Kesha declares 'Who I was is dead' on forthcoming album 'Gag Order'

'Dealing with all of the deep darkies, and kind of coming out on the other side'
Audacy Check In with Kesha
Photo credit Audacy
By , Audacy

Joining host Mike Adam today for an Audacy Check In is Pop superstar Kesha, giving fans the skinny on her double-dose of brand-new singles, upcoming Gag Order album plans, and much more.

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Kesha's forthcoming fifth studio album, Gag Order, set for release on May 29, was revealed at the end of April with the emotional and downtempo lead singles “Fine Line” and “Eat the Acid,” helmed by super-producer and master podcaster Rick Rubin, offered up as initial teases.

During our chat, the iconic singer admits she's still reeling from the recording experience: "It is how the stories go. He is really incredible, it's not really one specific thing," she says, and it's certainly paid off so far. Fans have been heaping loads of praise onto her new singles, Mike Adam included. "That makes me wanna cry -- maybe it's the sleep deprivation," she says, "but I'm so happy to know that you get the vision of what I put into it. That makes me really, really happy."

Alternately, fans will be glad to know that the hand models Kesha used for the song's chirophobic visual each kept their fingers medically stink-free for the entirety of the shoot. "Are you kidding? Oh, no, no, no... they walked around set all day with gloves on as to not -- I don't know -- make their fingies dirty. My worst fear in life is stinky fingers, so I was like, 'You guys are gonna be rubbing my teeth. Wash. Your. Hands. Nobody poop on the set, all day!'"

WATCH NOW: Audacy Check In with Kesha


Most impressed with Rick Rubin's ease in allowing her the necessary creative space during the making of the new record, Kesha says "his ability to not judge anything, it makes the studio such a safe place to just go in and go hard. I could say the wildest s***, and he would not even flinch; He would just occasionally giggle. I remember we were listening back to the album, we listened to one song and the other person in the room was crying; He was giggling. I was like, 'I don't know what that means, but that must be good.' Two very drastically different emotions happening at the same time, to the same song."

Of the expected 13 tracks on Gag Order, Kesha admits she's "never put out something so dark, so vulnerable, honestly so slow... I'm a fast lady. I was like, 'Let's speed it up and go higher!' And [Rubin] was like, 'No, let's slow it down and go lower.' It's just a really interesting experience."

"The whole journey of the album is going through stages of grief, it's really going in my head and dealing with all of the deep darkies, and kind of coming out on the other side," Kesha explains, which is why she chose to include her singer/songwriter mother, Pebe Siebert, as well as her 8-year-old niece, on the new album. "Having my niece on there symbolized the innocence and hopefulness of the childlike self, and circling back to getting reconnected to that side of myself. She's such a little angel... every time I hear that it makes me feel like the world is OK."

"Only love can save us now," Kesha adds, "and the kids." Well, maybe not all of them. Although her brother has two children, and she did invite both to be a part of the record, "the other one could not be f***ed with," she laughs. "He was like, 'Get away from me, put the microphone away!' He hates cameras and he doesn't tell anyone that I'm his auntie. I'm so offended."

Perception, as an artist and a human, is front and center on Kesha's other album tease, "Fine Line." Honoring, "who I have been," is of major importance she explains, "but if you don't let the past be what it is -- and be in the past -- then you are not really present, and you're affecting your future by not being present currently. So, as much as I love things I've done, this album is really me saying, 'Who I was is dead -- and if you want those songs they are there, please go scream them. But who I am and who I will be is an ever-evolving human being and I'm excited for that.' "Fine Line' is about stopping trying to control the narrative about who and what I am. Everybody has an opinion about everything you do, and I just can't try to cater to other people's opinions... I have no control over how people see me."

"This is me really saying, 'OK. That's enough.' It's so anxiety-inducing to try to make people believe 'you're hot and cool, and fun...' it's like, f**k it," Kesha adds. "Just judge me... it's exhausting, and that's the second line of the song. 'Trying to balance is exhausting.' I'm just gonna be myself, talk all the s*** you want. Have a ball. I address that later on a song called 'Hate Me Harder.' This whole album is just like, stream of consciousness."

Don't miss host Mike Adam's full Audacy Check In with Kesha above, and stay tuned for even more conversations with your favorite artists on

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