The US rapper, singer and songwriter burst onto the airwaves last year with debut single ‘TiK ToK’. Find out more
Last year, Ke$ha says, ‘I was opening for somebody who was opening for Mickey Avalon.’ Now, the 23-year-old singer, born Kesha Rose Sebert, opens for Rihanna in the North American leg of her latest tour. Her chart-topping debut album, Animal, featured the single ‘TiK ToK’, which became one of the most ubiquitous tunes of the year, with excessive play on Dubai’s airwaves and hitting the number one spot in 11 countries around the world.
The press packet your publicist sent is incredibly thick – and the articles were all written this year. The American media has no idea what to do with me. Some of the articles pigeonhole me as just one thing, a drunk or a party girl. Some people get the joke, and some people don’t.
What’s the joke? The joke is maybe I’m being ironic and there’s a bit of being an idiot for the sake of having fun with it, you know?
Almost every article recounts the same few stories about your life. I’m an honest person, I grew up with a very honest mother, listening to very honest music. In pop music, it’s not as accepted, I guess, to be so honest.
There are some really good stories about you – breaking into Prince’s home to hand him your demo, throwing up in Paris Hilton’s closet – but why do you always tell the same ones? Um, like, I just told the stories because they were entertaining. Especially the Prince story. The reason I told that story wasn’t to show what a maniac I am. It was more to show people that I will stop at nothing to start my career.
You grew up in Nashville, where your mom wrote country songs for Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton. Then LA beckoned. When I was 17, [producer] Dr Luke got in contact with me. I was gonna go to Barnard. That’s, like, a sister school to [New York university] Columbia. [Instead,] I moved to LA.
Ever regret not going to college? Are you kidding me?! I’m on tour with Rihanna! I really loved school. For fun I would go to a college in Nashville and, like, sit in on cultural history classes. Like, I loved school.
So how do you feed your intellect now? I read and, like, last night after the show – this sounds totally not rock star – but me and my little brother, we sat in the back of my bus and watched the History Channel about the planets.
No clubbing after the concert? I don’t like going to clubs. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Wayne’s World, but I like to party in the same sense they did.
You are your party. Yeah! Like, I don’t need money. That’s where the dollar sign in my name came in. I turned it into a joke. A lot of who I am is just taking the p*** out of a lot of things.
You had some tough times as a kid: food stamps, welfare. How are you spending your new-found wealth? I bought my mom a new car. I just said: ‘Literally, you can have any car you want.’ She bought, like, a super pimped-out minivan. I already have, like, the coolest car known to man, my gold Trans Am. You’ve seen it in the ‘TiK ToK’ video.
Like you’ve said, your album is based on your life. It’s so honest, seriously. Love it or hate it, it’s just real s***. Like, there’s a song on my record called ‘Kiss N Tell’. That’s about when I got cheated on.
How’s the dating going? Um – I got ho’s. [Sings the Ludacris lyric] “In different area codes.” I have my boys, but nothing serious. I just like people.
The New York Times said ‘TiK ToK’ represents “the complete and painless assimilation of the white female rapper into pop music.” Do you see Animal in those terms? That’s a really flattering statement, but it never was my intention to be seen as a rapper. Taking from my influences, like Blondie and the Beastie Boys, I guess somehow I had become a rapper without even knowing it.
Is that the Ke$ha sound we’ll keep hearing? You might. I like that I’m singing these pop songs that are doing well on pop radio. My stuff is all about personality, which means people are responding more so to my personality than, like, vocal chops. Which is a bummer ’cause I can sing like a motherf*****.
Do you feel like an actor who happens upon a successful persona and then struggles against it? There is always that with your first record. Following up is a very important step in becoming the legend that I plan on being.
You’ve said you believe in past lives. What do you want to come back as? An astronaut. Or maybe I can just be one later in my life. I actually think this is my last lifetime. This past-life regressionist said that I’ve been preparing for this lifetime for many lifetimes. I feel pretty satisfied with how this one’s going. I wouldn’t mind just turning back into stardust after I’m done with this one. Animal is available now in stores. For more information on Ke$sha, see www.keshasparty.com