A year ago, Ke$ha Sebert was a woman on a mission: The popster was determined to overcome her lifelong fear of ghosts, so she consulted the Internet, located every haunted hotel she could, and mapped out a spectral cross-country trip for herself. "And they were all spooky and creepy," she bubbles, giddily. "But there was one in San Antonio that I know was real — it was an old whorehouse, and this one ghost whore haunts one specific bedroom there. So of course, I stayed there. And in the middle of the night, I felt her touch my whole body as the room got really cold, and I woke up and she was at the foot of the bed, just standing there."
"But I wasn't scared," swears Ke$ha, who performs sans surname. "I felt bad for her. So there was nothing scary about it. I was sad."
The story illustrates the critical argument that's dogged the 23-year-old diva ever since her first single "TiK ToK" topped charts in 11 countries last winter, paving the way for her Animal debut album to bow in at No. 1: Is Ke$ha for real? Her music brazenly trumpets a libidinous, hard-partying lifestyle, with the oft-vocodered artist rap-crooning conversational trash-talking lyrics over sugary dance-pop melodies and backbeats. On her recent Saturday Night Live appearance, she came out onstage in a space suit for "TiK ToK," then returned to perform her latest single "Your Love Is My Drug" under black lights in phosphorescent body paint. All to a general 'WTF?!' consensus around Monday morning water coolers.
Is the act all a careful calculation? Not as much as Katy Perry's. Truth is, Ke$ha was raised by a singer/songwriter mom, Pebe Sebert, who encouraged her to follow her muse from a young age. In person, she's a genuinely likable eccentric, who was still struggling to get by even after music Svengali Dr. Luke discovered her at 18. It's why she added a dollar sign to her name, she says — she found it both funny and ironic that her voice was featured on "Right Round," Flo Rida's worldwide 2009 hit, "when I literally didn't have enough money to go out to a real restaurant and eat. I didn't even have a car."
She holds up her hand to reveal the same '$' tattooed between her thumb and forefinger.
"I have it there because that's where me and all my friends would shake the salt and take our $1 shots of tequila together, because me and my friends were all beyond broke," she recalls. "That was my life for the longest time — each day for four years, I'd walk to this restaurant where — if you bought a $1 shot — you got three tacos, free peanuts and a beer. And if all your friends are there? What's better than that? So this record, I wrote everything on it, and I had fun with it. And I wanna be a ringleader in the battle of people not taking themselves so seriously."
Animal does credit some co-writers — top-flight hitmakers like Max Martin and Benny Blanco. But in the end, it's definitely Ke$ha's campy, confident show, one that reflects the most important lesson her mom taught her: "Don't ever take no for an answer, with anything," says Ke$ha. "People always told me 'No, no, no — you're not gonna be a pop star, there's no way.' And I'm like 'Yeah? Watch me!' The answer is never no."
This is awesome! Excited about the new music and adventures for his year!
Thanks so much!!!
Hah! Similarly, one, if famous, should not die in December, as all those who passed…