Ke$ha on New Album: 'I Wanted to Give the Finger to Anybody Who Thought I Was a One-Trick Pony' (Q&A)
Ke$ha’s latest, Warrior, will be released on Dec. 4 via RCA Records. Executive produced by Dr. Luke and featuring a slew of collaborations (including Flaming Lips, fun. frontman Nate Ruess and will.i.am), a single -- "Die Young" -- whose video features the sexpot as an apocalyptic cult leader, and one track where the unpredictable singer has sex with a ghost, it's among the most highly anticipated albums of 2012.
With it, comes a fully conceptualized campaign that includes an “illustrated photo journal and scrapbook” called My Crazy Beautiful Life and her own Casio Baby-G watch line, which Ke$ha describes as “kind of like a magical glitter universe from another dimension.” You could say the same of the 25-year-old Nashville transplant, who's turned countless heads with her outrageous fashion and raised plenty of eyebrows with her sexually-charged, party-centric lyrics ("Tik-Tok," "We R Who We R" and "Blow" are just a few examples).
As for Warrior, it offers more of the same -- and that's a good thing. Ke$ha recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about making the album and what exactly the situation is with that ghost.
The Hollywood Reporter: Did you have a specific vision for your new album when you started working on it?
Ke$ha: I wanted to bring some rock 'n' roll into my music -- as much as I possibly could while still writing pop music. Because I innately write pop music. And I love pop music. I know for some people, it’s a dirty word, but for me it’s the most amazing thing ever… But I want to bring guitars and some stuff I like to use offstage onto my record. Collaborating with Flaming Lips, Ben Folds, Iggy Pop, Julian Casablancas helped bring a little bit of that vibe to my music.
THR: Why so many collaborations?
Ke$ha: There are a lot but that was my intention. I made a wish-list of all the people I wanted to stalk and who I loved and wanted to collaborate with. I wanted to show how people can have a preconceived notion about somebody that’s not necessarily accurate. Nobody has to adhere to any boundaries, especially me. So I wanted to give the finger to anybody who thought I was a one-trick pony.
THR: Did you try to bring your live sensibility into the studio?
Ke$ha: I play guitar, so that’s why I wanted to incorporate more guitar on this record. Also when I’m offstage I listen to very different music than I play so I wanted to sonically incorporate some of the music that I listen to. Working with Iggy Pop [on “Dirty Love”] was insane. Probably one of the best experiences of my life for sure.
THR: Did you play guitar on the record?
Ke$ha: A little bit, but I think Dr. Luke turned it down because he’s a better guitar player than me. He shreds.
THR: What inspired your songwriting this time around?
Ke$ha: I did some traveling before I made the record. I just turned off my phone and went with a backpack on my own and was traveling around. I try to travel as much as possible, whenever I have a day I go hide in the woods… For me the most spiritually enlightening thing I can do is go spend time with animals. So I just went and spent as much time with animals as possible before I started making my next record. That was grounding and also kind of enlightening. So you’re going to hear some songs on the record that are about my philosophies on life. I also went to past life regression -- I wrote about that -- and I had an experience with a ghost.
THR: Hold up -- past life regression?
Ke$ha: Yeah. I went into it being super skeptical and I wasn’t fully buying the idea that it would even work on me because I’m already OCD and my brain is ADD. There’s all sort of neuroses going on up there so I was like “This isn’t going to work on me!” And then it worked. I definitely had some very intense experiences. I don’t know really how to explain it but something happened.
THR: Can you explain what happened with the ghost?
Ke$ha: I think it’s been blown a little out of proportion but I definitely had a couple of oddly sensual experiences with the supernatural.
THR: Where does the title for the album come from?
Ke$ha: Warrior was actually inspired by talking to my fans and hearing their stories. I have a lot of gay and lesbian and transgender fans and I heard a lot of stories on Twitter and around the world about how they have to struggle with bullying and things like that. There’s a gay suicide epidemic. So that was inspired by hearing my fans stories and wanting to give them back the strength to be a warrior. It’s a strong word. That’s the energy of the record: strong, fearless, power. I wanted to hopefully inspired my fans with it.
THR: What can fans expect from your illustrated memoir?
Ke$ha: A lot of photos. There’s text too, but there’s a lot of pictures. And it’s pictures that nobody else has seen that me and my family has spent the last year digging out of our basement. Photos we haven’t even seen in ten years. There’s photos of me as a baby, photos of me struggling to make it waiting tables, me with ex-boyfriends, me wasted at 9 a.m. in Vegas, me crying because I haven’t slept in three days and have strep throat and have to play a show. There’s everything. It’s really out on the table because I figure in this day and age with camera phones and social media there’s no real privacy anymore. So I said “Fuck it, I’ll give you everything.”