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Music Interview

Ke$ha

By
Ke$ha
"Before I leave, I brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack." "The party don't start until I walk in." "Gonna smack him if he's getting too drunk." No, these aren't excerpts from Kate Moss's secret diary, but choice lines from Ke$ha's debut single 'TiK ToK'. Intrigued by this brazen hussy of a pop starlet – who also sang on Flo Rida's 'Right Round' earlier this year – we hooked up with her for a chat. Before you read on, a brief warning: Ke$ha shares her favourite word with Joan Rivers and she really isn't afraid to use it.

How would you introduce Ke$ha to the uninitiated?
"I'm all about irreverence and youthfulness and playfulness and taking the p**s out of life. We're in a recession and there are wars happening, so when it comes to music, I wanna give people something that brings them joy. There are artists who do more serious acoustic stuff, and I really admire them, but what I want to bring to the table is just f***ing fun. Just because I do pop doesn't mean I'm a c**t, you know."

How did you land your record deal?
"I was signed by an amazing producer called Dr Luke. I was just sitting at home one day and he and Max Martin called my house. I didn't understand how amazing it was at that moment, but then I looked online and I was like, 'Oh my God, this is a big deal!' They found out about me through a friend of a friend and signed me pretty quick."

Did you get nervous heading into the studio with such proven hitmakers?
"I used to, but then I realised we're all artists and we all get insecure. You're never going to produce great music from a place of insecurity. You just have to go in there and lay your balls on the table and do whatever you can do to write a great song. It either happens or it doesn't. Y'know, everybody writes sh***y songs sometimes."

What's the story behind 'TiK ToK'?
"I think one of my biggest strengths is being able to tell my story in a way that's unique from other artists. 'TiK ToK' is about how I woke up one morning surrounded by all these gorgeous women who I live with. I was like, 'This must be what being P Diddy feels like'. That was the first line of the song, so I took it to Dr Luke and he said, 'Well, what did you last night with all these beautiful chicks?' 'TiK ToK' became the story of this one epic night out just tearing it down with my best friends."

Are you a real party girl then?
"I wouldn't say party girl, because it doesn't necessarily have to involve getting f***ed up or doing anything specific. I have a really good time doing whatever I'm doing. I can have a party in a f***ing cardboard box."

In the song you sing about brushing your teeth with a bottle of Jack Daniels.
"F**k yeah!"

And "kicking boys to the kerb if they don't look like Mick Jagger".
"I mean, like, back in the day, you know? He had great style, lots of talent and embodied this kind of androgyny too. F**k yeah!"

Is 'TiK ToK' a good indication of what we should expect from your album?
"I think so. The video and song are really fun and that's what I want people to associate me with. There are mildly more serious songs on the record, but at the start I just want people to have f***ing fun. With later singles, I may go a little deeper. The album's pretty much finished. I just have to finish mixing it in time for early next year."

You also sang on Flo Rida's 'Right Round'. Were you surprised it became a smash?
"I was surprised because me being on that record was kind of an accident. I walked into the studio, he was there, we were hanging out, I recorded it and he liked it. I kind of thought, 'Whatever, he might get someone else for the final version'. I thought it sounded cool, but every time you finish writing a song you think it sounds cool, otherwise you wouldn't finish it. I was just fortunate enough to be on a song that really was that cool to a lot of people."

You've written for other artists too - including Miley Cyrus and The Veronicas. Do you decide at the time if you're writing a Ke$ha song or for someone else?
"It depends. I mean, I recently wrote a song for Rihanna but the label might want me to take it because they think it's very me. I don't want to give away songs that sound too much like my own style. That said, I love the fact that I see The Veronicas singing 'This Love' on MTV2 all the time. I wrote that song about someone I really loved and I think it's sweet that it can live on even though it won't be on my record."

Who would your ultimate collaborator be?
"Prince. I wanted him to produce my record so I broke into his house. Well, I didn't break in, so much as sneak in under the fence. Memo to Prince: Lock your doors! I got into the house, up the elevator and into a huge ballroom where he was playing guitar. It was f***ing awesome."

What happened next?
"He just kept playing 'cause he was in the middle of band practice. I got to watch him for like 45 minutes before I got kicked out - it was like a private concert! His house is amazing and, yeah, everything was purple. He was amazing too - small and amazing."

It just goes to show what can happen when you're feeling ballsy.
"F**k yeah. So many people in this business tell you no and you just have to give them the finger. If I listened to anybody who ever told me no, I wouldn't be sitting with you now. A lot of people think it's a stupid, unachievable wish to get on the radio, but those are the people you give the finger to. I know I have."

'TiK Tok' by Ke$ha is out now.

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