Kesha is still forbidden from releasing new music until her legal battle with Sony is fully resolved. Luckily, she's performing live again and on her own terms.
Earlier in Kesha's career, when she used a dollar sign to spell her name and worked beside Dr. Luke to create the biggest hits in her catalogue, she was encouraged by the producer-turned-accused-rapist to dumb down her lyrics and her overall image.
In an interview with New York Times magazine, Kesha recalled penning her multiplatinum smash “TiK ToK” and sharing it with Luke.
The 29-year-old said,
Something that was always told to me is: 'You're fun. We're going to capitalize on that.' … I remember specifically him saying: 'Make it more dumb. Make it more stupid. Make it more simple, just dumb.' … I was like, OK, 'Boys try to touch my junk. Going to get crunk. Everybody getting drunk,' or whatever, and he was like, 'Perfect.'
The pressure to include lyrics that felt out of character for Kesha continued well into the creation of her second LP, Warrior.
She told the Times,
Lyrics that would say: 'Get that heifer out my face. I'm going to pull your ponytail back because you don't know me, bitch, you phony trick,' …I was like, 'OK, not going to sing that. I will not sing those words. Like, no.' And then there was this argument about it.
Kesha's fans inspired her to fight back and maintain some semblance of authenticity.
I looked at people in the face, and they said: 'You helped me.' 'You helped me come out to my parents.' 'You helped save my life.' And all of a sudden, I, unbeknown to me, am changing the world in a positive way, and now that I've gained the knowledge that this is possible through music, that's the most important part of it.
Perhaps the strength evidenced by Kesha's evolution is what inspired artists like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Adele to leap to her defense and pop veterans like Ben Folds to help her begin recording her truest contributions to the music world thus far.
To this day, I've never released a single that's a true ballad, and I feel like those are the songs that balance out the perception of you, because you can be a fun girl. You can go and have a crazy night out, but you also, as a human being, have vulnerable emotions. You have love.
The singer admitted she personally funded the recording of 22 songs waiting to be mastered and shared with fans, including one called “Rainbow,” which the journalist profiling Kesha, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, dubbed “big and sweeping” with “a Beach Boys vibe” and vocals “so rich and so real that it jerks you out of your expectation of a pop song.”
Due to the ongoing legal battle, it remains unclear, though, when all of us will finally be able to experience the new Kesha.