Kesha: One Vote Really Can Change Everything

Kesha's latest single, "Here Comes The Change," is a hopeful anthem for trying times. Here, she shares the message behind it.

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I know many people from my generation are cynical about politics — and I don’t blame anyone for that cynicism. The current situation in our country, where every day the news brings word of yet another attack on civil rights for marginalized people, and where political polarization has made it difficult to even have conversations about the issues, is enough to make anyone want to wash their hands of the entire process. But the key thing to remember is this: If we don’t participate, if we don’t make our voices heard, things will only get worse. In order to create the lasting change we want, we have to stay involved and above all, we have to vote.
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This feeling is at the heart of the new song, “Here Comes the Change,” that I wrote with Wrabel and Drew Pearson for the new feature film inspired by a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “On The Basis Of Sex.” When I was first approached to write a song for the movie, I thought I was the wrong person for the job. For me, songwriting is such a personal process and it is almost always inspired by things I’ve experienced in my own life. The idea that I should be writing about someone else’s life, and that person would be Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was intimidating. How could my voice matter in this context? I thought to myself.
But after seeing the film, I was inspired. It was amazing to see Ginsburg’s story of leading a campaign that successfully changed laws that discriminated against Americans purely
on the basis of their sex, as the film title suggests. In watching the film I was struck by how much Ginsburg was able to accomplish in her life, and at the same time, how much more there is to do in the fight for equality for all people. It reminded me of — and strengthened — my belief that any single person can make lasting change, starting with one small action. I wanted to do what I could to pay tribute to Ginsburg, who has spent a lifetime fighting tirelessly for equality, with no signs of slowing down. I wanted to make my voice heard, too.
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Given my platform as a musician, one of the best ways to do that is through music. I thought of how my musical idol Bob Dylan was blunt in his songs during the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War with lyrics like "There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’ / It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls / For the times they are a-changin'”. And so I wanted to try to write words that would help inspire others to rally against hate and division in a way that Dylan did.
That’s why “Here Comes the Change” starts with the line “One day I’ll be gone. The world will keep turning.... I hope I leave this place better than I found it.” Sometimes the troubles of the world are so overwhelming, it is paralyzing. And it’s true: One person may not be able to fix every problem. But we can certainly leave things better off than we found them.
We know this because that’s exactly what people like Ginsburg have done. Everyone, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Harvey Milk, who has ever made change in America started off as one person with a conviction that change was needed. They knew they might not be able to change everything, but that didn’t stop them from taking action or losing hope.
I sing in “Here Comes The Change”: “We’re Coming of Age”... This is Not a Phase... You know it’s time,” to send the message that this moment is our chance to pick up the baton and realize our destiny is in our hands.
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I don’t think of this as “political.” For me, these words are about promoting love and equality, the belief that everyone should have the same opportunity to live a safe and healthy life full of love and hope regardless of their skin color or sexual orientation or gender or religion.
In the second verse on the song I address the fact that it feels like we are fighting for the same things now as we were half a century ago, the same concept, basic human equality. But the reality is that progress isn’t a straight line and sometimes equality is challenged by people in power to remind us that freedom and progress don’t come without effort.
That’s why for the lyric video for the song, directed by Brandon Bloch and produced by Magic Seed Productions, I wanted to explore the legacy of political activists in our country throughout the years who have fought for equality and positive change. The message is that the long, proud tradition of American social activism is alive and well. It’s being passed on to the next generation. It will continue to evolve one success at a time, and is as important as ever. At the end of the video we brought in volunteers from HeadCount, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people to register to vote and we set up a URL to guide people how to register. (If you still need to register to vote please visit https://www.headcount.org/Kesha)
I hope the song and the video reminds you that we don’t all have to loom as large as these heroes to make a difference. We can all vote and speak up for what we believe in. We can all have a positive impact on our shared future.
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If you believe in these things like I do, then I hope you will register to vote and make your voice heard this November. When people in positions of power attack the progress we have made toward full equality it's our duty to go out to the voting booth and show them that is unacceptable. Together we can prove to our leaders and the rest of the world that we will not tolerate challenges to equality and freedom in our country.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it best: "There is still work to be done." This fight is far from over, but my will is far from gone.
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