Yes, Kesha! At Coachella 2016, pop star Kesha joined Zedd onstage at the music festival and delivered a powerful and memorable rendition of the producer's song "True Colors." And now we can finally listen to a studio version of that jam on repeat: Friday, Kesha and Zedd's "True Colors" hit the proverbial shelves. Thanks to Kesha's stunning vocal performance and the hauntingly relevant lyrics, the track, which is the singer's first single since 2013, is both a gut-wrenching and beautiful comeback song.
The original version of "True Colors," which features vocals by Rock Mafia's Tim James, appears on Zedd's 2015 album True Colors. On first play, the Kesha rendition of sounds like a fairly straightforward take on the first iteration of the record. However, if you break out the good headphones and pull up your go-to lyrics website and dive into the track, you'll notice it: Kesha made a few subtle, albeit meaningful changes to the words. And when you hear Kesha belt out those altered lines, it is impossible to not think about her grim legal battle against Sony and Dr. Luke.
Consider this lyric from the second verse of the Zedd version:
What we thought we knew/Has been swallowed by the truth
Versus this lyric from the second verse of the Kesha and Zedd version:
What I thought I knew/Has been swallowed by the truth
And this lyric from the final verse of Zedd version:
We’ve escaped our capture/Yet we have our masters
Versus this lyric from the final verse of the Kesha and Zedd version:
I’ve escaped my capture/And I have no master
Here's the original Zedd record, for context:
It's powerful stuff — especially considering the song came out shortly after the very public and ongoing legal battle she's been embroiled in with Dr. Luke (real name: Lukasz Gottwald), the music producer whom in October 2014 she filed a lawsuit against alleging he sexually assaulted and emotionally abused her for a period of 10 years beginning when she was 18. Dr. Luke, for his part, has denied the allegations — in October 2014 he quickly filed a countersuit against Kesha, and then in February 2016 he tweeted the following statement: "I didn’t rape Kesha and I have never had sex with her. Kesha and I were friends for many years and she was like my little sister." Additionally in February 2016, a New York judge ruled that Kesha would be unable to break her contract with Dr. Luke and Sony as she was seeking to do with her 2014 lawsuit, saying:
You're asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry... my instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing.
Sony has stated that they are committed to supporting Kesha's career following the judge's decision. Speaking to the New York Times in February, an attorney for Sony stated:
Sony has made it possible for Kesha to record without any connection, involvement or interaction with Luke whatsoever, but Sony is not in a position to terminate the contractual relationship between Luke and Kesha. Sony is doing everything it can to support the artist in these circumstances, but is legally unable to terminate the contract to which it is not a party.
When it comes to Kesha, in October 2014, the 29-year-old singer's lawyer released a statement to Billboard when she filed her lawsuit:
This lawsuit is a wholehearted effort by Kesha to regain control of her music career and her personal freedom after suffering for ten years as a victim of mental manipulation, emotional abuse and sexual assault at the hands of Dr. Luke. The facts presented in our lawsuit paint a picture of a man who is controlling and willing to commit horrible acts of abuse in an attempt to intimidate an impressionable, talented, young female artist into submission for his personal gain. Kesha is focused on moving her life and her career beyond this terrible time.
Additionally, on April 3, Dr. Luke's spokesperson released a statement to Rolling Stone.
The Court repeatedly stated Kesha is already free to record without Dr. Luke, and that she had not presented any facts supporting her claims. That's because all the evidence — including Kesha's own videotaped sworn testimony — show her allegations are false. The only thing Kesha is not free to do is to continue to lie about Dr. Luke through publicity stunts and outrageous smears, ignoring the fact that by her own free will she went to work and entered into new contracts with Dr. Luke years after this "incident" supposedly happened. Her goal all along has been solely personal enrichment by seeking to break contracts that brought her success and millions so she can enter into more lucrative ones. We look forward to our day in court holding Kesha accountable for her lies.