King Princess has many moods. She can swagger, like she does on excellent single “Prophet,” and she can melt hearts, like on the brilliant narrative she spins on “Homegirl.” She can shred on the guitar, and she can command an upright piano with the best of them. But the young artist (born Mikaela Straus) can also just lead. That’s what she did in her her U.S. network TV debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Thursday night.
Onstage at the Ed Sullivan Theater, Straus opted out of rock-star moments for a highly danceable rendition of “Hit the Back,” a soulful dance-floor standout from her recently released debut album Cheap Queen. That’s not to say she didn’t look like a star — she did, and she is — but KP kept the performance grounded in her raspy vocals, disaffected stare, and endearing movements instead of theatrical flourish. The whole thing felt like a party.
What’s cool about this is seeing Straus liberated from an instrument and with plenty of room to bounce around around her band, which she does. She also runs up and makes a red platform her own, especially with how her hips sway. (The camerawork here is very agile, giving the performance a lot of energy, but as one YouTube commenter demanded, “The camera should be focused on her hips.”)
After a quick fake-out ending, KP and her crew slip into a disco coda that allows us all to savor the song a bit longer. It’s nice. She also stuck around for a bonus online performance of her arrival single “1950” where she plays guitar. You’ll have to watch to see if she shreds or not.
Queen Cheap is out now on Mark Ronson’s Zelig Records. King Princess is on tour in North America now and currently tearing it up.
Get to know more about her via a 2018 sit-down interview with MTV News right here.