that give me hope." Early in 2021, Straus lost their 89-year-old grandfather. In his absence, they found themself growing closer to animals, particularly owls, since their grandfather would often go searching for them in the woods. It's for this reason that the album cover for Hold On Baby features Straus posing alongside a biscuit-toned barn owl, a link between grandfather and grandchild.
With songs co-written alongside The National's Aaron Dessner and producer Mark Ronson, and a snippet of the album available with EP Change the Locks, we're eagerly anticipating the sophomore album from King Princess. Which they hope can offer "some strength in accepting ourselves; as chaotic as we can be."