This is the first official single to be released by Welsh singer-songwriter, Marina and the Diamonds, from her second studio album, Electra Heart. Marina described the song in a track-by track on Amazon as, "channeling the archetype of The Star, asking for adoration." The single was released on April 16, 2012.
The phrase "prima donna" is used to describe someone, usually famous, with high expectations of others who becomes angry when his or her standards or demands are not met. Opera companies originally used the term to designate their leading female singer to whom the prime roles would be given. Because of their pulling power at the box office, some of these Prima Donnas exhibited an inflated view of themselves and could be difficult to work with. However because of their talent, their excesses were indulged.
Electra Heart is a concept album centred on the titular character, who is a combination of Hollywood pin-up and Greek tragedy. Marina told The Sun that Electra Heart has four personalities, one of which is 'The Primadonna' (a beauty queen), whom she sings of in this song. They are, she said, "magnifications of certain parts of me and of every woman."
The song was produced by famed pop hitmaker Dr. Luke, who is responsible for hits by such A-list stars as Katy Perry, Rihanna and Britney Spears. Marina admitted to The Sun: "I was so scared of going into the studio with Dr Luke. He's so chilled but I was terrified. I thought I was going to puke with nerves. But I did it and now I can go into a room with anyone."
Electra Heart was originally intended to be a side project. Marina wanted to release the material under an alias, but was warned off the idea by her management team. "I called my manager in April 2011 and said, 'Hello. Can I pretend to be a totally different person?' He said, 'No. You cannot'," she tweeted. "I calmly put the phone down and screamed til eternity."