Kesha just ended a five-year musical hiatus by releasing her new single, “Praying,” although the time in between her albums has been the complete opposite of uneventful.
Over that span, Kesha was constantly in the headlines. She entered and exited rehab for an eating disorder, performed live, served as a judge on a reality TV competition (remember ABC’s “Rising Star”?) collaborated with Zedd and most notably, sued producer Dr. Luke. Kesha alleged physical and emotional abuse along with employment discrimination; the producer countersued for breach of contract and defamation.
As the series of lawsuits between Luke (born Gottwald) and Kesha (nee Sebert) played out in court, the singer claimed that if the court wouldn’t allow her to break her contract with Kemosabe Records, she wouldn’t be able to release new material. The court disagreed and technically with her new single and announcement of a forthcoming album, the court was correct.
But it should be noted that in April, Sony severed ties with Gottwald, who is no longer the CEO of Kemosabe Records. Despite this, a representative for the producer issued a statement to Billboard following the song’s release that said there were no changes to Kesha’s contractual recording obligations.
“As legally required all along, the album was released with Dr. Luke’s approval by Kemosabe which is a joint venture label of Dr. Luke and Sony,” it claimed in part.
Just a few weeks ago, a defamation lawsuit in a Tennessee court that Gottwald levied against Kesha’s mother, Pebe Sebert was dismissed. A joint statement from both parties said Ms. Sebert “admits she has no firsthand personal knowledge of the events occurring on the night of the alleged rape.”
While the separate legal battle in New York continues, it will not hold up Kesha’s return. “Praying” is an earth-scorching ballad that according to the artist, channels her feelings of “severe hopelessness and depression.”
“This song is about me finding peace in the fact that I can’t control everything — because trying to control everyone was killing me,” she wrote on Lena Dunham’s website Lenny. “It’s about learning to let go and realize that the universe is in control of my fate, not me.”
Ryan Lewis, who is best known for his work with rapper Macklemore, co-wrote the single. “Rainbow,” Kesha’s new LP, drops August 11.
From February 2017: GRAMMY Producer Of The Year nominee Ricky Reed talks about working in-studio with Kesha.