Kim Petras and Sam Smith ‘stuck together’ during Unholy backlash: ‘We had each other’s backs’

Kim Petras (L) and Sam Smith (R) supported one another through the Unholy backlash.

Trans icon Kim Petras has opened up about the way she and Sam Smith united against the right-wing backlash to their chart-topping hit “Unholy”.

If there’s two artists in the charts right now who can always be be relied upon to get people talking, it’s definitely Kim Petras and Sam Smith. After making history last year as the first trans and non-binary artists to hit number one on the US Billboard chart, the duo set the internet ablaze at the 2023 Grammys with a devilish performance of their smash hit “Unholy”.

While the risqué performance garnered praise from musical icons such as Madonna, it also upset right-wing bigots who branded the singers “degenerate filth” and accused them of “normalising satanic worship”.

But the duo, who have an equally strong friendship off-stage, haven’t allowed the hate to affect them as they thrive in their individual careers and continue to consistently advocate for trans rights.

In a recent interview with Apple Music 1 host Zane Lowe on Tuesday (18 July), 30-year-old Petras reflected upon the impact of the backlash, and how she and Smith supported each other through it.

“‘Unholy’ [was] a song that was so [about] me and Sam, our identities and stuff like that. And I think so many people just really tried to tear that down, so I felt very emotional while all of that was happening,” she began.

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“I think what I’ve learned is that people are going to assume whatever they want to assume and you can’t control that. And people are scared of what they don’t know.

“I think for me, something that I just genuinely always felt is I want to learn about different experiences. I want to accept them. I wish everyone to find a way to make it through life and be happy however they want to make it, and to be less judgmental.

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“Especially seeing Sam and the things that people had to say about Sam just make me sad as a friend. And someone who just loves music and is such a talent and such a light … which I find inspiring for me.”

“Unholy” isn’t the only song that has made Smith the target of vitriol. The singer also sparked rage after performing a raunchy cover of Madonna’s “Human Nature” while on their Gloria tour, while their unapologetic celebration of their sexuality in the “I’m Not Here to Make Friends” music video fuelled a barrage of abuse rooted in queerphobia and fatphobia.

When confronting the “Unholy” hatred, however, Petras explained that the pair “stuck together” and resolved to quite literally give their critics “hell”.

“I think we just kind of stuck together on this one and just really had each other’s backs and we did all the performances together and that was really beautiful to me, that we really did everything together,” she continued.

“But yeah, I think just personally, sometimes stuff just gets to you. As much as you want to push this because people told you your whole life, you’re going to hell. So it’s like, well, let’s show them hell. And we did that.

“I know that some kid in the middle of nowhere who doesn’t fit in, who’s not allowed to be themselves, watched that and felt like ‘I get them’.”

Petras is now making her own mark as a trans woman in the music industry after celebrating the release of her debut studio album Feed the Beast at the end of June.

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