Kim Petras wins Grammy and makes trans history

Kim Petras won her first Grammy award Sunday for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance alongside Sam Smith for their platinum hit “Unholy,” which Petras cowrote with Smith.

Petras, 30, also made history as the first solo artist who identifies as transgender to win a Grammy in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category.

“I grew up next to a highway in Germany. My mother believed me that I was a girl,” Petras said in her acceptance speech. “I wouldn’t be here without her and her support.”

The dance-pop singer received a standing ovation while accepting the award.

It was a groundbreaking win for a song that made chart history, Petras and Smith also are the first openly transgender solo artist and non-binary solo artist, respectively, to ascend to # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Earlier in the evening, Petras made her Grammy stage debut with “Unholy.” She was in a cage encircled in fire and flanked by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” superstars Violet Chachki and Gottmik.

Kim Petras recently made a surprise appearance on “Saturday Night Live” – emerging from under Smith’s dress for a performance of “Unholy.”

Between 2016 and 2020, Petras released music as an independent artist under her own imprint, BunHead Records. She appeared at numerous Pride festivals, including LA Pride on 2018, and gay nightclubs to promote her songs.

Kim Petras signed with Amigo and Republic Records in 2021. 

She released the 7-track EP “Slut Pop” in 2022. 

Petras and Smith will perform “Unholy” at the BRIT Awards Feb. 11, where they are nominated for “Song of the Year.”

“Unholy” is also nominated for “Best Collaboration” at the iHeart Radio Music Awards.

Billboard’s Women In Music will honor Kim with the Chartbreaker Award in March.

Petras’ latest single is “brrr.” She performed the track last month on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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