To say it has been a long time coming would be an understatement, but after years of being embroiled in painful legal battles with her former record company, Kesha has finally been granted access to release music once again. Fans have been eagerly anticipating the singer’s return to the charts for years and with her new single and music video for “Praying” dropping today, we’ve confirmed what we always knew; Kesha was worth the wait.
The emotional video opens open with a voice-over from Kesha, who speaks about one of the lowest points in her life. Shot in black and white, a shipwrecked Kesha is floating in the middle of the sea as she says, “Am I dead? Or is this one of those dreams? Those horrible dreams that seem like they last forever? If I am alive, why? If there is a God or whatever, something, somewhere, why have I been abandoned by everyone and everything I’ve ever known? I’ve ever loved? Stranded. What is the lesson? What is the point? God, give me a sign, or I have to give up. I can’t do this anymore. Please just let me die. Being alive hurts too much.”
The music then cuts in, with “Praying” and Kesha coming back to life in colour. Displaying her incredible vocal range, Kesha belts out her new single, with the lyrics most likely directed at her former producer Dr. Luke, who Kesha alleges sexually and emotionally assaulted her during their time working together. Singing, “I’m proud of who I am / No more monsters, I can breathe again / And you said that I was done / Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come,” Kesha’s writing abilities shine through after years of being silenced.
Filled with colourful and religious imagery, “Praying” shows Kesha running through a junkyard being chased by men in pig masks, sitting at a piano, and rummaging through an overflowing closet before standing up from her floating shipwreck and triumphantly walking on water, leaving behind her past demons.
Directed by Jonas Åkerlund, Kesha’s joyful and free-spirited nature are front and center on screen, but this time around the singer is older and wiser, having been beat down by life, but not broken.
Writing for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter, Kesha said, “I know that I was never abandoned by my fans, my animals, or my family, but when you are depressed — really, truly depressed — you feel like you have nothing. Even having my kitties sleeping next to me in my darkest of hours couldn’t bring me light. It is in these moments when even the most cynical among us are forced to turn to something other than ourselves — we turn to prayer, or something like it. You look past your shame, past your desire to hide, and admit you need help.”
“For me, God is not a bearded man sitting in the clouds or a judgmental, homophobic tyrant waiting to send everyone to eternal damnation. God is nature and space and energy and the universe. My own interpretation of spirituality isn’t important, because we all have our own. What matters is that I have something greater than me as an individual that helps bring me peace. This is one of the reasons why I love swimming way, way out into the middle of the ocean and just letting the sea carry my body. It is my greatest form of surrender to the universe, a full-body prayer — or meditation.”
As always, Kesha uses her platform to encourage her young fans to stay positive and be kind to themselves even when they’re at their lowest. “It’s from our darkest moments that we gain the most strength. There were so many days, months even, when I didn’t want to get out of bed. I spent all day wanting to go to sleep, and then when I did fall asleep, I had horrible night terrors where I would physically cry and scream through the dark. I was never at peace, night or day. But I dragged myself out of bed and took my emotions to the studio and made art out of them. And I have never been happier with a body of work as I am with this record.”
“I hope this song reaches people who are in the midst of struggles, to let them know that no matter how bad it seems now, you can get through it. If you have love and truth on your side, you will never be defeated. Don’t give up on yourself.”
In addition to “Praying,” Kesha has also announced her first new album in five years. Rainbows will feature Eagles of Death Metal on two songs, with the full album available on August 11. The new disc will also include Kesha and Dolly Parton performing a duet of Parton’s song “Old Flames Can’t Hold A Candle To You,” a special track to Kesha, with her mother Pebe Serbert writing the song back in 1978. It’s a track Kesha has covered many times before and we can’t wait to hear the singer team up with Parton.