King Princess had a big 2020 ahead of her. On the heels of her debut album Cheap Queen, Mikaela Straus (KP’s off-stage name) was set to open for The Strokes in Los Angeles, go on a European tour with Harry Styles and much more. But with the spread of coronavirus keeping everyone in quarantine, the singer is still giving the fans what they want, albeit under different parameters.
On Wednesday (April 8), Straus appeared as the latest guest on NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert. Holed up in her “quarantine shed” in Hawaii, Straus sat on a plush white chair, cycling through the assortment of keyboards and guitars she managed to bring with her into self-isolation. “I brought as much gear in the carry-on of my plane ride as possible,” she says. “Now I have various little toys to play with to bring musical joy to all the people around.”
To kick off her set, Straus sat with a small keyboard in her lap singing along to her track “Isabel’s Moment,” where she sings about a lover who won’t return her advances with any kind of attention. “But you can’t choose your love like a phone number/ And I’m still trying to draw all the lines,” she sang.
Straus she said she found the song to be very applicable to daily life during these trying times. “It makes me think of all the mischief that people are getting up to in this quarantine time; they’re texting their exes, they’re texting their ex-best friends, they are all around on the social media lurking,” she said with a laugh. “That song is truly an homage to that type of quarantine thirstiness that we’re feeling right now.”
The “line of cohesion” about our current situation continued throughout the rest of Straus’s set, where she performed “Prophet” and “Homegirl” off of Cheap Queen, accompanying herself on the guitar. For “Prophet,” the singer equated the track to the struggle to find success in the industry, but admitted that “Homegirl” may be her favorite song off of the album. “She deserves more justice than she’s been given so far,” she said. “I feel like I have a little country inside me, and it’s just waiting to come out.”
While switching between songs, Straus reflected on the struggle of going from being constantly booked to complete isolation, saying she felt like she was starting back from square one, but in a good way. “I’m back to just making music in my room, and I feel like it’s been really interesting,” she says. “We’re all trying to find that creative spark we had as children … it’s so lost on us now, because we just schedule time to do our jobs.”
Check out King Princess’s full NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert below: