Kesha made a triumphant return this morning (June 6) with the announcement of Rainbow, the singer’s first new album offering since 2012’s Warrior, and a new single to boot. Titled “Praying,” the track finds Kesha reflecting on her tumultuous hiatus of nearly five years, during which the singer struggled with depression and fought a legal battle against her former producer and record label boss, Dr. Luke.
On the track — co-written by Kesha, Ryan Lewis (of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis), Ben Abraham and Andrew Joslyn — Kesha oozes regained self-confidence and expresses how being “put through hell” has made her stronger. “I had to learn how to fight for myself / And we both know all the truth I could tell,” the lyrics read.
While the chorus aims for reconciliation with an unnamed listener (“I hope you find your peace,” Kesha sings), there’s still a flicker of anger in the singer’s words, like in the lyric “I’ve been thrown out, I’ve been burned / When I’m finished, they won’t even know your name.”
The 30-year-old pop star has been involved in an ugly legal battle with Dr. Luke since October 2014, when she filed a suit against her producer, alleging sexual assault and battery; Luke has denied the allegations. Kesha hoped to dissolve her contract with Dr. Luke as a result of the suit, and early this year, the singer claimed that the partnership has prevented her from releasing new music.
[Editor’s note: after this story posted, a spokesperson for Luke provided the following statement: “There was no change in Kesha’s contractual recording obligations — she has not succeeded on any legal claim or motion to avoid them. Instead, she was always free to record and refused to. Now, as legally required all along, the album was released with Dr. Luke’s approval by Kemosabe which is a joint venture label of Dr. Luke and Sony.”]
A defamation suit filed by Luke (born Lukasz Gottwald) in a Tennessee court against Kesha’s mother Pebe was dismissed in June with Pebe Sebert acknowledging that she has “no firsthand personal knowledge of the events occurring on the night of the alleged rape.” The Tennessee case has been dismissed, though the legal battle between Kesha and Dr. Luke in New York will continue.
The new single is the first taste of Rainbow, her third full-length album, due out on August 11.
Concurrent with the release of the new single and its emotional music video, Kesha also penned an essay for the Lenny Letter, Lena Dunham’s online feminist newsletter, detailing her recent battles with depression. “I have channeled my feelings of severe hopelessness and depression, I’ve overcome obstacles, and I have found strength in myself even when it felt out of reach,” she writes. “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.”
Listen to “Praying,” and follow along with the full lyrics, below.