Ke$ha on breaking boundaries

POP STAR Ke$ha made a name for herself with infectious dance-pop hits but the singer-songwriter is stepping out of her Auto-Tune comfort zone on Warrior.

Ke$ha, 25, stormed the charts with songs about drinking, partying and having a good time, such as TiK ToK and Your Love is My Drug from her 2010 platinum-selling album Animal.

Here, she talked about the pressures of following up the success of her first album and responding to her critics.

Did you feel additional pressure while working on this album after your successful debut Animal?

“Everybody keeps asking me about pressure, and I think a lot of other people maybe are feeling pressure about this record, but I just want to make a good record.

“If I sat around trying to make a No.1 record, I’d just be too consumed with that. I just want to make an awesome, kick-ass record that I love and that my fans love.”

Was there anything that you weren’t happy with on the first album and that you wanted to change for the second?

“I just wanted to make sure my entire personality was presented more accurately. I feel like people really got to know the super-wild side of me but then sometimes a more vulnerable side. I didn’t really feel comfortable expressing it.

“So this time I kind of forced myself to express a little bit more vulnerability, less Auto-Tune, less vocal trickery. It’s a little more raw.”

You received a lot of criticism for your use of Auto-Tune, masking your true singing voice. Was that valid when many others use it?

"I made a conscious decision to use Auto-Tune for effect, as ear candy, and vocoders and chop up my words.

“This time around, I have heard so many different people say I can’t sing. It’s quite frankly irritating, so I ... made a five-song acoustic EP (Deconstructed) that’s kind of like my middle finger to all those people that said I couldn’t sing, and there’s more of my voice on this record.

“You know, haters are going to hate, you just have to do what you want to do.”

There’s quite a variety of collaborations on Warrior, such as with Iggy Pop and Ben Folds.

“Ben Folds is a friend of mine. He gave me a giant glitter grand piano that’s in my house, so that one was natural.

“The Flaming Lips (American rock band) was probably surprising for a lot of people because we’re two super-different genres of music but we had the most fun and we made so many songs, it was super insane. …

“The one that I really have been working on for years was a collaboration with Iggy Pop. He’s one of my favourite musicians and artistes of all time, so that was super exciting for me, because I respect him so much.”

You’ve written all the songs for Warrior. What did you want to bring out in your lyrics this time round?

“I definitely wanted to maintain the irreverence, because that’s why my fans like me. It’s because I’m super honest, not always PG-rated ... but I didn’t want to let the haters somehow cramp my style or get the best of me, so I maintain my irreverence ...

“I also really wanted to show the other side of my personality, which kind of is more nerve-wracking to show people, being a real person and the vulnerable side of my personality and voice.

“So there are tracks on this record that are super vulnerable and were hard even to write. I had to force myself to sit down and write these songs.”

You’ve carved a distinctive image and also just launched your latest collaboration with Baby-G watches. How do you want to evolve your career in the future?

“I think that with this record, I really wanted to show that there are no rules or boundaries in art, at all, like I sing and I can use crazy Auto-Tune vocoders and I can rap and I can do a song with Iggy Pop.

“You can do all these things that make sense. You don’t have to just be one thing, like, you don’t adhere to any sort of stereotype or any boundaries or any rules, so for me it’s really fun to break down these boundaries.” – Reuters