Faces to watch 2010: Ke$ha
Like many L.A. musicians, the singer Ke$ha survived her lean early years in the city by snacking on the free food offered during happy hour at Echo Park's myriad dive bars. But the singer's situation was rather different than many of her struggling peers. She was scavenging at the same time her voice was all over the radio -- she sang the chorus hook of Flo Rida's "Right Round," one of the biggest pop singles of 2009.
"We were both working with (producer) Dr. Luke and it was an accident I was even on it," said the young San Fernando Valley native, born Kesha Sebert. "I never made any money off it, that's why I put the dollar sign in my name as a joke. But I was happy being in that bar with two dollars in change wearing clothes I found in the garbage surrounded by people who love me."
Ke$ha should soon be able to treat her friends to a few rounds of PBR. Her fast-rising single "TiK ToK," a rapturously dumb electro-pop banger that makes Katy Perry sound like PJ Harvey, catalogs an epic post-party hangover where Jack Daniels is the best mouthwash.
Her debut album, "Animal," which already is a top-5 iTunes album as a pre-order to its Jan. 5 release, tackles the evergreen topics of stalking boys who don't like her and whether rad boots are preferable to male company. It also showcases some surprising pipes under all that Auto-Tune.
It's all part of a master plan, she says -- winning equal rights for women to abuse boys in songs the way dudes have done for decades.
"I'm just talking about men the way they've talked about women for years," she said. "If you listen to LMFAO, it's all about how women are pieces of meat. I find that stuff funny, so I want to do it back to them."
-- August Brown
Photo: RCA Music Group