Kesha Says She Wanted New Anthem to Be "Self-Sufficient and Strong"

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Kesha

In a new essay, the songstress explains her inspiration for 'Woman' and her first studio album in four years.

The message in the chorus of Kesha's new song is crystal clear: "I'm a motherf—ing woman." Any questions? On "Woman," the second track from her upcoming Rainbow album, releasing on Aug. 11, the singer does not mince words. The song dropped on Thursday morning, a week after Kesha unleashed another empowering anthem, the ballad "Praying." 

On her latest trip, Kesha, joined by the Dap-Kings horn section, makes it plain who's in charge with a bouncy soul pop track that drives home a ladies first message. "I buy my own things/ I pay my own bills/ These diamond rings, my automobiles/ Everything I got I bought it, boys can't buy my love," she sings over a bouncy piano line and hand-clap beat. "I do what I want/ Say what you say/ I work real hard every day/ I'm a motherf--ing woman, baby, all right/ I don't need a man to be holdin' me too tight." 

The soul-kissed song was written with Drew Pearson and Wrabel and produced by Pearson and Brody Brown. It's accompanied by a video in which Kesha gets back to her signature good-time persona, taking the wheel of her classic Cadillac in a red cowboy suit and dancing in a gold lamé outfit with matching cape as she rocks a club with her best Mick Jagger moves and lyrics about how the men need to stay in the backseat to make room for her ladies.

In case the message about who runs the world didn't come all the through, she sings, "Don't buy me a drink, I make my money/ Don't touch my weave, don't call me honey." The song is the second original solo track Kesha has released since 2013, following a long hiatus from airwaves due to an ongoing lawsuit against former mentor/producer Dr. Luke. The 30-year-old pop star has been involved in an ugly years-long legal battle with Luke since October 2014, when she filed a suit against her producer, alleging sexual assault and battery; Luke has denied the allegations.

Like "Praying," the message of "Woman" is one in which Kesha takes full control of her narrative by using her signature killer pop instincts to tell the story of finding her inner strength and beauty. The good time video was co-directed by the singer and her brother, Lagan Sebert, and shot at the Oddity Bar in Delaware. 

For her first album in nearly five years, Kesha worked with a wide variety of collaborators, including Ben Folds, Ricky Reed (Phantogram, Meghan Trainor), Wrabel (Adam Lambert, Afrojack), the Eagles of Death Metal, Dolly Parton and her mother, Pebe Sebert.

In an essay written for Rolling Stone, Kesha explains the inspiration for the song and for the album, which she says taps into the "raw, organic" vibe of such musical influences as Iggy Pop, the Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, T Rex, James Brown, the Beatles, Sweet and Dolly Parton, who duets with Kesha on "Old Flames (Can't Hold a Candle to You)." 

"It was such a beautiful experience to write such a strong female empowerment song with two men," she told the magazine of working on "Woman" with her two male collaborators. "Because it reinforces how supportive men can be of women AND feminism. That day was one of the best writing sessions of my life. It was pure, raw joy. I have never had such a wonderful and hilarious work day as I did that day. It was one of those days I'll remember forever, because it brought me back to why I wanted to ever start making music."

Kesha says the new album is the closest she's come to the music that has always inspired her, and that she's overcome the fear she used to have of trying to run in the same circles as the musicians she's always admired. "With 'Woman,' I hope my fans will hear that wild spirit still strong inside me, but this time it was created more raw, spontaneously and with all live instrumentation, which I found was a huge reason I loved the records I did love," she writes. "There were one or two or 12 different people playing real instruments together, and all that real human energy is exciting and very fun to listen to. I wanted this song to capture that organic, raw, soulful sound and keep the imperfect moments in the recordings because I find the magic in the imperfections."

She says that touring over the past year with her live band The Creepies has allowed her to tap into a raw energy without all the production and distractions of her past tours. "I was really feeling that conviction one particular day while I was stuck in traffic on my way to the studio and out of nowhere I felt the urge to scream, "I'm a motherf—ing woman,'" she says. "By the time I got the the studio, I was chanting 'I’m a motherf—ing woman.' The two men I was writing with that day didn't quite know what to do with me. I proclaimed again: 'I'm a motherf—ing woman'! Then Drew Pearson got on the piano and Wrabel started laughing. I told them, I'm not f—ing with you — this is the mood I'm in — and this is the song we are writing today."

Click here to read the full essay.

This story first appeared on Billboard.

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