Music is therapeutic for listeners and artists alike. And a sense of empathy and through impactful lyrics can form lasting connections between singers and their fans if they're made to feel seen and heard. Pop singer Kesha wrote an essay about her new song "Hymn" for Mic in which she details how the song is meant to inspire and uplift those who feel like "outcasts" in society, and why doing so is so important to her.
"I think that one of the reasons why my music connects with people who feel like they don’t fit in is because I have never fit in either — this is why the song 'Hymn' is so special to me. The longer title was 'Hymn for the Hymnless.' And when I say 'hymnless,' I’m talking about people who feel like they don’t fit in, people who feel like they don’t have a hymn."
Although Kesha goes on to say, "I hope this is one of those songs that will find and connect with people who feel like outcasts," the lyrics speak for themselves. She sings,
"If we die before we wake, who we are is no mistake/ This is just the way we're made/ You know what I mean, you on the team."
Kesha's use of the word "we" is significant in that despite all of her success, she still counts herself among the "hymnless." She wrote in her essay, "It’s a hopeful song about all of these people — which I consider myself one of — and the power that we all have when we all come together."
Kesha knows too well what it's like to be seen as different. The singer burst on the music scene in 2009 covered in glitter, dancing with unicorns, and sporting wild hair and multicolored ensembles. Seemingly undeterred by the classic looks and sounds of fellow pop singers like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera who crooned about love, Kesha just wanted everyone to party.
Yet, even while enduring an arduous legal dispute with her former producer Dr. Luke (Kesha claims Dr. Luke raped her and has tried to get out of her record contract; Dr. Luke has adamantly denied this claim and sued her for defamation), the "We R Who We R" singer has said she has become more of her true self in recent years. She dropped the dollar sign in her name and has said her new album is her most personal.
As Kesha wrote in her essay, learning that her music helped fans during their darkest hours impelled her to not only sing again, but also keep others hopeful. "This is hard for me to comprehend, and for as long as I live, no other honor will ever match that. Hearing those words from fans has changed me."
As Kesha continues to evolve as an artist, she has not lost her will to dream. Songs such as "Hymn" are a celebration of being different and loving yourself regardless of how others view you. That message of self-acceptance, hope, and love is what her music is all about.