Kim Petras was told there ‘wasn’t a place’ for her in music as a trans woman: ‘It was rough’

Kim Petras wears a sheer red veil on the red carpet at the 2023 Grammy awards.

Kim Petras may have made music history by becoming the first openly trans woman to win a Grammy, but the singer was once told that there was “no place” for her in the music industry.

Petras won the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance award for her song “Unholy” with Sam Smith, while the pair also became the first trans and non-binary artists to top the Billboard top 200 last year.

The 30-year-old German singer has revealed that before this newfound success, being a trans artist in music was “rough”.

Speaking to Billboard, the star explained: “When I tried to sign to [labels] in the beginning of my career, it was like, “What is the fan base going to be? How do we market this? There isn’t a place for you.’

“Then I went to gay clubs and built a solid fan base and showed everyone it’s possible. Now they have to accept it.”

Petras began her music career in 2017, with her catchy debut “I Don’t Want It At All”. It was an undeniable hit in the making, but she’s previously expressed how, at first, she only felt celebrated by gay people.

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Since “Unholy” became a global number one hit and she began performing on the world’s biggest stages, however, that’s all changed.

“[Before] it was like, ‘Oh, the gays love her,’ but people didn’t want me on their songs,” she explained. “I didn’t get budgets approved. It was rough. Now different people are hitting me up to collaborate and get in the studio. It’s cool that people are catching on.

“I’m happy there are more trans artists now that are being taken seriously. I just don’t want to be the last.”

Kim Petras and Sam Smith wear co-ordinating red outfits to collect their Grammy award at the 2023 Grammys.
Kim Petras and Sam Smith made LGBTQ+ history at the 2023 Grammy Awards. (Getty/ Emma McIntyre)

Elsewhere in her Billboard interview, Petras expressed her admiration for pop music’s most adored women, explaining how they helped her to “live authentically” as a trans woman.

Speaking about her idols, Petras also namechecked Cher, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Lana Del Rey, Marina and Kylie [Minogue] as her biggest inspirations.

“Women in pop music were my only friends in high school,” she continued.

“They were everything I wanted to be and [gave me] the strength I [needed] to transition and live my life authentically. They gave me the strength to be myself.”

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