Kesha’s rainbow: from lawsuits to chart-topping success

On Aug. 23, the artist formerly known as Ke$ha (now simply, Kesha), topped the Billboard 200, thanks in large part to the success of her new album, Rainbow. According to Billboard’s website, the new release has sold more than 117,000 album equivalent units and appears to be growing in popularity. This musical triumph is a far cry from where she was only a few years ago.

In the twilight of her “Tik Tok” fame, the singer/rapper’s career was weakened by eating disorders, rehab sabbaticals, and lawsuits with her record producer, Dr. Luke. Their history goes back to 2005, when a young, Kesha Sebert signed with Luke’s record label. This began a turbulent business relationship involving emotional abuse and even alleged sexual assault.

Kesha has indicated throughout the past several years that she has very little input regarding her sound and that she lacks creative control in general. The singer and her party-hard, drug-influenced sound has never really appealed to someone like myself. To find out her brand is largely manipulated by executives is nothing surprising, but nevertheless fatiguing.

Kesha and Dr. Luke have both exchanged lawsuits as the artist’s career has stalled. The former claimed sexual assault while the latter claimed defamation. Meanwhile, the singer known for her backup vocals on “Right Round” hadn’t produced an album in four years. The lawsuits were eventually dropped and cases were thrown out, as Kesha slowly began to rebuild her career.

Writing for the album began while she was in rehab. Kesha reportedly wrote 22 songs for the project, which was then finalized to 14 for the release. The album, its composition, and production are superb, and asserts itself as her best album to date. But part of what makes this album so good to me, isn’t what’s on the disc. It’s the story that accompanies it.

The hope for this album commercially, is that it performs well enough to make Kesha and her record label ridiculously rich (which it has, and will continue to do). But the hope for it emotionally, is that Kesha can prove to Dr. Luke, her label, and herself, that being authentic is good enough to sell CD’s and streams. She has never been more herself than this album, despite the stress of her rehabilitation and legal battles. Rainbow is an album that shows the world her perseverance and determination to be the artist she always wanted to be.

From being electrocuted on stage, to putting beards in her mouth, Kesha’s career has certainly been one headline-worthy, unbelievable, downright absurd account after another. The release of her new album is just another chapter in this wildly insane story. Only this time, the craziness is genuine.