Kesha performed a powerful rendition of her latest single “Praying” at the 2018 Grammy Awards in a pointed reference to the Time’s Up movement.
Kesha is having a bit of a renaissance of late. Her third studio album, Rainbow, debuted at number one on the Billboard top 200 chart in the US, while the single “Praying” received universal acclaim from music critics the world as a compelling and soulful look into Kesha’s legal trouble throughout much of the current decade.
In 2014, Kesha sued her former producer, Dr. Luke, and his record label for assault, battery, and emotional abuse over the 10 years they had been working together. Unfortunately for Kesha, the two specific instances with enough evidence to actually build a case around were in 2005 and 2008, after the statute of limitations had already run out. The case was dismissed in 2016 and the judge refused to hear an amended complaint in 2017.
Kesha also began recording her third album in 2014 while she was in rehab for bulimia, a condition that she said was related to the decade of abuse. Kesha originally wanted to release the album via a different label than Kemosabe Records, the label Dr. Luke founded, but had to settle for not working with him during Rainbow’s development.
The album is full of references to the pain and hardship she endured at the hands of Dr. Luke, and many see “Praying” as either a harsh indictment against Dr. Luke or Kesha forgiving the millionaire record producer.
She certainly released a lot of emotion during her Grammy performance, backed up by fellow performers Camila Cabello, Cyndi Lauper, Julia Michaels, Andra Day, and Bebe Rexha, alongside a full choir and orchestra. And in keeping with the white rose theme of the evening, everyone wore white and Kesha herself wore a white suit with rose motif.
And while Kesha’s performance certainly seemed to capture the post-Weinstein moment, it was Ed Sheeran that took home both the Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album Grammy’s.
A woman singing about a man’s violence against her while a man wins both of the awards she was nominated for. It sure does wrap 2017 in a nice bow.