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Princess Superstar - Shining Royalty

Author: Cyclone
Sunday, 25 May 2008
New York’s Princess Superstar, aka Concetta Kirschner, launched her career as a subversive alt-rapper, ‘Feminem’, but in 2008 she is post-electroclash royalty. It’s hard to believe that Madonna hasn’t raided her outtakes. Words by 3D’s Cyclone.

There is a connection to Madge, however. Superstar, too, has worked with Jacques Lu Cont, aka Stuart Price. Nevertheless, if Kirschner can discern her influence on Madonna, she’s diplomatic.

“I’m a Madonna fan from Lucky Star and Borderline and [songs] like that,” she says. “When I was growing up, that was so ‘wow’ – that totally blew my mind. I was a kid but I was like, ‘I wanna be Madonna!’ I have nothing but huge respect for her. I mean, God, she’s [nearly] 50 and she’s still going. She’s the Queen. Her business sense is unparalleled. I’m not that into her music right now, but she’s Madonna.”

Since 2005’s remarkable concept album, My Machine, Superstar has concentrated on DJing. However, she did team with electroclash ‘godfather’ Larry Tee for the suitably outrageous single Licky. While circulating for almost two years, it’s just been licensed by Central Station.

Larry, who’s disavowed alcohol and drugs, reputedly helped Princess Superstar clean up. “I love Larry!” she says warmly. “Larry’s so talented and he’s so much fun – and smart. He’s just great to work with. We had a blast making this record.”

Before Princess Superstar, Kirschner studied acting. Music gradually took over. Concetta cast herself as an avant-garde MC in the ’90s with the now obscure LP Strictly Platinum.

She developed an anti-bling alter-ego – and a DIY ethos. From the outset, she was a transgressive, comic, intellectual and post-feminist MC. A rare breed. Superstar courted a cult following. Eventually she signed to Germany’s Studio !K7 – or rather its offshoot Rapster – and presented Princess Superstar Is. The sardonic Bad Babysitter gave Superstar her first crossover success. Eminem was in his prime and, inevitably, she was compared.

For the ambitious My Machine, which she touted as “a punk/hip hop/electro thing”. Superstar vibed with such disparate figures as Arthur Baker, Todd Terry and Junior Sanchez – plus Price. The album’s theme is cloning, and the cult of celebrity in popular culture, Concetta channelling ’70s Bowie.

Around 2001 she’d begun DJing seriously – and this profoundly changed her musical course. Superstar fostered a buzzworthy DJ combo with rumoured boyfriend Alexander Technique – DJs Are Not Rockstars. She and Alexander then split, her ex continuing DANR with DJ Cat. Kirschner is reluctant to discuss her next album in depth, but she has readied a single, Lollipop, with Armand Van Helden.

Concetta has admitted to experiencing writer’s block in the past, but the real delay with the LP is her DJ schedule. At one stage Concetta indicated that, after the sci-fi My Machine, which generated the belated hit Perfect, she’d explore an entirely “new direction”, bringing back the hip hop.

Is that still the case-

“Yeah,” Kirschner responds, “although it has an electro feel to it. But it’s more song orientated as opposed to dancefloor. I’m gonna get the dancefloor remixes, but I want it to be just more song orientated this time.”

WHO: Princess Superstar
WHAT: Plays Famous at Home
WHEN: Saturday 31 May