Ladies and gentlemen, Kesha *can* come to the phone right now—because she’s back and better than ever! Our girl surprised us all this summer with the depth and realness she showed on her new album, Rainbow, and now, Kesha reveals even more in her latest interview with Rolling Stone. While she steers clear of any talks about her lawsuit with Dr. Luke—Rolling Stone’s Brian Hiatt said she didn’t so much as utter his name—the reinvented singer gets real about beating an eating disorder and settling into her new sense of self.
Read on for the highlight reel, and check out the full (and v. detailed) interview here.
She’s finally showing us her real self
Now that her days of Auto-Tuned pop are in the past (confession: we still enjoy a good jam out to “Tik Tok” or “Your Love Is My Drug”), Kesha is letting her real self shine—and she’s stoked that people are responding so positively.“I feel like myself for the first time ever,” Kesha says. “I made a record I’m extremely proud of, from the bottom of my guts—I excavated the most gnarly lyrics that were so difficult for me…I feel like I’m being seen for what I actually am, and people are OK with it.”
But she’s still protective of Ke$ha, her old self
Hiatt notes that instead of disowning her old music, dismissing it as juvenile, or blaming Dr. Luke or the industry at large for crafting a false image of her, Kesha insists that “Tik Tok” and her other pop hits were just a reflection of her younger, wilder self. “I loved what I was doing when I was doing it,” she says. “It was so much fucking fun! I wouldn’t change all the Worst Dressed lists, I wouldn’t change the mohawk, I wouldn’t change all that shit. I’m proud of myself for being that ballsy young girl that was ready to take life by the balls.”
She’s so over the idea of being “perfect”
It’s not just the Auto-Tune that Kesha is done with: it’s the whole idea of being perfect. She tells Hiatt that she doesn’t know how to handle the word ‘perfect.’ “[It’s] a tricky word,” she says. “Because it’s like, what the fuck is perfect? And who gets to decide? Like, they can shove it up their ass.”
Even after getting healthy, she still “felt like a loser”
Kesha’s struggle with bulimia and anorexia, which she’s now recovered from thanks to her time in rehab, stemmed from the heaviness of that very word: perfect. “I really just thought I wasn’t supposed to eat food…pop stars can’t eat food—they can’t be fat,” Kesha says. And what’s worse than that is the fact that the sicker she got, the better people would say she looked. “They would just be like, ‘Oh, my gosh, keep doing whatever you’re doing! You look so beautiful, so stunning,’” she says. Even after she admitted herself into rehab and got her health back, Kesha admits that she still felt “like a loser.” It wasn’t until an unnamed friend from the music industry—who had just won several Grammys—gave her a call that she began to look at everything differently.“He was like, ‘Congratulations to you…who cares about my Grammys? You just saved your fucking life,’” she recalls. “And I just was blown away by that, because it made me look at the whole thing totally differently.” It was then when she realized,“Oh, wait. I did just take my life into my own hands and choose life over a slow, painful, shameful self-imposed death. And I need to stop just being so fucking mean to myself.”
She still feels like the outcast sometimes
Back in middle school, Kesha felt out of place. She was an artsy kid from a quirky family, Hiatt notes, and would get bulled a lot by the “popular kids.” And now, years down the road, when she’s “sitting at awards shows next to Rihanna and Katy Perry and all that,” she still feels like she doesn’t belong. “I just felt like so the outcast, the same person sitting at the lunch table,” she says. Hiatt points out that “Spaceship”–the last track on her new album—touches on this, as Kesha “imagines a return to some alien planet where she will finally feel at home.”
She has major love for Taylor Swift
“[She’s] a fucking sweetheart,” the artist says of T-Swift, who donated $250,000 toward Kesha’s expenses for her legal battle with Dr. Luke. “Very, very sweet, very, very genuine, extremely generous, picks up the phone every time I call her. My mom doesn’t even always pick up the phone!”