Ke$ha: 'I'm an animal'
It's been a wild two years for dance-pop star Ke$ha.
But if anyone can handle wild, it’s this energetic, plainspoken 24-year-old blonde.
Though she had been writing songs and providing background vocals for the likes of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears since 2005, it wasn’t until Ke$ha was featured on Flo Rida’s massive 2009 hit, Right Round, that her career started to take flight.
Her debut album, Animal, opened at number one on the Billboard Top 100 and has gone double platinum in Canada since its release early last year, and the first single, Tik Tok, broke the record for most digital downloads in a single week.
She opened for pop princess Rihanna this past spring and is currently close to wrapping up the latest leg of her Get Sleazy Tour with opening acts LMFAO and Spank Rock.
The tour stops in Calgary at the Saddledome on Tuesday and Edmonton’s Rexall Place the following night.
The Nashville native gets down and dirty about her live show, critics who don’t take her music seriously, not to mention the pressure to look and act like a cookie-cutter pop star.
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Q: You’ve been going full throttle for a while now. Have you had any chance to sit back and reflect on your success?
A: I haven’t had more than an hour, truly an hour, of reflection time. I have so much to do. I think I’ve been given the most amazing opportunity and I’d like to take advantage of it and work as hard as I can while I have the opportunity. So I don’t sit down and reflect a lot.
Q: How prepared were you for your fairly quick rise to fame?
A: I don’t think you can ever be prepared for something like this … But I think everything happens for a reason. Of course there were moments when I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. But you learn from it.
I think exactly where I am today is perfect and I’m really, really lucky. The tour is going really, really well. And to be on tour with a lot of my close friends is exciting. We go around and party for a living and inspire other people to have a good time. I think it’s all worked out.
Q: Your opening set on the Rihanna tour was pretty eye-catching. What are you offering up on your headline tour?
A: It’s bigger, it’s longer. I have more dancers, crazy lights, costume changes. It’s just a really good time. I always say it’s a sensory assault. From the time Spank Rock comes through LMFAO to when I get on stage, it’s wildness.
Love it or hate it, I pretty much designed and created everything you’re going to see. I picked the openers, I designed the lights, picked the costumes, wrote every song you’re going to hear. I play drums, I play guitar, synths, you name it, I had a hand in it.
Q: Where do you think your music fits in? With all the pain, suffering and hatred we read about every day, I think we need a party monster like Ke$ha to even things out.
A: My first record is called Animal for a number of reasons, but mostly because animals play with each other even as adults. We as human beings have trained ourselves to wake up, go to work, eat, go to bed and do it again the next day.
But I do think it’s important to have moments of fun. I don’t think we value it as a society. We don’t put away time for fun, people dismiss it. But I think it’s really important for our brain and endorphins. When you dance, I think it’s a really positive thing that is overlooked. If I can take somebody who’s had a really bad day at work and put them in a slightly better mood with a song, I think it’s magical.
Q: Of course, the downside of writing songs about drinking, dancing, partying and chasing cute boys is that you’re not always taken seriously as an artist.
A: Of course I’ve felt that. But it’s youthful, irreverent, celebratory record and if people can’t see beyond that, they’re the ones missing out. I think judgment and cynicism are two really tragic qualities in humans.
But when you come to my show you really see that it’s a judgment-free zone. Everybody is covered in glitter, ripped-up stockings, blue lipstick on, truly just coming there to go wild and be themselves. And those are really the people I’m speaking to. I speak to dreamers and young people, and people who are young at heart and free spirits.
They can come to my show and look crazy and act like total jackasses and it’s fine. I encourage people to be raw and visceral.
Q: You don’t seem self-conscious at all.
A: I’m far from perfect. But I think we should all celebrate who we are. We don’t have to be perfect to do that. I wrote We Are Who We Are because there are a lot of gay teen suicides and that’s so tragic to me that people feel they can’t be themselves so they have to kill themselves, something is seriously ass-backwards in a society where people can’t feel like they can be themselves.
Q: You’ve been criticized at times about your weight and your less-polished style. How much pressure do you feel to fit into the pop star mould?
A: Sometimes I try to look hot. But other times I just don’t give a f***.
A lot of times I go out looking like a homeless person and that’s okay. Because I’m more concerned about what I’m doing. Yesterday I went rock climbing and if someone was to take a picture of me I wouldn’t have looked like a pop princess. But quite frankly, I just don’t give a f***.
Just because I sing pop music I’m not going to have my hair and makeup and wear high heels every time I leave the house. I’m not ready to commit that much time or effort to doing that. I’m an animal.
Q: How do feel when magazines publish unflattering photos of you or when you read negative comments about yourself?
A: I don’t pick up trash magazines or go on the Internet except to check my e-mail. I try to steer clear because again I feel that cynicism, judgment, hatred and negativity is just a nasty cycle to fall into. I’d rather just be oblivious and positive and try to perpetuate super positive energy.
I hope she comes back with a new single soon when the tour is over. She has hinted on Twitter that something might be happening soon, saying that she "has a surprise brewing". Maybe it's the new song she recorded with Doctor Luke and Benny Blanco earlier this summer.
Btw, the Alice Cooper/Ke$ha collab "What Baby Wants" has leaked in full recently (except for 3 seconds missing at the end):