Kesha Sebert, the singer/songwriter better known as Ke$ha, is a class act.
She has a dollar sign tattoo on her hand, inked over the spot of skin where she licks salt before slamming tequila shots; she recounts being trapped in a hotel elevator that she says went haywire after she provoked "ghosts" by joking around; she rambles excitedly about the psychic powers of narwhales -- "unicorns of the sea;" and, she asks if it's okay to use the ladies' room during her phone interview.
Her spontaneous quality is part of her charm; her electro-pop single, "Tik Tok," inspired by a night of epic partying, currently sits at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 6 on Hot Digital Songs. The track is a constant reminder of the morning after, when she opened her eyes to find herself "surrounded by these foxy babes," thinking: "This is what P. Diddy must feel like," she tells Billboard.
Before her recent success, the 22-year-old Los Angeles native was eating free tacos, and, at one point, living out of a gold 1978 Trans Am. She scored her big break earlier this year as a featured vocalist on Flo Rida's " Right Round," which topped the Billboard Hot 100 in February and became the motivation behind that dollar sign tattoo.
"I got it because I was being ironic," she explains. "I didn't make any money off the Flo Rida song -- no one knew it was me. Whatever. I'm money -- I don't need money."
That same month, she signed a deal with RCA Records, and now, Ke$ha is prepping the early 2010 release of her debut album, tentatively titled "Animals."
If Ke$ha is serious about anything, though, it's self-motivation. Case in point: she once snuck into Prince's house to ask him to produce her album. "If you visualize what you want and you go for it and you work your ass off, I think that you can realize your own realities," she says.
That no-limits attitude supplies her with the stories for her upcoming set, which features production from Dr. Luke and as well as collaborations with Max Martin and Benny Blanco. "Every song on the record is totally about my life," she says.
Ke$ha is currently touring, backed by a DJ, a bassist and a keytar player, and armed with a glitter cannon. "If you come to a live show, it's a sensory assault," she warns. "You will leave covered in sweat, beer, glitter, and, just maybe, you'll get a special edition Ke$ha condom. If it breaks, you have to name you daughter or son after me."