10 Questions for Ke$ha
- Jason Vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Features
The female pop music sensation with the dollar sign name - Ke$ha - broke into the public's consciousness last year with two blockbuster albums, 'Animal' and 'Cannibal,' titles aptly describing her young, rowdy-and-raunchy image.
But the 23-year-old Los Angeles native realizes that she will have to re-invent herself at some point.
'I'm always changing,' says Ke$ha, who opens her first headlining tour, the 'Get $leazy Tour,' in Portland at the Crystal Ballroom on Feb. 15.
'The past year I've changed a lot, but I don't know how my style will evolve. I'll be evolving to the day I die.'
She signed a record deal at 18, and received exposure for her work on Flo Rida's 'Right Round.'
Her hits for RCA Records, played regularly on Z100 (100.3 FM) and 107.5 FM, include 'TiK ToK,' 'Take It Off,' 'Animal,' 'Blah Blah Blah,' 'Your Love Is My Drug' and 'We R Who We R.' Upon the release of 'TiK ToK,' the New York Times wrote that Ke$ha was 'the complete and painless assimilation of the white female rapper into pop music.'
The Tribune caught up with Ke$ha - pronounced 'Kesh-uh' - as she prepared for the tour:
Tribune: It's your first tour, but have you been to Portland before?
Ke$ha: I have, I came through with Mickey Avalon about a year ago. It was fun. We went out afterward to some hipster strip clubs and had a pretty good time.
Tribune: You like the outdoors?
Ke$ha: I love snowboarding, I just got back from snowboarding in the Alps. I like to camp and rock climb and all of the above.
Tribune: What's most pleasing about your success?
Ke$ha: Hopefully I help people be themselves, and make music for people to enjoy. I've devoted my entire life to it.
Tribune: Which songs do you identify with the most?
Ke$ha: The new single 'We R Who We R.' I love that song, it captures my thoughts of being myself. The song was inspired by school harassment and stuff, and I'm kind of intolerant to hate and violence. I want to write songs to be an anthem for people to be themselves.
Tribune: What about 'Your Love Is My Drug?'
Ke$ha: It's about me and my ex-boyfriend, and our tumultuous, psychotic relationship. We'd act weird, like drug addicts with each other, calling and seeing each other all the time. I was in love at the time, and (the song) sounds pretty happy, but it's a little bit of a dark song. You're so obsessed with somebody you start acting like a weirdo. … I write about falling in love, being in love, breaking up because he's a loser, being heartbroken. I not only sing about getting rowdy, but love.
Tribune: You write all your songs?
Ke$ha: I write every song, and I've written songs for other people. The lyrical choices should be obvious, they wrote themselves. If I'm going to sing something to thousands of people and devote my life to spreading the message of a song, I should at least stand behind it.
Tribune: It's your first tour. What do you expect?
Ke$ha: I've opened for Beardo and Mickey Avalon, then opened for Rihanna. I'm just excited, having some of the best musical and writing people, we got to sit down and come up with our own ideas. It's an epic dance show, and it'll show other sides of me.
Tribune: You have a vast array of role models - Madonna, Debbie Harry (Blondie), Queen, Johnny Cash, Aaron Neville, Bob Dylan, Beastie Boys - and many have influenced your stage presence?
Ke$ha: I take nods from my personal favorites. Iggy Pop, watching his live performance, I love how he goes absolutely nuts. I love how Mick Jagger moves, strong and sexy. Alice Cooper's showmanship.
Tribune: You've described your look as 'garbage chic,' with smudgy makeup and messy hair and ordinary clothes.
Ke$ha: Yeah, I did. That was taking a page out of everyone - 'it's at least garbage chic.' Honestly, it's probably odd for a woman to say this, but I'm inspired by men - David Bowie 'Ziggy Stardust,' Keith Richards, Adam Ant, Steven Tyler. I love Steven Tyler. I'm inspired by classics and greats. I also feel like myself. I don't necessarily think my image is about (bosom) and (bum). Sometimes pop singers are well-known for being sexy, but I'm, by far, not the sexiest person.
Tribune: You have a sing-song style - you like the label of 'white female rapper?'
Ke$ha: Sure. I love it. A massive inspiration was the Beastie Boys.