Kesha is Changing the Conversation about Assault

Cody Corrall | July 2017

This is an installment of Eff Your Boys Club, a bi-weekly column highlighting and discussing the marginalized voices in music.

CONTENT WARNING: This piece discusses sexual assault.

Kesha is turning over a new leaf. Formerly known as “Ke$ha”, the hot mess, party-girl of pop music, Kesha Rose has changed her sound and style dramatically with her newest single “Praying.”

The single is the first look at Kesha’s upcoming album Rainbow, which will be her first studio album since Warrior in 2012. It is set to be released on August 11th of this year, and will feature appearances from Dolly Parton and Eagles of Death Metal.

Kesha’s absence has been mainly due to an ongoing lawsuit with her producer Dr. Luke. Kesha was signed to Dr. Luke’s label Kemosabe Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment, when she was 18 years old. Dr. Luke produced both of her albums, Tik Tok and Warrior, as well as her single with Pitbull, “Timber”.

 

In October 2014, Kesha filed a civil suit against Dr. Luke for sexually abusing her “to the point where [she] nearly lost her life.” She also claimed physical and emotional abuse since the start of their professional partnership. The suit stated that Dr. Luke had drugged her on two occasions and raped her. Dr. Luke denied any claims of abuse, and proceeded to sue Kesha and her mother, Pebe Sebert, for defamation and wanting to get out of her multi-album contract.

"All I ever wanted was to be able to make music without being afraid, scared, or abused," Kesha said in a statement. "This case has never been about a renegotiation of my record contract — it was never about getting a bigger, or a better, deal. This is about being free from my abuser. I would be willing to work with Sony if they do the right thing and break all ties that bind me to my abuser."

Over the three years of this lawsuit, fans and pop stars alike have been showing solidarity to Kesha. #FreeKesha became a trending topic, Taylor Swift donated $250,000 for her legal troubles, and fellow pop stars like Adele and Lady Gaga commended Kesha for her bravery.

Kesha dropped the suit in 2016 to focus on her music. After the release of Rainbow, which is under Kemosabe Records and Sony Entertainment, Kesha will have to make two more albums with Dr. Luke to complete their contract. However, since the ongoing legal battles, Dr. Luke’s contract with Sony has expired and he is no longer the CEO of Kemosabe Records as of April 27th, 2017. It’s hard to say what the future of Kesha will be with Dr. Luke or Kemosabe Records due to their messy legal past.

Kesha released the single “Praying” on July 6, 2017, along with a powerful music video. The song is high on emotions while also showcasing Kesha’s raw vocal talent. The video starts off with a monologue of her unresolved feelings from the past few years. “Why if there is a God a whatever, something, somewhere. Why have I been abandoned by everyone and everything I have ever known?”