"I'm just an imperfect and flawed human being and I feel like we should all be allowed to be human and accept ourselves because self-loathing doesn't do anything for other people and it doesn't do anything for yourself."
Kesha has always been and always will be a powerhouse of emotions and vocals. She is now back with a new album ‘Gag Order’ where she reveals a softer side of her compared to her early party hits.
In a candid conversation with tmrw, Kesha opens up about life on tour, her aspirations for the future and more.
How has touring impacted your creative process and songwriting?
I think touring is like a house you build around the album. And the album is the foundation. So the music is the foundation and the touring and the promoting and all the visuals stuff, that’s the house you build around it to protect it. I think of it also as really beautiful kind of, the last in the cycle of the completion of a work of art is when you give it away and when you’re singing along with it, to people and I know the words, that feels to me, almost like this cycle. It’s like the birth of something that’s going to live in the world. You know, these records are my children. I don’t have any other kids. So it feels like I just gave birth to this beautiful child of mine. It kind of makes it feel like that now. The first night of the tour makes it feel like it’s officially not mine anymore and now belongs to everybody else in the world.
Have you experienced experiences on the road that influenced the themes or styles of your music in any way?
Oh, absolutely. I think everything I see during the day. I usually go to the local art museums and experience the local foods and after the shows go to the local bars. So, I think that wherever life takes you, that’s an inspiration to wherever you’re gonna go.
Touring can be very mentally and physically demanding. Do you have any strategies or rituals you follow to care for yourself?
On tour, I don’t drink. I try to get as much sleep as possible. Although when you’re living on a bus that can prove to be pretty difficult. I drink a lot of green juices and I try to get in the sunshine and fill my brain with nature and art.
Your musical journey has evolved over the years. What aspects of your artistry do you feel have remained constant and how have you embraced change and growth as an artist?
Things have changed, everything has changed. You know, time exists. I’ve grown into a mature adult woman.
Your music often carries empowering messages. What inspired you to become such a vocal advocate for self-acceptance and empowerment, and how do you hope your music impacts your audience?
I decided to be a vocal advocate for self-acceptance because I’m in the business of writing songs. That’s my nature, my coping mechanism. It’s second nature to me. And you can’t write songs while trying to uphold this impossible perfectionism that we try to create. We try to create this idea of perfection. I found myself living in this world and writing songs and so many people are connecting to it. I’m just an imperfect and flawed human being and I feel like we should all be allowed to be human and accept ourselves because self-loathing doesn’t do anything for other people and it doesn’t do anything for yourself. There’s nothing good that comes from self-loathing, guilt and shame. I feel like once you can just speak freely and honestly, a lot of things open up energetically. Let’s reframe healing.
And how do you hope that your music impacts your audience?
I hope my music inspires people to be themselves and be full of love for themselves and the people around them and their lives. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the ups and the downs. I share sides of my life that are not always pretty because I feel like especially now we live in a society where on social media we always put our best face forward. The times we’re having the most fun and that quite frankly isn’t realistic and it’s not balanced. Nature thrives in balance and you cannot always be having the best fucking moment of your entire life. I wish we could be but that’s not how the energy of the earth works. For all darkness, there’s light. These are laws of physics. So I just think being real is very healing I believe.
How do collaborations influence your creative process and are there any collaborations that you’re still hoping to pursue in the future?
I feel like it’s always beautiful to find another artist who you connect with. It’s the highest form of a compliment someone can give to you as an artist wanting to collaborate so I love collaborating with the right people. I’ve had many collaborations in the past that filled me with so much confidence. When I worked with Dolly Parton or when I worked with Iggy Pop, are two people that I have looked up to as to how to be the artist that I wanted to be since I was a little kid. So to collaborate with them was a huge deal for me just energetically. And so, looking to the future. I can’t wait. I’m just going through such a humongous life shift this year. And I’m feeling free for the first time since I was 17 years old. I’m open to collaborations but in particular who that would be? I’m open, I’m excited. I’m not committing to any specific direction until I feel an intense call from my intuition that I know what genre of music it is gonna be. So right now I’m in that exploratory phase. I’m open to collaborations that make sense. And then I’m also open to some weird collaborations. I’m kind of just open absolutely. But on my bucket list would be Rihanna, Beyonce and Cardi B.
How do you navigate the balance between sharing your stories and maintaining a sense of privacy or boundaries in your public life?
I think that my particularly my life story is not built for someone who wants privacy. Like pretty much everything I’ve ever gone through has been such on a public stage, for whatever reason. So I’ve just had to get used to being comfortable being myself while people watch. And I think that goes back to your other question about how I became an advocate for self-acceptance. And it’s because in my life, there’s not a ton of privacy and I think, even in my life, more so than other singers and songwriters. Like I’ve gone through some things that have really had me in places where I feel like I have no semblance of privacy. So I’ve had to just get comfortable with myself.
And what advice would you give to aspiring artists navigating the complexity of the entertainment world?
I would tell them to get a great team around them. Have an excellent lawyer. Have an excellent business manager. Have an excellent manager. Only surround yourself with people you trust. I would say even if you trust them, put in the work to verify the trust. Trust and verify and set yourself up in a position to be surrounded by people who make you feel like they can be a safe container and space for you to be the most childlike version of yourself.
Besides music, are there any new ventures or artistic plans that you’re exploring or planning to pursue?
Yeah, so I recently got into the world of environmental rights and took a course on the ecosystem of the ocean. I’ve been talking to the WWF to see what I can do in terms of animal welfare work. I have been a huge ally to the LGBTQ-plus community. So I’m thinking about opening a drag bar in my hometown in Nashville, Tennessee, where there was recently, a drag ban. I am starting to write a musical. And I’m just seeing what the world throws at me that I find exciting, but gay rights and animal rights. I’m starting to dive more into that work.
Your connection with your fans often referred to as Animals is remarkable. How do you cultivate and maintain such a strong bond with your fan base and how have they influenced your career decisions or creative direction?
I think that my Animals have been with me from the beginning. I owe my entire life to them. Without their support, I wouldn’t be here. So I owe them everything. And they’re always a consideration and in everything that I do, I want to make them happy and I want to be as transparent with them. So I just think when I’m writing an intimate song, a vulnerable song. I think about the people that love me most and I think about my fans. And it feels like I’m telling the story of my breakup to my closest friends and those are the songs I write. So I think that hopefully, they appreciate that. I can be so vulnerable with them, and they love me through it. It’s been a really beautiful relationship throughout my career and they’ve been there for me through some really hard times.