The Kesha vs Dr Luke feud has been a long one. Beginning in 2005 and just now coming to the surface in 2016, according to sources.
The artist-label feud is long no doubt, containing multiple major record labels, artists, producers, and contains many details and events from the past 11 years.
Dr Luke had scored his first hit in April 2005 with Kelly Clarkson’s No. 2 Hot 100 single “Since U Been Gone,” written with his super-producer mentor, Max Martin, who would co-produce both of Kesha’s albums with Luke.
In August 2005, Kesha dropped out of Brentwood High School in Nashville and moved to Los Angeles. In September, at age 18, she signed her deal with Luke and his company Kasz Money. (The financial terms of the deal, which gave Luke control over many facets of her career, including recording and management, have been redacted in court documents.)
In late 2008 or early 2009, Dr. Luke flew with Kesha to New York to shop for a record deal. While there, she would sign to RCA, a division of Sony Music. (In 2011, when Luke formed Kemosabe Records with RCA and Sony, she was moved over to that label.)
Kesha’s 2014 lawsuit states that Luke once “physically backed Kesha into a corner, where she was curled up in a ball, crying and fearing for her life.” Pebe says that Luke did this, shaking his fist and screaming at her, after Kesha refused to sing the “fat bitches” lyric. Kesha, according to the 2014 lawsuit, bolted out of the studio and ran barefoot down the Pacific Coast Highway, crying. She climbed up nearby mountains and hid so he wouldn’t be able to find her, then, says Pebe, called her manager to come pick her up.
Music producers are known for using unorthodox and often provocative methods to coax great performances out of their charges — Phil Spector famously pulled a gun on John Lennon during one session — and Dr. Luke, according to some of the artists and executives with whom he has worked, was no exception.
Kesha recalls in the 2015 affidavit. “I had only had a few drinks but after I had taken this ‘sober pill’ I blacked out.” Says Pebe: “Looking back, I don’t know why we didn’t go to the police. Kesha told me not to do anything. She said, ‘Mom, I just want to sing. I don’t want to be a rape-case victim. I just want to get my music out.’ I didn’t follow my instincts.”
In the past 18 months since Kesha has made allegations against Dr Luke, he has only co produced three semi famous tracks. If you can even call them that.
- R. City’s – Locked Away
- Maroon 5 – “Sugar”
- Pitbull/Ne-Yo’s – Time of Our Lives
A former Jive executive says Luke “has a massive ego” and is known to be ”difficult” to work with. One top music manager who has known Luke for more than 20 years, and whose roster includes best-selling pop and rock acts who have worked with him, says, “Luke is a terrible person. He’s very talented, obviously — he’s a guitar player interested in pop beats — but he’s diabolical. No one likes dealing with the guy. He’ll do anything to f– over everyone. This thing with Kesha is a perfect example. He could have let her out of the deal a year ago — her career was already on its downside — but he’s such an asshole he just wouldn’t do it.”
Luke’s focus on Kesha, says Pebe, only intensified with her success: “This is when Luke started getting really hateful,” she says. “He saw her as a cash cow and started manipulating her all the time. She thought all her dreams were finally coming true, but this was just a f–ing trip to hell.”
With Sony Music stuck right in the middle of this, this has only been a PR nightmare for one of the worlds biggest record labels, Who can only sit and watch as they are at the mercy of Dr Luke’s company Kasz Money and Kemosabe Records. Sources confirm that if Kesha did record for Sony without Dr Luke’s involvement, he would still be entitled to revenue from record sales and publishing.
Later this year, Kemosabe Records five-year contract with Sony Music — worth an estimated $60 million — expires, which leaves Sony to decide whether to renegotiate the terms or cut ties with the label. Regardless of what happens between the two parties. Although there is still one problem, as Kesha’s contract with Luke, and obligation to RCA, will still stand. According to a prominent entertainment lawyer, the contract is ironclad.
And.. cue the PLUR from the EDM community.
Electronic dance music producer Zedd reached out to Kesha, and tweeted Kesha offering to produce her a song. For free obviously. Big ups to Zedd and his huge heart.
A manager and acquaintance of Dr Luke believes his career is virtually finished: “He’s f–ed. He’s done. He has rarely had success working with guys, and virtually every big female star in the world has come out against him. Why would anyone work with him now?”
Is Dr Luke’s career over? Will other artists still work with him or will he be boycotted just like Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga and more.