Kim Petras on her and Sam Smith’s “rewarding, incredible” Grammy nod for “Unholy”: “It’s a big deal if we win”

Capitol Records

On Sunday, Kim Petras and Sam Smith will learn if they’ve won a Grammy for their #1 duet “Unholy.” As the first openly transgender solo artist — Kim — and non-binary solo artist — Sam — to receive a nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Kim says being recognized by the Academy feels extra special.

“Of course, I used to dream about being nominated for a Grammy … [I’m] not even talking about winning it,” Kim tells ABC Audio. “But even being nominated for me is such a rewarding, incredible thing that I really never thought would happen for me. And I want to inspire the next generation of artists, people who feel like me, like, they’re different, or they have something a little special with them.”

“It’s emotional for sure, and I think it’s a big deal if we do win,” she notes.

Kim says she’s not sure why “Unholy” became the hit it did: It certainly doesn’t sound like other recent #1 hits, and the subject matter is also unusual. But that may be the exact reason people loved it.

“I remember hearing it for the first time,” she recalls. “And [it] kind of gave me the same reaction that I had when I first heard ‘Lady Marmalade‘ — the Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Pink, Mya version. Just kinda like, ‘I don’t think my parents want me to listen to this type of song.’ And that’s always been something that I’ve been very into.”

She laughs, “I definitely love that about pop music: That it was the darker, dirtier songs that were kind of like this secret that you’d have behind your parents’ back. And I hope [‘Unholy’] is that for a new generation of kids, because that’s my favorite thing in the world.”

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