The prolific pop singer formerly known as Ke$ha was born in Los Angeles, California, to a singer-songwriter mother who often had to look after the young Kesha while performing onstage because of their low-income.
After uprooting the family to move to Nashville, Tennessee, Kesha’s mother began to notice her daughter's musical talent and frequently brought her along to the studio.
A diligent student, Kesha received near-perfect SAT scores and was set to attend Barnard College before dropping out of school at the behest of Dr. Luke and Max Martin to go back to LA in order to pursue her music career full-time.
After signing with Dr. Luke, Kesha worked as a waitress for years before finally earning mainstream exposure after being featured on Flo Rida’s hit single “Right Round” in 2008, though she didn’t appear in the song’s music video as she wanted to make it on her own terms.
Having spent the previous six years and writing over 200 songs in anticipation of her debut album, Kesha finally released the project, Animal, in 2009. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and was certified platinum. “Tik Tok,” the album’s lead single, became one of the biggest pop hits of the century!
It broke the record for the most sales in a week for a single, and spent nine weeks at No. 1, becoming the first female artist to do so since 1977. The song has since become the best selling single in digital history by a female artist, and the second-best selling overall, having sold over 15 million copies worldwide. Unsurprisingly, the song remains Kesha’s most-performed song of all-time.
Her next singles from the album, “Your Love Is My Drug,” “Take It Off,” and “Blah Blah Blah,” all enjoyed commercial success as well, with each charting in the top ten worldwide. The songs are also her second-, fifth-, and sixth-most performed songs!
Though she quickly became a polarizing figure and received criticism for her “juvenile” persona, Kesha only continued her success and philanthropy, raising nearly $100,000 through a benefit concert to aid victims from the floods in Nashville in 2010, and supporting Rihanna on her Last Girl on Earth Tour.
That November, Kesha released a new EP, Cannibal, which featured the No. 1 single “We R Who We R,” Kesha’s third-most performed song! “Blow,” her follow-up single, also achieved commercial success, and is her fourth-most performed song. That year, Kesha was named the Hot 100 Artist of 2010 by Billboard!
The next year, she embarked on her first headlining tour, the completely sold-out Get Sleazy Tour that spanned three continents!
Kesha released her second album, Warrior, in 2012. The lead single, “Die Young” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a commercial success worldwide, becoming her seventh-most performed track.
The next year, Kesha went on the “Warrior Tour” in support of the album, which also featured Pitbull on the North American dates!
The next few years, Kesha faced many personal struggles before suing her producer Dr. Luke for a number of abuses and preventing Kesha from releasing new music. However, Kesha still released a new song, “Lover” via Soundcloud in 2014, and went on to headline LA! Pride in 2015.
Kesha next made a surprise, high-profile performance during Zedd’s set at Coachella, debuting their collaborative single “True Colors.” She then hit the road on her third world tour, Kesha and the Creepies: Fuck the World Tour, and announced she was working on her third album!
In 2017, Kesha released her new single, “Praying.” The song became a worldwide hit, becoming certified 2x Platinum! The song was her lead single from Rainbow, her third album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
The album was a musical departure from songs of the past, focusing more on feminism and highlighting the singer’s musical talent rather than auto-tuning her. She received her first Grammy nominations for the album for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance!
Kesha went on the “Rainbow Tour” in promotion of the album before joining a co-headlining tour with Macklemore, aptly titled The Adventures of Kesha and Macklemore in 2018. The same year she released her documentary film, Rainbow: The Film, on Apple Music chronicling the creation of the album.
Since, Kesha has embarked on Kesha’s Weird and Wonderful Rainbow Ride, which was a five-day cruise that included many guests like Jonathan Van Ness and ended just last week!
You are who you are, Kesha, and we love you for it! Happy Birthday, we can’t wait to see what you do next!