Princess Superstar (born Concetta Kirschner) emerged from New York City's underground music scene with a provocative blend of hip-hop, punk, and saucy attitude.
Born in New York in 1971, Kirschner spent time growing up in Pennsylvania, but was back in New York City by the late '80s. She was a member of the Gamma Rays, a band that released a pair of singles on the Teenbeat label during the mid-'90s. As pointedly humorous rapper Princess Superstar, she made her first demo in 1994, armed only with a four-track and two tape decks. The demo was called Mitch Better Get My Bunny, a play on words as well as the title of a song by AMG. The response to the demo was immediate and gained a write-up in CMJ magazine's Futures section that described her eclectic mixture of hip-hop, punk rock, and outrageous humor. She signed with Fifth Beetle Records and recruited a backup band consisting of Kirsten "Pro" Jansen on drums, Doug Pressman on bass, and Art "F" Lavis on guitar. Fifth Beetle released the album Strictly Platinum in 1996. CMJ called the music "super sly hip-hop with jaw droppingly clever lyrics and inventive sampling"; Alternative Press went even further with its praise: "If you yearn for the days when a rap record was both exciting and innovative, as well as fun, Strictly Platinum has got your name scrawled across it...in neon peach lipstick." The rest of the press response was similarly overwhelming.
Following the buzz, Kirschner moved from her Clinton Street place to Avenue A, where she was christened "The Queen of Avenue A" by CMJ. Strictly Platinum quickly gained momentum, shooting to the number one spot on some college radio stations in New York and Los Angeles, while also gaining airplay throughout the U.S. and Canada. The band played live shows all over the East Coast and Canada. Strictly Platinum's "Theme Song" and "Flavis Special" were even used on NBC's NBA Roundup and MTV's Slam and Jam. Kirschner took steps toward musical autonomy by the end of 1996, founding her own record label (the tongue-in-cheek A Big Rich Major Label) and vowing never to sign with a "real" major-label again. She also assembled a new band: Ski Love Ski on bass, Mike Linn on drums, and DJ Science Center spinning records live.
The group recorded the second Princess Superstar album, CEO, which was released in 1997. Following the album's release, Princess Superstar booked the Hostile Takeover Tour '98, a six-week tour through the U.S. and Canada, which included playing to a packed house at the South by Southwest Music Conference. Playing the Transmusicales de Rennes festival in France with Nashville Pussy followed in December of 1999, as did a mini-jaunt in London. Kirschner also spent the beginning of 1999 working on her third Princess Superstar album, Last of the Great 20th Century Composers, having again assembled a new backing band (Money Mike Linn on drums, DJ Cutless Supreme manning the turntables and playing guitar, and Walter Sipser holding down bass duties). Kirshner also chose to rename A Big Rich Major Label, opting instead for Corrupt Conglomerate for the release of the third album.
By the new millennium, Kirschner had hooked up with Curtis Curtis for a fourth album. Princess Superstar Is, which was issued in early 2002, featured collaborations with Kool Keith, the X-Ecutioners' Mista Sinista, Beth Orton, and others. My Machine, released in 2005 on !K7, was a concept album set in the year 2080 with high-profile dance producers Jacques Lu Cont, Junior Sanchez, Armand Van Helden, and Arthur Baker all lending a hand. Princess Superstar also helmed several mix albums, including two volumes in a series titled Now Is the Winter of Our Discothèque in 2005, plus American Gigolo III in 2007. She returned to Corrupt Conglomerate for The New Evolution, released in 2012. Another album, I'm a Firecracker, led by the eponymous single, followed two years later. She also began filming the reality show I Love Princess Superstar for her YouTube channel. ~ Stanton Swihart