Just when the summer was beginning to look bleak, Kesha released a new single. Called "Praying," the song diverges from the pop star's standard party-banger sound — it's an acoustic, pop-country ballad about the power of empathy.
"This song is about coming to feel empathy for someone else even if they hurt you or scare you," Kesha, née Kesha Rose Sebert, wrote in an accompanying essay for Lenny Letter. "It's a song about learning to be proud of the person you are even during low moments when you feel alone. It's also about hoping everyone, even someone who hurt you, can heal."
The song is Kesha's triumphant — and very catchy — return after years of legal battles regarding Sony music producer, Lukasz Gottwald, who is primarily known as Dr. Luke. Sony appeared to have cut ties with Dr. Luke in April of this year, which seemingly gave Kesha the option to start making music again. (Part of the lawsuit regarded Kesha's contract with Kemosabe Records, Dr. Luke's Sony imprint. "Praying" was released through the same imprint, although Dr. Luke is no longer CEO.) All this this happened atop the pop star's battle with an eating disorder, which she detailed in an essay for Teen Vogue, and her ongoing quest to vanquish internet trolls.
In an exclusive interview with Refinery29, the 30-year-old admitted that internet meanery had gotten under her skin, but that it was not going to deter her. "I harness my emotions when I write music and I believe that tapping into your emotions is how you create great art, so I haven’t really thickened my skin," she said at the time. Instead, she took the criticism and made lemonade, as they say. She made a whole new album, actually, called Rainbow that's about — and this is from Kesha herself — the moment when the rainbow peeks out from behind the clouds.
The music video for "Praying" begins with a monologue. "Am I dead?" Kesha says, as she lies on a piece of driftwood in the middle of the ocean. "Or is this one of those dreams? Those horrible dreams that seem like they last forever? If I am alive, why? If there is a God or whatever, something, somewhere, why have I been abandoned by everyone and everything I've ever known? I've ever loved?"
Rainbow arrives August 11th. Watch the official video for "Praying," below.
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