Kesha’s 'Rainbow,' a musical spectacle on hope, and letting go

Ke$ha at the Today Show in New York, NY on November 20, 2012. (Creative Commons/Becky Sullivan)

In the past four years, Kesha, artist of hits like “Warrior”, “Tik Tok” and “Crazy Kids”, has gone through a personal transformation unlike any other. Beginning in January of 2014, Kesha checked into rehab for bulimia. The severity of her disorder was made worse when her producer, Dr. Luke, allegedly compared her body to a “refrigerator”. This emotional abuse escalated over the 10 years that she worked with Dr. Luke and Kemosabe Records. Over time, these comments caused a spiral effect of emotional distresses for Kesha, revolving around her producer. After checking out of rehab, she transformed from Dr. Luke’s Ke$ha, into her own image. In the latter half of 2014, she was involved in a legal dispute against Dr. Luke surrounding allegations of sexual assault, gender violence and emotional abuse. Despite her loss of the case, and the dropping of all charges, she persevered and referred to her music for a sense of hope and solace.

During her time in rehab, Kesha began working on her third studio album “Rainbow.” Released on Aug. 11 2017, this powerful outcry about past events revolves around how one must “Learn to Let Go”. Each word in her music describes a deeper personal significance inside each melody. The songs in the album display her true talent as an artist, exhibiting her true vocal range and abilities that had been previously hidden from the public eye.

The lead track, “Praying”, has a personal connection to her life and describes her journey to find “empathy on the other side”. “Praying” reveals her experience with deep issues of depression and suicide and states that, “After everything you’ve done, I can thank you for how strong I have become”. Kesha believes that our past experiences make us stronger and cannot bring us down. “Prayer” to Kesha is a sort of meditation, an introspective way to find hope in destruction.

“I think this record is quite literally saving my life,” Kesha said in an interview with Good Morning America.

Music and bright color itself have been Kesha’s outlet for hope and release, giving her a method to cope with her experiences. The first song that Kesha wrote for her album was the title track, “Rainbow.”

“‘Rainbow’ was just my promise, my letter to myself that things would get better,” Kesha described in an interview with NPR Music. “It was my mantra because at the end of a storm comes a rainbow.”

In Kesha’s eyes, “Rainbow” and the colors themselves represent hope and optimism for the future.

As well as supporting animal rights, Kesha has advocated highly for the LGBTQ community, and is proud that the title of her new album aligns with its symbol.  

Kesha’s transformation and her music overall are such powerful examples of tenacity. “Rainbow” describes her ability to let go of the past and move on, unchanged. Kesha refers to herself in her song “Learn to Let Go” as a “prisoner of the past” who “had a bitterness when [she] looked back”. Throughout her life, she has preached the idea that you do not need to live your life as a victim, yet you can move on without change. Kesha states that “The past cant haunt me if I don’t let it. Live and learn and never forget it”. She preaches the idea that we create our own destiny and states that, “As much as our past creates who we are, we can’t let it define us or hold us back.”

Kesha’s new album, “Rainbow” is not only an inspiration for herself, but it preaches positivity, hope and letting go to a larger audience who are held back by past events.


Mark Wezenski is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at mark.wezenski@uconn.edu