After five years, Kesha’s releasing new music. The first single, “Praying,” is being hailed as a strong, uplifting song from a singer still fighting for her freedom from a producer she says abused her.
That producer, Dr. Luke, released a statement making sure there’s no question he and his label, Kemosabe, played a role in the album.
A sample lyric: “I had to learn how to fight for myself/and we both know all the truth I could tell.” That seems to be a pretty clear statement on her ongoing legal battles.
This is Kesha’s first full album since filing a lawsuit against Dr. Luke. One of the key points of contention in this legal saga is whether Kesha can record free of his influence and involvement in her recording work. He and his legal team vow she’s free to move forward and release music. She’s argued she wouldn’t get the support from her label and would have to work with him while still under contract with Kemosabe.
Not Quite Done Yet
Even with this album’s release, set for August 11, Kesha remains contractually obligated to release two more with Kemosabe. Unless, of course, courts start ruling in her favour and release her from her decade-old contract.
Dr. Luke, through his attorneys, has released a statement making is clear that not only is he still involved in her work, he played a considerable role in the writing and producing of this album.
“The reality is that for well over two years, Kesha chose—and it was entirely her choice—not to provide her label with any music. Kesha was always free to move forward with her music and an album could have been released long ago had she done so. She exiled herself,” according to the statement.
Kesha eventually submitted 22 songs “created without any label consultation which were not in compliance with her contract.” By her team’s admission, the songs “needed work,” the statement continues. Over the last several months, her team and the label worked together to select the strongest material and finalize the album.
“A&R representatives of both Kemosabe and RCA have provided Kesha with detailed feedback in writing and in person on the tracks she provided to help her further develop the material,” the statement continues. Kesha “agreed with Kemosabe and RCA on a list of producers who will work with her on these tracks, a studio has been reserved for these sessions and a budget for certain work provided.”
This Seems Weird, Right?
This might be standard operating procedure for any artist with a label and producer. But it could look like someone trying to assert his role and authority in the life and creative output of a singer trying to break out from underneath a controlling figure’s authority. When was the last time another producer or label felt the need to speak out and point to their involvement in a singer’s new album? Nothing comes to mind.