In 2005, before Electric Zoo touched down in New York City, in a time before Las Vegas Motor Speedway ever transformed into the heavenly rave of Electric Daisy Carnival and DJ prodigy Aiden Jude was just a 1-year-old, Princess Superstar released a hip-hop/electroclash album in which she collaborated with Felix Da Housecat, Armand Van Helden, Tom Terry, Arthur Baker and Stewart Price. Afrojack made a remix.
Today, in a world of "EDM" radio hits, that combo sounds a lot like a surefire success. But nine years ago when Princess Superstar was touring Europe, the album, My Machine, bombed and the artist born Concetta Kirschner remained unknown in America.
"It's like someone told me, 'Concetta, you're always ahead of the curve. You have to be in the curve.' Yeah," she pauses. "Right."
By the time dance music exploded in America, Princess Superstar wasn't even DJing anymore.
Her penchant for the far-out future and her look-you-in-the-eye-and-give-no-fucks attitude that makes our meeting place—Manhattan's Upper East Side— extra unusual. "I live in the one percent," she says as we sit together on the grass in New York City's Central Park. "In the richest fricken neighborhood, right there on Fifth Avenue."
Following My Machine, Princess Superstar released another album, The Best of Princess Superstar, in 2007. After that, she mostly disappeared from the radar until her fans launched a crowd-funded project in 2010, proving the people still wanted more. This July she released her first EP in about five years, I'm a Firecracker, from which a remix of the title track by Feadz is taken.
"What I like about the album is that it's really happy and good vibes," she says. It took about seven years to get here though.
In 2008, when the market crashed Superstar ran into problems with her management and took "some imposed time off." She also got pregnant, which led to her unlikely current home.
"I was living in Bushwick and I got pregnant and it fucking stank. Literally. Like, when you get pregnant everything smells, but Bushwick smells really bad," Superstar riffs, casually pulling at the grass with her bedazzled white nails. "The universe totally gave us this place. It's small, but it's only 300 bucks more than we were paying in Bushwick. When me and my husband got off the subway we were like, '[sniffs] ahhhh.' It's a different smell up here. The smell of paper money."
Now she works on new music while homeschooling her 3-year-old daughter, Siren. "She knows all the words to 'Rapper's Delight,'" Superstar says of her preferred pre-K classes. She also plays her own often-raunchy songs. "I had some problems because I had this one song called 'Supersonic Bitch' and she would be like, 'I'm supersonic, bitch.' I had to teach her about inside language and outside language. I don't really censor it."
One more thing she doesn't quite sanitize: her forthcoming reality show premiering on YouTube in August. It's called I Love Princess Superstar. It's a goal of hers to be a comedian, but she's "scared shitless" to do standup in front of a crowd. Instead, she tells me a working bit about vagina plastic surgery and how she's more comfortable in front of the camera.
She says it's slightly modeled after I Love Lucy (her husband, Miguel Ortega, is Hispanic) but also describes the show as similar to Keeping Up With the Kardashians—the holy mecca of all reality TV—but more real because she's going to let people see her looking bad.
"There's this one segment where I can't fit into these white jeans that I'm obsessed with and have had for seven years," She says. "My husband's trying to get me in them and it's really funny. My fat is hanging out, but I'm like, that's cool."
Over her decades-long career, she's learned to roll with whatever might come next. "The truth is, I produced Lana Del Rey back in the day," she says when I ask about her personal production credits. Her husband Miguel discovered Lana, she says, and Superstar "produced some really weird left fieild tracks for her" like "Catch and Release" and then introduced her to her current manager and what has become worldwide success and controversy. The only comment she'll give about Del Rey's current work is that "[her music] is just too sad and death-oriented and sorry, but I'm about life."
Does Princess Superstar feel like she's missing out on any of that crazy, club-hopping, jet-setting life she used to lead before moving next door to the one percent to teach hip-hop to her toddler?
"There's definitely that part of me that's like, '[gasps] What am I missing?'" she admits. "Sure. But there's another part of me that really loves getting eight hours of sleep a night."
If you're in NYC catch Princess Superstar DJing Roxy Cottontail's Yotel Brunch on August 24. It's from 11am to 5pm and $45 for unlimited food and drink for two hours.
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