Kesha is many things — a singer, artist, activist, feminist, survivor, human. She’s transformed from a pop singer to a voice that can’t be silenced, as well as an advocate for equality. In a packed ballroom at SXSW, she chatted with Refinery29’s Chief Content Officer Amy Emmerich about self-image, the role of music in her life, and her undying love for animals. Here are some of her reveals.
1. She spent her 30th birthday in the dirt. For her 3-0, Kesha said she wanted to go back to basics, so she went on an African safari, where she set up camp with a small group of friends and slept on the ground next to hippos. On the day of her actual birthday, she saw two lions getting it on and thought, “My 30s are going to be dope.” She also learned that “Kesha” in Swahili means to go party all night.
2. She’s a cat lady. Kesha admitted, “Secretly, my goal is to live on an island with cats.” She also wants to have a big cat sanctuary where she rescues all cats, including ligers. “I want to be known for helping rescue animals forever.” Her love for animals has extended to her fans, who she calls “animals” because it’s what she loves most in the world. “My happiest place is when I’m interacting with animals — my fans or my cats.”
3. New music is coming. Through her art, she tries to turn everything negative into something positive. She says she writes songs every day of her life and is currently choosing between 70-80 songs for her upcoming album (coming “soon”). Music is her way of coping, and with her new tunes, she feels like she’s speaking honestly about her life for the first time. “I like it, I hope my animals like it, and I don’t care what anybody else thinks because I’m proud of it.”
4. She’s in a really healthy place in her life. After struggling with a dangerous eating disorder, she’s learned to let things go. She said she’s far from fixed, but she’s not spending every day being obsessed with something that’s unhealthy and wants to help other people with similar struggles realize that they can also find their own freedom. “I’m reclaiming my personal space, my body, my confidence, my music, my life.” She’s publicly talking about her battles and wants to “stand up for people that need people to stand up for them.”
5. She dropped the $ in her name because it isn’t who she is now. While she was in rehab for her eating disorder, she recognized that she had created an external façade of someone who always had to be strong and didn’t give any effs. During her recovery, she realized that wasn’t who she truly was, so she dropped the $ because it was part of that façade and that time of her life, and she had moved on. “But I still have a sh***y tattoo on my hand,” she joked.
6. She believes the internet should be a safe space. Online bullying is no joke, and Kesha has finally come to terms with how to deal with it. She said, “ I was making trolls and bullies the truth and my higher power.” Now, she only uses social media to connect with her fans, who she credits for letting her live her dream, and ignores all the other comments. “I’m happiest when I’m present in my real life and not concerned with my online life.”
7. She’s going back to her country roots. Kesha’s mother was a country songwriter that helped pen some of her songs like “Cannibal” and “Steven,” and Kesha originally chose to make dance pop music because it was the most rebellious genre she could think of. But her latest album is going back to her country roots and focusing more on storytelling.
8. She has a F*** You List, and it dates back to high school. For everyone who doubts or bullies her, she said, “I have this mental place I put them all. And it’s my ‘F*** You List.’” Whenever she’s feeing down, she reminds herself of the list and all the people she needs to prove wrong, and that motivates her to get up and write more music.
9. Her perfect day includes whales. Kesha said her ideal day would be spent scuba diving with whales (she has three whale tattoos), and that in another life, she would love to be a scuba dive instructor because it’s like “going to a different planet” and it makes her feel like “a pirate of the sea.”
10. If you troll any of her friends or family online, she WILL report you. “I report a**holes all the time.” She said she’s used to the negative comments about herself, but she’s really protective of her animals and people. “We have to have each other’s back. It’s all about global unity.”
11. Love will alway win. “I’m not going to let hate win. I’m going to spread love for my rest of my life, and I’m going to try to lead a positive existence. My goal in all of this is to be remembered for being a positive human being that did positive things for other people.”
What’s you favorite thing about Kesha? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photo via Katrina Barber/Getty)