Kesha tattooed the words “Live Free” across her knuckles on August 30, 2017, a few weeks after releasing her third album Rainbow. It took five years for Kesha to release the album due to the legal battles with her label, and having it out in the world marks a major step forward for her. She posted a picture of the “Free” tattoo on her instagram and wrote:
funny how words take on such important meaning once you start living and find yourself looking for the perfect letters to make up the perfect word to make up the perfect feeling…..
Freedom means a lot to Kesha, especially since she’s had to fight so hard to gain creative control over her music and be freed from producer Dr Luke. She signed to his label Kemosabe Records when she was 18 years old and all of the songs that she released on her first two albums Animal and Warrior were subject to his approval. Kesha wrote over seventy songs for Warrior, most of which were scrapped, and also began working on an album with The Flaming Lips that she was not allowed to release. Fans began demanding that the label set Kesha free from Dr Luke and shared their support for the #FreeKesha movement.
Dr Luke’s control over Kesha went beyond their creative differences. In October 2014 she filed a lawsuit outlining all of the emotional, physical, and sexual abuse that she suffered. She alleges that Dr Luke drugged and raped her, and that his abuse caused her to have an eating disorder. Unfortunately most of Kesha’s claims were dismissed by a judge. She had held her silence for so long that the alleged rape was past the statute of limitations. Even worse, Kesha is now having to defend herself in court against Dr Luke’s counter-claims that she has defamed him and damaged his career.
Though the legal battle is ongoing, Kesha was finally able to release an album that fits her own creative vision. The album Rainbow and it’s lead single “Praying” were both nominated for Grammy Awards — Kesha’s first.