In 2005, producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald convinced a 17-year old Kesha Rose Sebert to dropout of high school in Tennessee and relocate to Los Angeles to record under his label, Kemosabe Records, a branch of Sony Music. She worked with Gottwald on several projects leading up to her 2009 breakout hit, “TiK ToK,” sang under the moniker Ke$ha. “TiK ToK” became an instant party anthem and remains widely recognizable by teens and young adults alike. Between her first and second albums, Animal (2010) and Warrior (2012), the public began to take note of rising tensions between Ke$ha and Gottwald; it was alleged that Ke$ha was forced to sing graphic lines in her single “Die Young” following the Sandy Hook incident in December of 2012. In early 2014, Ke$ha was admitted to a rehab facility under the claims that Gottwald had sexually and physically abused her. Upon leaving rehab, Ke$ha returned to being Kesha, signifying a gradual departure from Gottwald and Sony Music.
In October of 2014, Kesha filed her first lawsuit against Gottwald for an abundance of charges including sexual assault and battery to which Gottwald countersued her for defamation. To make matters worse, when seeking an injunction to disconnect from Gottwald and Kemosabe Records, Kesha sought help from Sony Music but they disregarded her claims of abuse and harassment and her injunction was later denied in 2016. In April, her claims against Gottwald were dismissed by a judge and in March of 2017, when seeking to amend a case, a judge denied, claiming that she had not paid her royalties.
Finally in July of last year, Kesha released her first single in nearly 4 years, “Praying,” along with an essay about finding peace with herself and coping with the nightmares of her personal life and societal issues. In the wake of Hollywood scandals such as that of Harvey Weinstein, “Praying” has become an anthem for the #MeToo movement for those seeking to be heard- those who are not given a voice while their experiences need to be shared. And last night, January 28th, at the 2018 Grammy Awards, Kesha was joined by Camila Cabello, Andra Day, Cindy Lauper, Bebe Rexha, Julia Michaels, and the Resistance Revival Chorus in performing her single. In an empowering, emotional performance of solidarity and sisterhood, Kesha and her fellow singers and friends brought the audience together to address the unseen issues and oppression in both the music industry and in society. Gradually distancing herself from her past, Kesha’s performance was a testament to her talent and her strength even after such a crisis ridden past.
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