Kesha hasn’t held back from divulging details about her legal battle with Dr. Luke since 2014, but she disclosed even more information in a new interview with the New York Times Magazine released Wednesday (Oct. 26).
Discussing everything from the lawsuit to the troubled beginnings of her career, Kesha left us with seven details that give a little more understanding of the struggle she’s still dealing with years later. [Editor’s note: Dr. Luke’s camp refutes much of what Kesha said in the profile; see his lawyer’s response here.]
Her fans are under the impression that she’s a free woman.
Kesha has recently performed some shows around the country to keep her career alive amid the court battle — but what fans don’t realize is that it’s actually her way of making money to fund the lawsuit. After encountering some fans (known as her “Animals”) following one of her shows, she discussed the confusion with NYT Mag. “They were like, ‘Oh, my gosh, you’re free,’ and I was like, ‘No, sweetheart, I love you, but no, I am not, and I don’t know where you got that information.'”
She has 22 songs in her portfolio ready to be worked on.
Amid the legal battle, Kesha has written and recorded 22 songs at her own expense, including songs called “Hunt You Down,” “Rainbows,” “Learn to Let It Go,” and “Rosé,” all of which the article briefly previewed. She said she submitted the songs to Sony earlier this summer, but her representatives told the writer that Sony never gave any true feedback for the songs.
It was her choice to not record music during the lawsuit.
Dr. Luke has already responded to the New York Times Magazine article in a statement via lawyer Christine Lepera, which claims the songs “were not in compliance with her contract” and were “in various stages of development.” Prior to mentioning the 22 songs, though, Lepera insists that it was “entirely [Kesha’s] choice” to not provide the label with any music, adding that she “exiled herself” in this situation.
Kesha might actually be allowed to release music after all.
The article said Sony informed the writer they had provided Kesha with outside producers to move forward with some of the in-progress songs, with Kesha and Kemosabe Records agreeing to work on around a dozen of them. Sony added that it “has made it possible for Kesha to record without any connection, involvement or interaction with Luke whatsoever” — but Kesha’s camp said that wasn’t the case.
She says Luke put pressure on her to get skinnier, which led to her eating disorder.
As stated in her legal filings, Kesha said that around the time of the release of her album Animal (January 2010), Luke became verbally abusive to her, constantly criticizing her weight in public settings. He even once called her a “fat [expletive] refrigerator.” “I was under immense pressure to starve myself,” she told NYT Magazine. “And I tried to and almost killed myself in the process.” This pressure only got worse in the following years, Kesha said, with her self-consciousness spiraling into helplessness, and she ultimately decided to check herself into rehab in 2014.
It was Luke who pushed her to create the party-girl persona she once had.
While writing her hit “Tik Tok,” Kesha and Dr. Luke faced some disagreements in the styling of her music. Kesha told NYT Mag that she specifically remembers Dr. Luke saying, “‘Make it more dumb. Make it more stupid. Make it more simple, just dumb.’'” After she suggested the “Boys try to touch my junk” lyric as a joke, he said it was “perfect.”
She’s eager to release a ballad.
Unfortunately, as long as Kesha is under the contract she’s currently fighting, there’s a clause that declares she must remain “reasonably consistent in concept and style to the artistic concept and style” of the music she originally made. If Kesha does get the opportunity to record and release music the way she’s pushing, she’d love to show the world the artist she’s wanted to be this whole time. “To this day, I’ve never released a single that’s a true ballad, and I feel like those are the songs that balance out the perception of you, because you can be a fun girl,” she said. “You can go and have a crazy night out, but you also, as a human being, have vulnerable emotions. You have love.”
This article first appeared on Billboard.com.