Cheap Queen is out via Zelig/Columbia

Only a true rising star could make her late-night TV debut while simultaneously playing the second of two sold-out nights at 930 Club. But that’s just a night in the life of breakout artist, King Princess.

“Yeah, that’s right, mama’s on TV, okay?” she teased to a roaring response. The artist born Mikaela Straus was playing tracks from her must-hear debut album, Cheap Queen, at D.C.’s iconic venue while her taped performance of “Hit the Back” premiered on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.


Throughout the night, Straus maintained the same satirically playful demeanor – which the crowd ate up – but the show did start on a softer note. King Princess took to the piano for “Isabel’s Moment,” her incredible album collab with Jesse Tobias, Jr.


On Cheap Queen, King Princess is confessionally raw and relentlessly badass. “Tough on Myself,” which finds Straus ruminating over a potential love, opens the album with bluesy fierceness. It was the perfect second track to warm the crowd up before thrashing into “Prophet” – one of the album’s lead singles.

Released in July, “Prophet” is one of the album’s best tracks. It highlights the increasing number of people wanting a piece of King Princess as her star rises. Among other scenes, the video shows Mikaela’s red velvet body being eaten by corporate execs while she tearfully watches in awe. It’s a twist on the mounting pressures for her to succeed and a recognition of the price.

Throughout her lyrics, King Princess is very transparent about her emotions, making for highly-relatable songs and an even better live show. “Useless Phrases / Cheap Queen” dropped at 9:30 Club to a venue-wide singalong. Energy that only mounted as “Pussy Is God” rolled through and reminded people of how many queer alt-pop anthems King Princess has shared in just two years.


“Aint Together,” another unapologetic track that finds Mikaela questioning whether a relationship title will make her kisses taste better, led to a live performance of “Watching My Phone,” my absolute favorite track on the new album. White strobes filled the room frantically as the track’s electronica-soaked beat shocked the attentive crowd. It was exactly how I hoped that song would be performed in 930 Club’s intimate club setting. Hearing the timeless “Talia” after? No better feeling.

As the show closed, leading to the Colbert moment and performance of “Hit the Back,” King Princess, of course, performed her breakout hit “1950.” Now boasting over 300 million streams, the runaway track undeniably paved a clear path for the young Brooklyn artist. Now, with Cheap Queen and her latest headlining show, King Princess cements a spot as one of music’s most promising stars.

While an encore of the smooth “If You Think It’s Love” would’ve ended a perfect night – King Princess returned to play an unreleased song called “Ohio” – though you’d think it was an album single from the response it drew from the crowd. Stream King Princess’ solid debut album, Cheap Queen and see past coverage here.

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