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AUTHOR: Deepa Lakshmin, mtv.com
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When Kesha’s debut single, “TiK ToK,” came out in August 2009, it was a different time. Decked out in head-to-toe glitter, she belted out lyrics about brushing her teeth with Jack Daniel’s and getting her drunk text on. Eight years later, Kesha’s traded the glitter for rainbows, but she remains proud of her past. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, she opens up about her early career.

“I loved what I was doing when I was doing it,” Kesha told the magazine. “It was so much fucking fun! I wouldn’t change all the Worst Dressed lists, I wouldn’t change the mohawk, I wouldn’t change all that shit. I’m proud of myself for being that ballsy young girl that was ready to take life by the balls.”

But underneath that “ballsy” attitude, Kesha’s music held a deeper feminist meaning. For example, she revealed there was a reason why her lyrics occasionally objectified men.

“I was like, ‘I’m going to talk about men this way and level the playing field,'” Kesha explained, adding that she “truly didn’t give a fuck at moments, and that was very cool.”

Of course, things weren’t as rosy behind-the-scenes. “There were moments when I was in a lot of emotional pain,” she continued. “My feelings would get hurt, and I would just pretend like I didn’t give a fuck. It’s a front. Put on glitter, act happy.”

After dropping her sophomore album Warrior in 2012, Kesha’s career stalled during an ongoing legal battle with producer Dr. Luke, whom she alleges sexually assaulted her during their time working together. Fans and fellow artists voiced their support for Kesha, and though the legal proceedings still continue, Rainbow — Kesha’s long-awaited third album — marked her big comeback to the industry. She’s currently on her first tour in four years and shining brighter than ever. No glitter necessary.

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