In a revealing new profile with The New York Times magazine, Kesha opened up about the pressure to maintain the party girl image she was best known for early on in her career.
The “We R Who We R” singer told the magazine that her former producer, Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald), with whom she’s currently embroiled in a messy legal battle, wanted Kesha to be seen as “fun.”
“Something that was always told to me is: ‘You’re fun. We’re going to capitalize on that,’” she said. “I was like, ‘I am fun, but I’m a lot of other things.’ But Luke’s like: ‘No, you’re fun. That’s all you are for your first record.’ ”
The 29-year-old also recalled Gottwald telling her to dumb down her music, the song “TiK ToK” in particular.
“I remember specifically him saying: ‘Make it more dumb. Make it more stupid. Make it more simple, just dumb,’” she said. “I was like, OK, ‘Boys try to touch my junk. Going to get crunk. Everybody getting drunk,’ or whatever, and he was like, ‘Perfect.’ ”
Not only did maintaining her image require Kesha to simplify her lyrics, she also said she was “under immense pressure to starve myself.”
“And I tried to and almost killed myself in the process,” she added.
Kesha checked herself into a treatment center specializing in eating disorders in 2014. She’s since been very open about her struggles with body image, even calling out trolls who try to shame her.
While she was in rehab, Kesha wrote songs to help her through the tough situation. When she left, she decided to take the dollar sign out of her name, which seemed like the first major step toward her reinvention.
“I was taking back my strength, and I was taking back my voice, and taking back my power, taking back my body. I’m just taking back my [expletive] life.”
To read more of her profile, head here.
UPDATE: 3:45 p.m. ― Dr. Luke’s lawyer, Christine Lepera, released the following statement in response to The New York Times’ profile of Kesha.
The New York Times Magazine profile piece that ran today unfortunately has many inaccuracies.
This article is part of a continuing coordinated press campaign by Kesha to mislead the public, mischaracterize what has transpired over the last two years, and gain unwarranted sympathy.
Kesha filed a shock and awe complaint of alleged abuse against Luke Gottwald in 2014 ― for contract negotiation leverage. It backfired.
She never intended to prove her claims. She has voluntarily withdrawn her California complaint, after having her counterclaims in New York for alleged abuse dismissed.
Nevertheless, she continues to maliciously level false accusations in the press to attack our client.
The reality is that for well over two years, Kesha chose—and it was entirely her choice—not to provide her label with any music.
Kesha was always free to move forward with her music, and an album could have been released long ago had she done so.
She exiled herself.
It was not until months after the denial of her injunction motion – for the first time in June and July 2016―that Kesha started to provide the label with music.
She provided 22 recordings created without any label consultation which were not in compliance with her contract, were in various stages of development, and which Kesha’s own team acknowledged needed work. Then, and for the last several months, the label has been in discussions with Kesha and her team to choose the best music, create additional music, and work on the tracks created.
A&R representatives of both Kemosabe and RCA have provided Kesha with detailed feedback in writing and in person on the tracks she provided to help her further develop the material. Kesha has also agreed with Kemosabe and RCA on a list of producers who will work with her on these tracks, a studio has been reserved for these sessions, and a budget for certain work provided.
The creation of an album is a process, however what has clearly been communicated is that the aim is for a release date as early as possible. It is in the economic best interest of the label and Mr. Gottwald to put out a top selling album, and that takes time. In fact, the label suggested an early release of an advance Kesha track. It was Kesha’s team who rejected this proposal.
Kesha’s claim in the article that she has no ability to earn money outside of touring is completely rebutted by well documented public court records which apparently escaped the article’s attention.