Kesha Gets Vulnerable About How Songwriting Helps Her Through Hardship in Her First-Ever TED Talk

"Songwriting is something sacred to me and I’m so excited to share why," says Kesha, whose TED Talk, "The Alchemy of Pop Music," is out now

  • Kesha's first TED Talk, "The Alchemy of Pop Music," was released on July 11

  • The pop star opens up about how songwriting has served as a helpful tool throughout her life

  • "Songwriting is a direct line of communication with the truth," says Kesha in the video

Who's ready for some wisdom from Kesha?

The pop star, 37, got vulnerable about how songwriting has helped her through the highs and lows of life as she delivered her first-ever TED Talk, "The Alchemy of Pop Music," on April 29 at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Canada — and it's now available to watch in full.

"Songwriting is something sacred to me and I’m so excited to share why," says Kesha in a statement. "I never thought I would be giving a Ted Talk, but here we are. I wanted to share why and how I create, and what I’ve witnessed through the act of creation. And what I’ve learned."

Related: Kesha Releases Her First Single as an Independent Artist: 'Now We Joyride'

<p>Ted</p> Kesha



During the talk, Kesha explained the major impact songwriting has made on her at different points in life. "What else in the world can change your mind, can change your mood, can change your entire energetic frequency in three and a half minutes? For me that’s pop music, and for me that’s alchemy," she told the audience.

The Grammy-nominated musician then compared the act of songwriting to one of her other favorite hobbies, scuba diving, as both scenarios allow her to go deep and explore every corner — whether of a body of water or her own mind.

"Songwriting is a direct line of communication with the truth. In song, you can say things you can’t say out loud to anyone else — not your friends, not your therapist, not your mom," said Kesha. "When I’m feeling anything intensely, I know it’s time for me to write a song."

Related: Kesha Co-Signs Sabrina Carpenter's 'Please Please Please' in New TikTok Video: 'Proud to Be a Woman in Music'

<p>Ted</p> Kesha in Vancouver in April 2024


Kesha in Vancouver in April 2024

She also discussed her career, its launch with the party anthem "Tik Tok" in 2009 and how it was complicated by her legal battle with producer Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald, which was settled last year after nearly a decade.

"I found myself in a very ugly litigation with the same person who I had signed the rights to my recorded voice to. I had lost the rights to my voice, and in that I felt as if I had lost the rights to myself," recalled Kesha. "It was very public. It was very painful. I was very angry, so I did what I do with all my emotions, and I wrote my way through it, and that led me to a song called 'Praying.'"

Considering the "Blow" performer's status as "the girl who brushes her teeth with a bottle of Jack," she wasn't sure "if anybody would listen to these uglier emotions" — but the song ultimately went double platinum and earned a Grammy nomination for best pop solo vocal performance.

Related: Kesha Shades Diddy in New 'Tik Tok' Lyrics During Reneé Rapp's Coachella 2024 Performance: 'F--- P. Diddy'

<p>Ted</p> Kesha in Vancouver in April 2024


Kesha in Vancouver in April 2024

"I dove deep into the pain. I didn’t hide from it. I alchemized it into something healing, not only for me, but inadvertently for other people," explained Kesha.

At the time of the TED Talk, she'd recently become an independent artist following her longtime deal with Sony's RCA Records and therefore "gained back legal rights over my voice." In celebration, she delivered the first-ever live performance of a new song, "Cathedral," to conclude the event.

Earlier this month, Kesha released her first independent single, "Joyride," and told fans on social media, "I couldn't have made it through without all of you."

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