She isn't glamorous like Beyonce or overtly sexual like Britney Spears, but that hasn't stopped Ke$ha from becoming one of the most successful pop stars of her generation.
The 25-year-old singer — who has sold 15 million albums worldwide — explains her appeal in the Americana issue of V: "There are the pop stars of the world and then I'm like their dirty little sister, running around with sh-t on my face in combat boots because I can't walk in heels."
Despite her grungy, wild looks, the Tennessee native says her music is relatable on a variety of levels. "I do feel like there is an element of what I'm doing that is about where I come from, which is working-class. I was never the cool kid, I was never hot in high school. I was never popular. You don't have to be perfect to be rich and you can still be successful."
Music producer Dr. Luke adds that "it's tough for kids to emulate someone with 20 fashion people on staff. Ke$ha comes out in an AC/DC T-shirt that she found in a dumpster, literally, and she rocks. It's sort of a metaphor for who she is. Anyone can be Ke$ha in their own way."
Ke$ha is currently hard at work on her second album, which will be released later this year. "The first record was all me living in L.A., trying to pay my rent, have a really good time and look good on nothing. But ever since then I've seen how many people my music can reach, and I've realized that I have somewhat of a social responsibility to make sure everything I say is positive. The underlying theme of this next record is warrior, with the positive message behind that everyone has a warrior inside."
"Some people will be shocked," Ke$ha tells V of the album's new sound. "Some will also be excited to know that I don't just do silly white-girl rap. I'm from the South. I have a lot of soul. But trust me — it's not going to be some avant-garde jazz record. I innately write pop songs. That's just what I do."
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