After you've been quiet for years, how do you break the silence?
Kesha was forced to answer that question this week, after her very public battle with her producer Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald kept her out of the studio for nearly three years. She accused him of sexual assault, verbal and physical abuse and attempting to reduce her artistry to the lowest common denominator, forcing Kesha to become a "parody" of herself, as she phrased it.
She's yet to be legally freed, but Kesha has managed to at least lift herself out of part of that cycle of abuse. Friday she appeared on a remix of Zedd's "True Colors," her first studio recording since her feature on Pitbull's "Timber" in 2013. It makes a strong case that Kesha the artist has not been in anyway diminished by the victim role she's been forced to play for so long.
Part of the beauty of this release is that the artists are letting the song speak for itself. "It's such a blessing that Zedd has given me this opportunity to record his song 'True Colors,'" she wrote on Facebook Friday. "This song's message spoke to me so deeply that I knew I had to find my own interpretation and record it, to spread the beautiful message of personal empowerment. It gives me hope that I will someday soon be able to release my own album."
The sentiment mirrors one Kesha shared in an Instagram post Tuesday, which revealed the collaboration was imminent. "It's a miracle when someone gives you a chance at finding your voice again with no reason other than that he is a fucking beautiful person with a heart of gold."
The song may have been in the works for a while, though. Zedd publicly offered his services to the star in February, three days after a New York State Supreme Court denied Kesha's injunction to allow her to record outside of the control of Dr. Luke.
This may have been a more powerful gift than any Zedd could have offered. Creating a safe, supportive environment for the singer to get back to doing what she does is likely more uplifting than every celebrity's words of encouragement and more valuable than Taylor Swift's gift of $250,000 to help with Kesha's expenses.
"Music can be freedom!" as Zedd wrote. Listening to Kesha's soaring vocals on "True Colors," that feels true in some small way.