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Growing up was a struggle as Kesha’s mother had financial problems. “We were on welfare and food stamps.” Kesha recalled, “One of my first memories is my mom telling me, ‘If you want something, just take it.’”
At four, Kesha went with her mother (a former punk-rocker singer) to Nashville, where her mom had landed a songwriting contract. Kesha subsequently spent a lot of time in studios, and her mother encouraged Kesha’s interest in music. “I thought everyone grew up in a recording studio.”
At 17, Kesha quit high school and moved back to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. She said, “…which was crazy because I was enrolled in an International Baccalaureate program and was going to go to Columbia University and study psychology.”
Her favorite all-time record is Bob Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline.”
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A story that has now become musical lore states that Kesha paid off a gardener to get inside Prince’s house to leave a demo for him. While he didn’t get back to her, it speaks to her sass and determination. Kesha did, however, land a few jobs as a back-up singer to the likes of Brittany Spears and Paris Hilton.
Kesha’s big break came from an uncredited cameo on rapper Flo Rida’s 2009 hit “Right Round.” She said, “When I first heard my voice on ‘Right Round’ on the radio, I started screaming and crying. I may seem kind of crazy, but behind it all I have my shit together. I’m working really hard to make this happen and it’s nice to see that hard work pay off. I mean, three years ago I was stealing canned vegetables from the dollar store to survive.”
Afterwards, Kesha landed a record contract and released her first single “Tik Tok.” Her debut album “Animal” hit the charts in 2010.
Kesha is sometimes criticized for her song’s messages of alcohol and partying, especially given her young fan base, but Kesha said, “I’m not a babysitter. It’s their parents’ responsibility to take care of them.”
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She said that women should be able to sing about the same things as men. “Men sing about strippers, sex and drugs and it’s praised and glorified. When women sing about these things, we’re automatically demonized as sluts and drunks. It’s not true.”
She added, in regards to her song “Die Young,” if she were to die tomorrow, “I’d probably walk down to the closest metal bar, make out with some dudes, and then I’d probably just hang out with my cat.”
Kesha lives in Los Angeles.