Top 10 Need To Know Free Kesha Facts

Script written by Sean Harris In 2009, this singer seemed to be living the dream. By 2016, she was caught up in a nightmare. Welcome to WatchMojo News, the weekly series from WatchMojo.com where we break down news stories that might be on your radar. In this instalment, we're counting down 10 crucial facts you should know about the situation between pop star Kesha and record producer Dr. Luke.
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Script written by Sean Harris

Top 10 Need To Know Free Kesha Facts


In 2009, this singer seemed to be living the dream. By 2016, she was caught up in a nightmare. Welcome to WatchMojo News, the weekly series from WatchMojo.com where we break down news stories that might be on your radar. In this instalment, we’re counting down 10 crucial facts you should know about the situation between pop star Kesha and record producer Dr. Luke.

#10: What Is the Current Situation Between Kesha and Dr. Luke?
The Lawsuit

On February 19th 2016, a New York judge ruled against the musician Kesha as part of an ongoing legal battle with her long-time producer, Dr. Luke. The failed preliminary injunction, which would’ve allowed Kesha to record music with other producers and labels, is part of a lengthy lawsuit that was launched in 2014, in which the Nashville singer alleges that Dr. Luke has violently, emotionally and sexually abused her throughout her 10-year career of working with him. The counter-argument claims that the singer’s accusations are ‘motivated by money’, however, and the case has highlighted how tangled and messy contracts in the music industry can be.

#9: What Is the Lawsuit Against Dr. Luke About?
The Contract

Kesha’s main objective is to escape her contract Sony Music, which she first signed in 2005, just after her 18th birthday. As of February 2016, she’s contractually obliged to record six albums with Dr. Luke’s Sony-owned label, Kemosabe Records – but the singer wants out. Up until the lawsuit, the pair had worked together for Kesha’s first two records, the debut album ‘Animal’ and follow-up, ‘Warrior’. But Kesha now alleges that she has been subject of consistent abuse by Dr. Luke, and that he constantly compromised her artistic integrity, especially in relation to the writing of ‘Warrior’.

#8: What Was the Past Relationship Between Kesha and Dr. Luke?
The Producer

In terms of commercial achievement, the Kesha/Luke relationship inspired massive early success. The singer’s ultra-catchy dance-pop sound was typified by her debut single, “Tik Tok”, which topped Billboard for nine weeks, and became the best-selling single worldwide in 2010, shifting 12.8 million copies. There are past examples of problems between performer and producer however, including Kesha claiming, in 2011, that she was ‘forced’ to sing controversial lyrics on her single “Die Young”. The accusations of abuse leveled against Luke began to gather weight in September 2013, when a fan of Kesha’s, Rebecca Pimmel, set up a petition to ‘free’ Kesha from the producer.

#7: Who Is Dr. Luke?
The Accused

Born Lukasz Gottwald, Dr. Luke entered into the music industry in the late ‘90s, performing as lead guitarist in the house band on “Saturday Night Live.” He first established himself as a prominent producer in 2004, when he worked on Kelly Clarkson’s smash-hit debut single, “Since U Been Gone”. His back-catalogue is brim-full with some of the most successful pop songs of the twenty-first century, including “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne, “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry, and “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. He was nominated for the ‘Producer of the Year’ Grammy in both 2011 and 2014.

#6: What Is the Injunction About?
The Recording

The February 19th, 2016 decision denied Kesha an injunction, which would have allowed her to record new music without Kemosabe Records and Sony, while her legal battle with Luke continues. Allegations of sexual abuse aside, the singer is trying to restart her career, but it’s currently impossible for her to do so. Sony and Dr. Luke have said that Kesha can work with another producer under the Sony umbrella in order to fulfill her contract, but the artist believes it to be an empty offer, which would see her career crumble regardless. Away from Sony, she has already received other recording offers, with Zedd and Jack Antonoff, with the latter even tweeting; ‘if you want to make something together and then leak it for everyone, I’m around.’

#5: What Was the Superior Court’s Decision Regarding the Lawsuit?
The Dispute

The New York Supreme Court’s decision to go against Kesha was issued by Justice Shirley Kornreich. In delivering the verdict, Kornreich said, ‘you’re asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry’; something, which she felt unable to fairly and legally do. ‘My instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing,’ said Kornreich to further explain the decision. The allegations of abuse are in no way addressed with this particular ruling, however, as it only relates to Kesha’s right to work and record elsewhere.

#4: Who Is Supporting Kesha?
The Fans

Around 50 fans gathered outside of the Manhattan courthouse on February 19th, 2016, carrying banners and singing Kesha hits, as well as demonstrating outside of Sony’s New York headquarters to protest. Lady Gaga has offered her continual support, asking on Instagram, ‘why is the victim always the liar?’ And a wealth of other artists have gotten behind the singer, including Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Adele, who spoke out during a Brit Awards acceptance speech, and Taylor Swift, who donated $250,000 to Kesha for legal costs. The pro-Kesha stance has also been united on social media by the trending hashtag ‘FreeKesha’.

#3: Who Is Supporting Dr. Luke?
The Label

Support for Dr. Luke has not been as widespread, but crucially the producer does retain some backing from Sony. Although Sony insists it’s ‘doing everything it can to support the artist in these circumstances,’ the company hasn’t severed links with Luke either. Kesha’s supporters believe that Sony has valued money over morality in this instance, as the company has also been attacked on social media via the trending #SonySupportsRape. On the other hand, Sony insists that it’s unable to free Kesha from her contract with Luke, even if it wanted to, saying it ‘is legally unable to terminate the contract to which it is not a party.’

#2: Have These Types of Lawsuits Happened Before?
The Past

Kesha’s case is extremely high-profile in light of its sexual abuse allegations, but convoluted contractual disputes are reasonably commonplace in the music industry. In 2015, Rita Ora sued Roc Nation in an attempt to free herself from what was described as a ‘political quagmire of dysfunction’. In March 2014, Amy Lee of Evanescence was granted her artistic freedom after years of working under the constraints of Wind-up Records; upon the development she tweeted, ‘I have wanted this for so long and I am so happy.’ And, one-time tween superstar JoJo sued Blackground and Da Family Records in 2013, after her once-promising career suffered ‘irreparable damage’ and majorly stalled after just two albums.

#1: Who Will Win This Lawsuit?
The Future

There are two major strands to this case. Firstly, Kesha is accusing Dr. Luke of rape and abuse; the investigation into those claims is ongoing, and could last for years more. Secondly, the singer is trying to rid herself of a contract that not only ties her to the man she’s leveling abuse allegations toward, but because of which she can’t record music elsewhere and continue her career. The February 19th decision underlines how ruthlessly inflexible the music world can be. It seems that unless Dr. Luke is found guilty of abusing Kesha, the power will always sit with him and Sony, because of the financial investment that the label has in the singer. Proverbial opinion may claim that ‘money isn’t everything’, but the law cannot side with Kesha unless illegality of any sort is proven.

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