Concetta Kirschner is undergoing another name change.
The Gwynedd Valley native and Germantown Academy alumna is more known by her stage name, Princess Superstar. As a rapper, she has produced six albums with hits like “Bad Babysitter” and appeared on TV in programs including the popular Inside Amy Schumer.
Kirschner first got into rapping without realizing she could do it professionally.
“Growing up, I used to listen to a pirate radio station, and that was the first time I ever heard hip hop, and I couldn’t believe people were speaking over the music rather than singing,” she recalled. “I really was affected by it even though I was really young — this was early ’80s, the beginning of rap — I always thought it was so cool and I would always do it for fun.”
When she was 17, she moved to New York City and realized she might be able to make a career doing what she had considered a hobby.
She had made a tape that ended up in magazines, gaining publicity, and it took off from there.
“I would make up rhymes that would make my friends laugh, and I never thought I would do it professionally,” she said. “It just kind of happened. Now I can’t imagine not doing it, it’s so a part of my life.”
She loved the challenge of creating rhymes and found lyrical benefits to rapping that wouldn’t ordinarily happen with, for lack of a better term, “regular” songs.
“You can make visions in your songs that you can’t do when you’re just simply singing it, which I also do and enjoy, but with rap,” she explained. “You can actually make different landscapes with your songs with things you couldn’t say when you’re singing. I love the linguistic challenge of it.”
Now she’s joined the ranks of other Jewish hip hop artists — though Kirschner didn’t grow up attending synagogue, she still considers herself Jewish and “loves” her identity — and she believes there’s always been a link between Jewish artists and hip hop.
“It’s been a longtime tradition with Jews doing hip hop — the Beastie Boys and me and the High & Mighty, they’re from Philly, too, and they’re Jews — so I think there’s always been that connection,” she said.
Now Kirschner is taking her background and heading in a new direction — with fewer curse words.
In the spring, she will release an album titled These are the Magic Days! under her new alter ego, M.O.M.
The album is geared toward children — though she added, “I made the music with that in mind where the parents want to listen, too, because I know they’ll have to be listening to it too, over and over and over again” — and the idea came to her after she had her daughter five years ago.
“Basically, when I had my child, I noticed there wasn’t a lot of great music around for kids, and I figured I’d better make some,” she said with a laugh.
The subject matter of the songs focuses on emotional intelligence, which she said isn’t really featured in music. She wrote the lyrics and melodies.
“One of the things I started studying when I got pregnant was attachment parenting, also called peaceful parenting,” she explained.
“I really wanted to nurture my kid as much as I could. I studied with doctors, [and I] learned about Emotional Intelligence, EQ. It’s your ability to feel your emotions, your ability to have empathy for others and it’s all about connection. So I wanted to put all those themes in my album but not have it be sappy or literal or kind of boring like you can imagine,” she laughed. “I really was like, ‘Nobody’s going to be able to mix up the way I do music with this kind of information,’ so I thought I have to make this record.”
Fostering that emotional connection and exploring the themes of love and empathy is important for Kirschner, and for the future generation, as she believes.
“The thing is that I feel like if we can meet the needs of our children, we’re going to grow up with a more peaceful generation,” she said. “People who don’t get their emotional needs met are the ones doing all the destruction.”
She had been raising money for the album through an Indiegogo campaign, offering incentives for donations, such as having your child star in a music video, attend recording sessions complete with transportation to the studio and snacks (if you live in New York, where Kirschner/Princess Superstar/M.O.M. now lives), among other prizes.
The campaign, which ended Aug. 12, serves as a way to achieve Kirschner’s goal of having the album available for free.
“I made this project a nonprofit project through Fractured Atlas, and they sponsor artists to be nonprofit,” she said. “I really believe in this project. Practicing this peaceful parenting with children is really going to affect our world so I’m going to make it free so everyone can have it.”
But, she added, “I can’t give this away for free unless I get donations.”
She’s already released a single and video from the album called “Put Down Your iPad, I’ll Put Down My Phone.” There will be other fun and educational videos released with the album, as well.
As for the name change, M.O.M. was a way to separate herself a bit from her other identity but also take it a step further than just “mom.”
“I also liked that you can make those initials whatever you want — Maker of Magic, Master of Motherhood, things like that,” she said.
As far as writing more kid-friendly music, making the transition from Princess Superstar to her new alter ego wasn’t as difficult as you might think.
“I just have to remember not to curse,” she laughed.
And while she will be focusing on her new project as M.O.M., that doesn’t mean she won’t continue being Princess Superstar.
“I’m going to keep making records as Princess Superstar and also as M.O.M.,” she said. “I feel I can do both. I feel lucky that way.”
You can still donate to her campaign via Fractured Atlas.
Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0740