Kesha is back and more badass than ever. There's no denying that the 32-year-old pop star has had a rocky few years, but this week marks her bright, colourful return to the spotlight. With a new album on the horizon, she's got a positive outlook that puts her happiness and art first, pushes her to try things she's scared of (like a new hair colour), and gets back to her roots. Translation: No one is going to hold her down.
On Monday, she performed her new single, "Raising Hell," for the first time, and last night, she debuted two more songs at a party thrown in her honour by Jack Daniels — and that's just the start. Her new record, High Road, is coming out this January, and in an interview with Refinery29 yesterday, she let details about her very first beauty brand slip. Yes, you read that correctly: Kesha is putting the finishing touches on a brand-new line of colourful makeup, aptly named Kesha Rose Beauty.
We can't spill all the details about Kesha's makeup brand just yet or transport you to her whiskey-fueled L.A. party, but we can say this: Get used to seeing her dominate. Learn more about what Kesha has to come, below.
You dye your hair dark brown in the “Raising Hell” video. Is it fair to assume that this is more than just a video, and you’re consciously evolving your look for this new chapter of your life?
“I wanted to try something I was scared of. For whatever reason, my femininity has always been wrapped up in having blonde hair. It's an old tape I've been playing myself for far too long, so I went dark. The character in the video is devoted to being good and just taking it, but then she finally succumbs to the fact that not all human beings [are perfect]. In the video, it symbolises that I am a flawed human and I make mistakes, so now I am going to raise some hell, which you’ll see with this album."
Is raising hell a theme on the new album?
"There are so many different themes. A lot of it is about reclaiming my joy, but also reclaiming all different sides of my voice; all the ways I can sing and want to try to sing. Also, talking shit. A lot of people call it rapping, but I call it shit-talking. I reclaimed that side of my voice, too, which I felt that somehow I wasn't allowed to do — like, because of everything I've been through I shouldn't be happy, joyous, and free, but that is total bullshit. Every single human being deserves to be happy.
"[The record is not] PC or PG-rated, I am making it with a very kind heart and pure intentions, but I am also talking about real stuff that's just honest. It's me not being afraid of human emotions. Like, I have a song on the record about having a boyfriend and a good friend cheat. I am not very nice about it, but that's the true human emotion of how you feel when your boyfriend has sex with one of your best friends, so I don't pretend."
Between your freckles and mismatched eye makeup, everyone is loving your Billboard cover. What was the inspiration behind the look?
“I have always loved playing with beauty as its own art form. More so, as I grow up, I see that beauty standards that are set by society are bullshit, and we don't have to adhere to any of it that we don't agree with. I encourage people to have fun and play with not only your clothes but art and makeup.
"I actually have a makeup line coming out called Kesha Rose, and it's all my favourite bright, insane rainbow- and earth- and nature-inspired colours. I don't even really like using the word 'beauty' because it's more about expressing yourself. It's about redefining what beauty means to you. Beautiful is happiness and happiness is beautiful, so that's what I am trying to encourage with the makeup line and with the record.
"Quite frankly, I feel like I am just a floating aura and my aura changes colours from day-to-day, and I want to be able to express that with my [makeup]. It's not about feeling perfect or trying to look perfect or perfectly symmetrical or anything like that, it's about being happy and having fun. So, I want people to play with it and have fun with it and hopefully feel like they're expressing their auras and souls through makeup and not so concerned with looking like some perfectly symmetrical, filtered Instagram thing."
You're working with Jack Daniels to launch its Tennessee Apple Whiskey. If feels very in line with your "TiK ToK" lyrics (Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack/'Cause when I leave for the night, I ain't coming back), was that the inspiration?
"I mean, you can take a hillbilly out of Nashville, but you can't take the Nashville out of the hillbilly [laughs]. I will always, in my soul, love Jack Daniels. I have been drinking it since before I was allowed to say I was drinking it! It's my go-to whiskey, so I feel like it's so cool to come full-circle. I just want this record to inspire fun and joy and magic and all the good feelings, and that's why it's satisfying to finally do a big event with Jack Daniels."