1. Headline
  1. Headline

Video: Time for ‘Tik Tok’ with Ke$ha

Image: Ke$ha
Gus Ruelas  /  AP file
Ke$ha is a girl who genuinely does whatever she thinks is right, and knows who she is — and is doing whatever the hell she wants whenever she wants.
By
TODAY.com
updated 8/13/2010 9:15:22 AM ET 2010-08-13T13:15:22

Kesha Sebert, better known as Ke$ha, was in New York in May when she received a call from her mother telling her the basement of her childhood home in Nashville, Tenn., was flooded. This didn't surprise the pop star — the lower level of the house periodically filled with water while she was in high school.

But, as she later flew over her hometown she saw the extent of what had really happened. “I was looking out the [airplane] window,” she said. “There were all these massive lakes, and rooftops in the middle. I got off the airplane and there was this ominous feeling in the air.”

Instead of heading home after a long day of traveling, Sebert convinced her mom to head to the grocery store where they bought 1,000 pounds of dog food to donate to a local animal shelter. Growing up, her family had rescued stray dogs and cats “guerilla style,” taking in abused dogs and “fattening them up.”

“It’s not because I want people to know how fantastic I am,” Sebert said of her charitable effort. “I don’t mean to rub it anybody’s face. I just want to help as much as I can. It’s not the reason I do it, just so I can get attention.”

Rolling Stone.com: Backstage with pop's wildest new star

It’s a far cry from the in-your-face, foul-mouthed wild child the media has portrayed the chart-topping songwriter to be. But, she’s not concerned whether you think her actions are a calculated marketing decision. Ke$ha is a girl who knows who she is — she genuinely does whatever she thinks is right and whatever the hell she wants whenever she wants.

“It’s really weird. The American media really has no idea what to do with me,” Sebert said. “I’m fun and I go out. I make out with hot dudes, but I also have a massive place in my heart for people. I think you can be both.”

Hard worker
Sebert’s antics — not to mention her song lyrics — have made her this moment’s current party animal. For one thing, her hit single “Tik Tok” is about a crazy night with “a bottle of Jack.” And she keeps making comments to the media that fuel her image.

"I could drink a pirate under the table. But last night wasn't that late. It was only, like, 2 a.m.,” she told The Guardian in November 2009. Stories adding fuel to gossip pages range from her vomiting in Paris Hilton’s closet to breaking into Prince’s house to leave her demo to recently leaked photos of her taken by an ex-lover.

As she drives to the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, S.C., it’s hard not to hear the exhaustion in her voice, despite her bubbly attitude. In between opening for Rihanna this summer, she’s headlining a few small venues on her own mini-tour. Meanwhile, she’s writing songs for her new album. While her toughest critics might say she’s tired because she’s choosing the parties over her performances, the singer dismisses those claims.

“I’ve never ever missed a show,” Sebert said. “I don’t ever drink before a show. And, the only time I ever go out is if I have a day off.”

  1. More Entertainment stories
    1. Autistic ballerina dances her way into hearts

      In a popular YouTube video, the beaming little ballerina dances an entire four-minute routine seemingly perfectly, matchin...

    2. Every on-screen drink in 'Mad Men' in 5 minutes
    3. See the 'Dancing' stars' most memorable moves
    4. Emmy's biggest snubs? Cranston, Hamm, more
    5. 'Toy Story' toys burn up in prank on mom

While her mouth has gotten her into trouble, some of the stuff is rather lighthearted, like the song she wrote about a boy named Steven. “I’m always going to look back on this record and laugh about how Steven knows now how much I followed him around,” she said. Other actions and comments have shocked the public, like the time she urinated in a sink at the British Q Awards. She brushed it off, saying to Entertainment Weekly, “People need to get over it. It’s just urine. It all goes to the same plumbing general area.”

When she recorded “My First Kiss,” with 3OH3! in the summer of 2008, singer Nathaniel Motte noticed that she was a hard worker — with a mouth to match. After their producer, Dr. Luke, suggested working with the singer, who had “a lot of sass and cool style,” the group asked her to come into the studio, Motte said. Within two minutes of meeting, Sebert said something explicit to Motte and ripped singer Sean Foreman.

“She called Sean a little bitch, and she said she wanted to rape the tall one,” Motte said laughing. “We both were taken aback a little bit, and we were like, ‘This chick is more like a dude, no doubt.’”

“I just say things that I want to say when I want to say,” Sebert said. “Some of them are too honest and that has gotten me in trouble.”

Though her part on the song was rather short, the band kept in touch with her. She asked Foreman to help her with her other hit single, “Blah Blah Blah,” and the band in turn asked her to film a part for their video, “My First Kiss.”

Band geek
In the same breath where she says she loves to throw dance parties, Sebert admits she didn’t have a lot of friends in high school. She was a member of the International Baccalaureate program in high school and was on the fast track to go to Barnard College to study comparative religion and psychology. She claimed a love for community service and math.

E!'s Soup blog: Gifted rapper, excellent $hark chum

“I’m not very good at it,” she said. “But, I’ll sit in my bathrobe after a show and have my guitar player ask me math problems.”

Though her life now might be all about what’s hip and trendy, Sebert was once a proud member of her high school marching band. “Marching band kids are crazy,” she said defensively. “They throw down!” After dabbling a bit with the trumpet, she focused on the saxophone. “It was on the cheesy side, but I played it like it was going out of style,” she said. And, try as she might, she said there was no way to make those band uniforms sexy.

“I’m a lot of things that wouldn’t seem to go together,” Sebert said.

Sebert remains focused on her music career. Her goal is to have people put their ticket stubs from one of her concerts up on a wall and remember a great time, as she did when she was a kid. “It’s just about making hype and making it fun for a crowd,” she said.

Despite a busy music schedule, the singer is also attempting to get involved with sea turtle rescue following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, saying it’s time to stop blaming people and start helping the cause. She participated in the Gulf telethon in late June as well, a few weeks after headlining a show to help with Tennessee flood relief, raising almost $70,000.

“I see how much Angelina Jolie and Madonna have done and that is really inspiring just to see these strong beautiful women just helping other people,” Sebert said.

“She’s still the same awesome, carefree girl doing what she wants to do,” Motte, of 3OH3! said.

And when asked about the band, Sebert responded, “They’re hilarious, and they’re hot,” ... before adding, “They better say I’m hot too, or I’ll kick their ass.”

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

Photos: 2010 Toyota Concert Series

loading photos...
  1. Katy Perry's 'Dream'

    Singer Katy Perry does a colorful perfomance on TODAY as part of the Toyota Concert Series, singing hits like "I Kissed a Girl," "California Gurls," and "Teenage Dream" on Aug.27, 2010. She also revealed to Natalie Morales that she had a little crush on Matt Lauer. (Jason Decrow / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Daughtry rocks the crowd

    Band Daughtry of Daughtry rocks Rockefeller Plaza on August 20, 2010, playing songs "September" and "Leave This Town" and telling Meredith Vieira about their sophomore album. (Michael Loccisano / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Ke$ha is so money

    Singer Ke$ha gets the crowd moving with her hits "Tik Tok" and Center on August 13, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images) (Jemal Countess / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Train brings 'Soul' to TODAY

    Lead singer Patrick Monahan and the rest of the guys from Train jam to their hit song "Soul Sister" on TODAY on August 6, 2010. (Neilson Barnard / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Carrie-ing a tune

    Country star Carrie Underwood had been married just 19 days to hockey player Mike Fisher when she performed on TODAY on July 30, 2010. (Richard Drew / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Player Mayer

    Singer, songwriter and guitarist John Mayer entertains the crowd on the plaza with tunes from his fourth album, "Battle Studies," on TODAY July 23, 2010. (Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Enrique shows his fan appreciation

    The Spanish singer definitely brought the heat to Toyota Concert Series on TODAY. While performing "Hero" on July 16, 2010, Enrique brought fan Melissa Dominguez on the stage and planted a big juicy kiss on her lips. (Richard Drew / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Gaga singin’ in the rain

    Pop sensation Lady Gaga didn’t let a little rain stop her from giving a show-stopping performance on the TODAY plaza on July 9, 2010. The singer, who drew a record crowd of 20,000, sang her hits “Bad Romance,” “Alejandro” and “Teeth,” as well as a new song, “You and I.” (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Bringing 'This Love' to their fans

    Adam Levine rocked out with his band Maroon 5 on the TODAY plaza on July 2, 2010, during a performance of their smash hit "This Love." (Neilson Barnard / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. A welcome return

    Grammy-nominated singer Maxwell, who took an eight-year hiatus from the music industry, performed his hit "Ascension" on the TODAY plaza on June 25, 2010. (Peter Kramer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. They’re a little bit country…

    Yee-haw! These guys are unstoppable. Rascal Flatts jammed their hit songs on the Toyota Concert Series on TODAY on June 11, 2010, including “Life Is a Highway” and the title track from their new album, "Unstoppable." (Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Star-studded singer

    After a brief hiatus, Christina Aguilera is back. The pop diva belted out her hit "Fighter" from her second album, "Stripped." as well as the title track from her fourth studio album, "Bionic," for fans on the TODAY show Plaza on June 8, 2010. (Richard Drew / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. ‘Idols’ in the making

    This season’s winner and runner-up of TV’s “American Idol, ” Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox, showed why they made it to the final two when they played the Toyota Concert Series on TODAY on June 3, 2010. DeWyze sang his rendition of U2’s “Beautiful Day” and Bowersox performed Janis Joplin’s classic “Me and Bobby McGee.” (Jemal Countess / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Bieber fever takes over TODAY

    Surrounded by adoring fans, teen singing sensation Justin Bieber performed his hit songs “Baby,” "Somebody to Love" and many more on the Toyota Concert Series on TODAY on June 4, 2010. And he’s not going anywhere anytime soon, either. “I want to have longevity, have my fans grow with me, and not just be a teen artist but kind of move up and be an adult artist,” Bieber told TODAY’s Matt Lauer. (Brendan Mcdermid / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. The guys have ‘All the Right Moves’

    OneRepublic rocked the Toyota Concert Series on TODAY when they performed on May 28, 2010. They played their debut hit "Apologize," newest single "Secrets" and many others. (Bryan Bedder / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. The Script ‘Breakeven’

    Lead singer Danny O'Donoghue shows off his Irish pride during The Script’s performance on the Toyota Concert Series on TODAY on May 21, 2010. The trio performed songs from their self-titled CD as well as David Bowie's "Heroes." (Peter Kramer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Sting brings new ‘Magic’ to TODAY

    The Grammy Award-winning singer kicked off the 2010 Toyota Concert Series on TODAY on May 14, 2010, with a full half hour of music he’ll be performing on his upcoming world tour with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. He sang such classics as "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," "Roxanne" and more. (Bryan Bedder / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Mark Winans

    ‘It’s a miracle:’ Oregon dog survives 150-foot fall

    10/23/2014 9:08:40 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T21:08:40
  1. New York checks suspected Ebola patient

    A health care worker who recently returned from West Africa is being isolated and checked for Ebola virus at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, city health officials said Thursday.

    10/23/2014 7:47:58 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T19:47:58
  1. Getty Images file

    Conan O'Brien gets zinged by Madeleine Albright in epic Twitter

    10/23/2014 11:50:22 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T23:50:22
  1. Reports: ‘I am mad at our son,' says Ottawa shooter’s mom

    The mother of the Ottawa parliament attack gunman said Thursday she was crying for the victims of the shooting, not her son, according to The Associated Press.

    10/23/2014 3:51:20 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T15:51:20