Is Kesha’s song “Praying” about Dr. Luke? Here’s what we know about her powerful single

When Kesha released her first song in four years, fans were quick to assume “Praying” was about Dr. Luke, the singer’s former producer who she accused of emotionally, physically, and sexually abuse. A raw and emotional ballad, Kesha’s Grammy-nominated single is a deeply personal song that have many wondering about its inspiration.

Regardless of its real-life roots, “Praying” has become a remarkable beacon of hope for abuse victims and survivors, and a defiant comeback for the inspirational, Grammy-nominated singer.

For those who need a refresher, Kesha filed a suit against her producer Dr. Luke, real name Lukasz Gottwald, in 2014. She sued him for multiple offenses, including employment discrimination and emotional distress. She also alleged he was physically and sexually abusive, and asked the courts to allow her to break her record contract. Dr. Luke filed a countersuit that alleged Kesha was making false claims, and cited defamation charges. The ongoing battle kept the singer from releasing new music. That is, until the release of Rainbow and its first, heart-shattering single.

“Praying,” which was co-written with Macklemore’s Ryan Lewis, starts off with a spine-tingling voice over that will give you chills.

“Am I dead? Or is this one of those dreams?” she says in the video. “Those horrible dreams that seem like they last forever? If I am alive, why? If there is a God or whatever, something, somewhere, why have I been abandoned by everyone and everything I’ve ever known? I’ve ever loved? Stranded. What is the lesson? What is the point? God, give me a sign, or I have to give up. I can’t do this anymore. Please just let me die. Being alive hurts too much.”

See the full video for “Praying” below:

I’ll give you a moment while you pick up the pieces of your shattered soul.

Before the release of “Praying,” Kesha shared several Instagram videos that addressed the last four years as the “hardest time in my entire life.” She revealed that her new album, Rainbow, was one of the most intimate and vulnerable creative endeavors she had ever undertaken. She also thanked her fans for getting her through her darkest days, and said she couldn’t have done it without her “animals.”

After the release of “Praying,” fans and critic were quick to point to all the ways Kesha’s emotional ballad about pain and healing, depression and hope, despair and survival addressed her real-life struggles with Dr. Luke and her record label, but the singer has never directly confirmed the popular theory. She has, however, talked about the song and what it means to her and her healing process.

In a letter on Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter, Kesha opened up about her powerful new single with candor and courage. She talked about its inspiration, how it felt to write it, and what she hoped it could mean for fans.

"'Praying' was written about that moment when the sun starts peeking through the darkest storm clouds, creating the most beautiful rainbow," she wrote. "Once you realize that you will in fact be OK, you want to spread love and healing...being angry and resentful will do nothing but increase your own stress and anxiety — and hate is the fuel that grows the viruses. Don't let anyone steal your happiness!"

While she never directly addresses Dr. Luke, his abuse, or her legal struggles, Kesha was candid about the realities of hopelessness and depression she experienced over the last few years. She wasn’t afraid to be real about her pain, but she also talked about what it was like to start to heal.

"This song is about me finding peace in the fact that I can't control everything — because trying to control everyone was killing me. It's about learning to let go and realize that the universe is in control of my fate, not me."

Whether or not “Praying” is about Dr. Luke, Kesha’s breathtaking single and her new album is a testament to the strength of women, the power of music, and the ability to heal. In other words, it is the exact kind of song the #MeToo movement, #TimesUp, and 2018 needs.

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