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Born in Cologne, Germany, Petras fell in love with pop music and Eurodance at an early age and soon began making music of her own. By the time she was in her teens, she had already graduated from uploading videos of cover songs to working with a producer on her debut single, "Fade Away," released in 2008. More singles followed, including "Boomerang" and the Sobertruth collaboration "Taste" (both from 2009). Her first EP, One Piece of Tape, arrived in 2011, around the time she relocated to Los Angeles. Petras subsequently appeared as a featured singer on two 2013 singles by German DJ Klaas, "Flight to Paris" and "Heartbeat"; she lent vocals to Danity Kane's 2014 album DK3; and she released her own stand-alone single "STFU." In 2015, she co-wrote the single "That's What's Up" from Skylar Stecker's debut LP This Is Me and appeared on Isaac Phase's "You" from his album Phase 00001.
Petras re-emerged in August 2017 with the '80s-infused dance-pop tune "I Don't Want It at All," which she released on her own BunHead label. That year, she also appeared on "Unlock It" from Charli XCX's Pop 2 mixtape. In October 2018, she presented her own mixtape, the Halloween-themed Turn Off the Light, Vol. 1. Included were the songs "o m e n," "Close Your Eyes," and "Turn Off the Lights," the latter of which featured a guest spot from Elvira. The mixtape hit number 19 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. More singles followed in 2019, including "1,2,3 dayz up" featuring SOPHIE, "If U Think About Me...," and "Homework" featuring Lil Aaron. Recorded with input from Dr. Luke and producers Made in China and Aaron Joseph, Petras' official debut album, Clarity, landed that June. Drawing from emo pop, glam rock, and R&B as well as different styles of pop, it peaked at number 28 on Billboard's Independent Albums chart. After touring North America and Europe in support of Clarity, Petras released more music in October 2019 with Turn Off the Light. Combining Vol. 1 with more horror-themed songs, the full-length reached number 42 on the Independent Albums chart. She also contributed "How It's Done" -- a collaboration with Kash Doll, Alma, and Stefflon Don -- to that year's Charlie's Angels soundtrack.
Petras issued more singles in 2020, including February's "Reminds Me" (which the Kid LAROI later sampled for the song "Reminds Me of You"), May's U.K. hit "Malibu," and the Kygo collaboration "Broken Glass," which charted in Canada and Switzerland. That November, she teamed up with K/DA for "Villain," a song from the K-pop group's EP ALL OUT. Petras signed to Republic and made her debut for the major label with August 2021's "Future Starts Now." The list of contributing songwriters and producers included prior collaborators Dr. Luke, Lil Aaron, and Aaron Joseph. Later that year, she appeared in the holiday film The Bitch Who Stole Christmas and released the single "Coconuts." February 2022 saw the release of Slut Pop, an EP of sex-positive songs featuring production by Dr. Luke. The EP topped the Heatseekers Albums chart in the U.S. and charted in the U.K. When songs from the album Petras was working on were leaked online, she scrapped many of them for a fresh start. While working on new material, she collaborated with Sam Smith on the September 2022 single "Unholy." The song became a global chart-topper and multi-platinum smash hit that earned both artists a 2023 Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
In the wake of this success, Petras appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue and released her major-label debut album, June 2023's Feed the Beast. Created with a production team that included Dr. Luke, Blake Slatkin, and Rami Yacoub and featuring Banks and Nicki Minaj (who appeared on the single "Alone"), the album offered more personal songwriting alongside Petras' hard-hitting pop. That June, Petras also teamed up with Paris Hilton for an updated version of the latter's 2006 single "Stars Are Blind." ~ Heather Phares & Marcy Donelson