Kesha has overcome a lot since her TiK ToK days. She’s dealt with depression and an eating disorder and is still involved in a long-standing, highly publicized legal battle with former CEO of Sony-owned Kemosabe Records Dr. Luke. A new documentary, Rainbow – The Film, gives us a behind-the-scenes look into the making of her third studio album, Rainbow.
The release of Rainbow in August 2017 marked her first album in five years.
Why? Kesha vs. Dr. Luke
Kesha filed a lawsuit against longtime producer Dr. Luke in October 2014, claiming that she had been "sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused" by him for years — claims that Dr. Luke has adamantly denied and, in 2016, were dismissed in court. The legal battle ensues to this day as Dr. Luke countersues for defamation and breach of contract.
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During this legal battle, Kesha claimed that Dr. Luke barred her from releasing new music, which Dr. Luke and his legal team have denied.
"Dr. Luke promised me he would stall my career if I ever stood up for myself for any reason," the singer wrote in a 2015 affidavit. "He is doing just that."
"Sony has made it possible for Kesha to record without any connection, involvement or interaction with Luke whatsoever," an attorney representing Sony told The New York Times in 2016, "but Sony is not in a position to terminate the contractual relationship between Luke and Kesha."
Though Dr. Luke stepped away from Kemosabe Records in April 2017, four months before Rainbow was released, defeats in court have left Kesha bound to contracts with Dr. Luke under his companys KMI and Prescription Songs.
Rainbow officially debuted on August 11, 2017, but it’s unclear how involved Dr. Luke was in production.
Kesha’s hit single on the Rainbow album, Praying, became an anthem for the #MeToo movement — and, despite the fact that Kesha doesn’t specifically name Dr. Luke in her lyrics, she wrote in a Lenny Letter essay: "This song is about coming to feel empathy for someone else even if they hurt you or scare you. It's a song about learning to be proud of the person you are even during low moments when you feel alone. It's also about hoping everyone, even someone who hurt you, can heal."
In Rainbow – The Film, we’re bound to see Kesha’s own healing process while making this third album.
Kesha Rainbow – The Film synopsis
Directed by Kesha along with her brother Lagan Sebert and Kevin Hayden, Rainbow – The Film delves into "self-love, perseverance and strength."
Kesha (who dropped the famous dollar sign from her Hollywood name, "Ke$ha," after rehab) started writing songs during her three-month stay at Timberline Knolls, where she sought treatment for her eating disorder.
"Making Rainbow the album was such a therapeutic process and given the opportunity to turn it into a three-dimensional piece of art has helped me find even deeper healing and catharsis," Kesha says in a press statement about Rainbow – The Film.
"I hope this film inspires others to never give up even if you feel full of hurt or lost, because after the storm comes a rainbow," she continues. "Depression, anxiety and mental illness are things we all need to talk about more, and there is no shame in asking for help. Making the decision to work on yourself is the bravest thing you can do."
It's unclear whether Kesha will mention Dr. Luke in Rainbow – The Film (though lawyers for the producer have said in the past that she's not barred from mentioning him by name).
Kesha Rainbow – The Film trailer
In one part of the documentary's trailer, Kesha is seen passionately shouting into a microphone amid cheers from fans: "You don’t own me!"
Watch the Rainbow – The Film trailer below:
A voiceover from Kesha states, "Sometimes things feel like...like they're too much to handle. You may be able to pull it together and put on a front in front of others, but inside, you're trapped, suffocating slowly. This record has, quite literally, saved my life."
Kesha Rainbow – The Film release date
Rainbow – The Film premieres exclusively on Apple Music on August 10.
The message appears to be this: You’re more than your trauma no matter what it is.