It’s been a long four years for Kesha Rose Sebert. From controversy over her song “Die Young” in light of a school shooting, to her lengthy legal battle against record producer Dr. Luke amid allegations of abuse and assault, she’s often made headlines for things that are not so happy. Today, that changed, and so has Kesha. Gone are the days of the dollar sign in her name and the sleaze pop that introduced her to the world in 2009. What we have now is a freckle-faced beauty who is moving on with her life and letting the world hear the voice that was long-hidden behind Autotune and sometimes empty lyrics.
“Praying,” her first solo single in nearly four years, is a slow-burning meditation on recovery after total devastation. Helping Kesha on her journey are Ryan Lewis, Ben Abraham, and Jonas Akerlund, the latter of whom brought the song to psychedelic life with his signature music video style. When I first heard the title, I assumed it would be a song where she drags a hater with the old “I’m praying for you” adage. But that’s not what this is. In a Lenny Letter posted today, Kesha explains that she found peace through prayer, and that meditation and acceptance are what saved her. “Praying” is Kesha’s wish for someone that they’re somewhere finding their own peace: “I hope you’re somewhere praying.”
“I had to learn how to fight for myself / And we both know all the truth I could tell” is one of my favorite lines from the song, which starts as a piano ballad and progresses into a full-blown gospel song with percussion and choir background vocals. And Kesha’s voice! I’m so sad that we were robbed of it for so long, but I’m happy that she’s gotten it back. Aside from her performance at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, the world has never heard her sing like this.
Judging by the internet’s reaction this morning, this era is getting off to a fantastic start, and I can’t wait to get the full album on August 11. It’s called Rainbow, and is described by Kesha as “the most raw and real art” that she has ever created. The last few words of her Lenny Letter are simple but powerful. She’s probably waited forever to say them, just as we’ve waited forever to hear them: “We made it <3. I love you all so much.”