Smith: Kesha’s release of ‘Praying’ highlights growth, legal battles with Dr. Luke

Moriah Ratner | Senior Staff Photographer

Kesha's latest album "Rainbow" is currently available for pre-order, it comes out on Aug. 11, 2017.

UPDATED: Aug. 1 at 12:56 p.m.

It’s been seven long and drama-filled years since Kesha released her most popular hit single Tik Tok. “Praying” is her first new solo release in five whole years. She has come a long way, evolving from an artist with a party girl image, to a strong, emotional woman who can change the contract-controlled music industry.

Kesha signed with Dr. Luke’s production company in 2005 when she was just 18 years old. Dr. Luke convinced her to drop out of school and move to Los Angeles to develop her career as an artist.

Their relationship started to strain as they had different images for her music and for the direction of her sophomore album “Warrior”. Kesha wanted the album to have a more rock and roll feel, while Dr. Luke wanted it to have the same dance-pop sound that her past releases had. This led to Kesha’s public statements that she basically had no creative control over her music.

It got more complicated after Kesha entered a rehab facility, and began telling doctors that Dr. Luke abused and sexually assaulted her. She filed a lawsuit in October 2014 claiming sexual harassment and unfair business, while Dr. Luke fought back and claimed defamation. This led to her request to end her Sony contract, accusing the record label of harming her career.

The point is, now Kesha is back, despite all of these hardships and conflicts with Sony and Dr. Luke, with an absolute emotional banger that makes you want to cry your eyes out. Seriously though.

She has been in a back and forth legal battle with Dr. Luke since 2014, but has used that emotion, pain and distress to find thhe strength to write a song.

“It’s a song about learning to be proud of the person you are even during low moments when you feel alone,” she said in a Billboard article.

Many people have doubted Kesha, as an artist, since the second she entered rehab and made allegations that Dr. Luke flat out denied. She is proving naysayers wrong by channeling the emotions that destroyed her and putting them into a song — a comeback.

Lines like, “I’m proud of who I am, no more monsters, I can breathe again,” and “you brought me through flames and you put me through hell,” show how far she has come as a person and as an artist. There is so much sentiment, passion and strength in the way she sings the track, getting louder and louder as the song goes on.

Kesha’s new song is eye opening for artists’ worldwide who feel stuck in their contracts without creative control. Labels’ controlling an artist’s vision has been a major ongoing dispute with record labels in the music industry.

Artists and music industry individuals sometimes feel that record labels create deals that are often artist unfriendly. Though Kesha is free to work on music without Dr. Luke, she is still signed to his name at Sony, which means he will profit from anything she releases under him. It’s this sort of artist-label relationship that makes artists feel like they are legally being held captive.

Kesha’s legal battle has helped the music world realize that there is record label corruption and change needs to come out of her struggles. She is motivation for artists to stand up for themselves and their creative rights within a label. It also opens doors for artists who have been through so much pain to put that into music instead of hiding their emotions.


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