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WILD CHILD KE$HA MAY BE TOUGH TO TAME, BUT THERE’S MORE TO HER THAN PARTY ANTICS 


Ke$ha is known for being cheeky, irreverent and juvenile. With songs that glorify teenage recklessness, off-colour lyrics that make no effort to subtly skirt around sex, and a message that screams, “Drink! Fuck! Party ’til you drop!” she might be the best proof that the PMRC could have had way back when they were huffing and puffing about uncensored Public Enemy albums leading to moral degradation in youth.

And yet, when Naked Eye caught up with the young rebel while she was on tour with Rihanna, Ke$ha showed us a different side, talking about heavy stuff like social responsibility, the oil spill, and how she considers herself a role model for misfit youngsters. The term “role model” might turn a few heads when applied to someone whose lyrics advocate brushing your teeth with a bottle of whiskey, but Ke$ha is able to cover serious ground without taking herself too seriously.

After spending some time with Ke$ha, we think that there just may be more to this teen idol than bad dental-care advice.

So how crazy is your life right now? Did you get into the groove yet? A little bit. I have to say this has been the most regimented, normal part of my life for the past year. I feel like I have a little bit of a schedule for the first time. It’s still too crazy for human beings to get used to, but you do get used to sleeping in until two or three and then sound-checking and playing late shows and driving all night. The weirdest thing is sleeping on something that’s moving all the time, so you have these crazy dreams of like, riding animals through the air. I’ve watched The NeverEnding Story one too many times so I have dreams of riding on some giant animals through the crowd.

At least it keeps your creative flow going. Absolutely. I can’t really sleep anymore, because I get excited about everything. But when I do it’s always crazy dreams and it’s definitely been inspiring. I was just in Tokyo and I had this craziest dream, woke up and wrote an entire song and made a track in like three hours.

Let’s talk about taking responsibilities as a role model. This summer, you helped out Larry King taking calls for the oil spill. How was that? I don’t really take a lot of the celebrity bullshit very seriously, but the thing I do appreciate and I do take really seriously is that I can talk about things that are really important to me, and potentially make significant changes, whereas before I would not, when I was really broke and just some girl living in her car, living in Los Angeles… Now I can reach people with some messages and it’s really exciting, especially with the oil spill.

I’m a Pisces, I love the water. Anything that happens with the oceans I take very personally, and I think the oil spill is devastating. Especially speaking of oil spills, I feel like we need to stop pointing fingers. It’s not just BP, it’s not just any other person’s fault. I think we’re all pretty responsible if we’re the ones that use the oil. Pointing fingers and blaming is over and we should all be personally responsible for it. That’s what I was trying to say when I was there.

It’s good to see a more serious side to you, especially since the younger generation really follows their idols, whether good or bad. Exactly, and I think it’s cool when you look at someone like me, who, I just wanna represent for the most part ridiculous fun. Then you can also see a certain side of me that will take some things seriously. I don’t take myself seriously – I just think there are things that people just need to have fun with – but I think it’s important for kids to see that there are certain things that we should take seriously, like keeping our environment healthy and respecting the arts and things like that.

Is it getting harder now that you’re very popular? Are you worried that young girls will look at you through the media microscope, and then you end up like a Lindsay Lohan or Miley Cyrus, both of whom are overexposed in the media? At first, it really blew my mind. It was a really weird thing to get used to: everything you say and do being scrutinized. At the same time, I have also done a lot of growing in the past year and realized the message I’m preaching with my music is fun and very irreverent. It’s youthful, fun. I made a record that makes people go from being in a decent mood [to] a really great mood, or inspires people to go out and have the best night ever.

I just remember growing up – there are still certain records that I think about. When they’d come on there’s no way you could possibly be in a bad mood and listen to it. I just hope I’m that to somebody. Some people get it, some people don’t. A lot of my lyrics are ironic, they’re funny.

So there’s more to you than raunchy nights and bearded boy crushes? This whole music career is gonna be an unveiling process. People have a really strong sense of this side of my personality that is really fun and really funny and really silly and crazy and wild and rambunctious. And there are other sides that will come out in time, but right now I’m really just trying to inspire people to have a good time.

After the show last night, it was so incredible, this girl came up to me and she started crying and she said she was a freak and a weirdo at her high school, and my record was the first record she’d heard ever that inspired her to be herself and not care what other people thought. It made me so happy because that’s exactly what I want. I was a fucking weirdo and if I can inspire these kids to stop caring and trying to conform and just be themselves and just be happy with it, and embrace it, love it, and go with it, and be confident, then that’s amazing! That’s exactly what I want.

Do you still have creative freedom with your overall image and music? I definitely try to cuss less when I’m performing to 15-year-olds, but that’s about it. Other than that, I’m pretty much just myself. I try to be really fun but also responsible for the role that this is taking in my life. I don’t realize sometimes that I might be talking to a 10-year-old, so I need to make it appropriate. Asides from that, it’s mostly just about respecting your audience.

I know I’m not inherently sending off negative messages. Yeah, sometimes I go out, party and drink, but I’m not telling 10-year-olds to do it. And a lot of it is ironic. I’m not a babysitter, so I’m not apologetic for anything that I do, but I also try to be respectful of the audience, whoever that is. Try not to drop the F-bomb.

You have a big teenage following. Do they try to ask you for advice when they see you? I get a lot of random questions about how this happened and what everything’s like. I guess the best advice I can give that’s been given to me is don’t let anybody tell you no. If it’s something you’re supposed to do, don’t let anybody stand in your way, don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do it. And if they do, give them the finger and do it anyways.

That’s exactly what I did for about seven years. So many people told me I couldn’t do this for every reason in the world, and I just didn’t believe them. If it’s something in your destiny, and you know it, you want it, then you need to work your ass off for it and do it. Do not let anybody bring you down.

Words by:
BURTON RICE
Photography by: KRISTIAN DOWLING

Ke$ha