Happy Place

Fearne Cotton talks to incredible people about life, love, loss, and everything in-between as she reveals what happiness means to them.

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Mon, 22 May 2023 01:00

Is it art if no one sees or hears it? In this chat, musician Kesha joins Fearne to talk about our sometimes obsessive relationship with feedback, and why your own opinion of your work is the only one that should really matter.

As the artist behind pop track Tik Tok, Kesha had been known for being a burst of high energy for her fans, but more recently she’s been compelled to expose different sides of herself, including the ‘ugly’ emotions and behaviours, as she calls them. In this chat, she and Fearne both share their experiences of eating disorders and panic attacks.

Kesha’s new album, Gag Order, sees her getting intimate with herself at a time when she’s had a lot of outside noise to contend with, and it's out now.

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Hello, I'm Fun Cotton and this is Happy Place. The show that gives voice to the parts of ourselves we're not always proud of, but that we need to embrace with kindness. Today, I'm meeting Kesha. Just someone that like validates. It's like you're not crazy. I hear you, I see you, keep going. And no, we're not putting auto tune on your voice you don't need it. Like I can't even tell you how many times I would beg for auto tune. It's like you don't need it. And then the engineer would be like you don't need it. And that kind of blew my mind. It was about the same time I was like, huh. Maybe I don't have to wear a wicks. Maybe I could just have my hair. Like it was an unraveling of all of these illusions and it was really cool. As the artist behind the iconic pop track, TikTok, Kesha's aware that she's been known for being a brilliant burst of high energy for her fans. But more recently, she's been compelled to expose different sides of herself, including the ugly emotions and behaviors as she calls them. Her new album, Gag Order, sees her getting incredibly intimate with herself at a time when she's had a lot of outside noise to contend with, including a very public litigation. One of the really interesting threads in this conversation is whether art is art, if no one sees or hears it. That concept brought up so much soul-searching stuff about our almost obsessive relationship with feedback and external validation, when really, we need to get back to trusting our own gut. We also shared some painful experiences of eating disorders and panic attacks. And I was so grateful to Kesha for being so incredibly honest. I really, really hope you feel as connected with the real Kesha as I did during this chat, because I know it's all going to stay with me for quite some time. ACAS powers the world's best podcast. Here's a show that we recommend. There's a twin mattress just laying on the floor. There's a video camera that is set up on a tripod. And then there's like a little lamp. This is what we call a dungeon. Hi, I'm Yardley Smith. Guess what? Season 12 of Small Town Dicks is here. She says, I've never been more terrified in a room with a patient before as I am with this man here. I say, if you keep me on based on what I saw out there at the crime scene, I'm going to turn into a defense witness. The hair on the back of my neck was standing up. Small Town Dicks, season 12 is out now. Don't miss it. ACAS helps creators launch, grow, and monetize their podcasts everywhere. acas.com. OK, here it is. This very beautiful and raw show. Hi, Kesho. Hi, how are you? I'm good. You are jet lagged, but you're here. I'm here. I am jet lagged as fuck. I can't even play like I'm not. It's the worst feeling. You know when you're so jet lagged, you just start to feel like you're like floating around. Yes. I know that feeling. That's where I'm at. Yeah. There's something quite nice about that because you're just sort of less bothered about things. You just have to go with it. Yeah, you can't fight it. No, so. And it's been a flying visit because you've been here for a few days and you're back to the States in tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow. Yeah. Back to the States event, back home event. Two days ago, shot a music video. It's been like bang on. It's all going. Yeah, it's so exciting. But like after taking a couple of years of not doing it, I forgot how mental it is. It's brutal. It's mental. Having been in this industry as a person on this side of it for many years, seeing how hard musicians work in terms of just their aunt days off and it is just travel and long, long days. It's full on. Well, it, I'm not even, it's not me complaining. I just didn't realize most people know what day of the week it is. That was like, I thought people were joking when they said, maybe like just call me Thursday and I'm like, that's so funny. But people like know what day of the week it is normally. And the first time I ever experienced that was during lockdown. No, like what day of the week is Friday? It's Friday. Are you serious? Yeah, it's Friday. It's Tuesday. You're so wrong. You can't be more wrong. I choose that on Friday. I'll opposite end of the week. It's definitely Friday. But I get it and it's also worth it because you've got a really big year, a really important year. You've got your album out very, very shortly, gag order, which I've been lucky enough to have a sneaky listen to. Did you hear the whole thing? Yes. Every damn word. Oh my god. I was goosebumps listening to the lyrics. I want to break some of the lyrics down in a minute. Yes. But obviously it's a punchy title. Obviously there are things that you haven't been able to say that you can't say. But this album says a lot. Did you get the feeling working on this album that speaking aloud or singing your truth and what you need to say sets you free? Do you think that's true? Absolutely. And I'm in a position where I have an ongoing litigation. So I'm highly aware that everywhere I ever say is highly scrutinized. And also just as the person that put out the song TikTok, I'm also aware that I'm usually seen as the party girl. Fun. Happy. Dance. So this album represents a lot because gag order, the title of it is just I'm talking about things and saying things that I never really thought I had any business talking about or saying. And I realized once I put words to all the emotions that were hiding in the corners of my mind, I do feel so much more free. And why will say that bloke? Why did you fool you? You may be what in the position to say certain things within your music or there were areas that you would leave to other people. Well, I'm very grateful. I'm grateful to be a touring, working musician. Like I get to make music and that's my job. That's insane. I'm so grateful and I'm so lucky. But I also feel it was this self-imposed painting myself into a corner as to the kind of artist I was to other people. And in that catering to other people, I kind of was doing a disservice to myself and also to my fans because I wasn't allowing them to get to know me really all the way until this album. I feel like now people have a complete look. You can go through all my discography and now you can have a really complete look at who I am as a person. And before I'd kept a lot of these, you know, I talk about being insecure and embarrassed and angry. And I just kind of thought that was not for me to talk about. Hmm. Where's a scary thing to talk about? No one wants to talk about feeling insecure embarrassed. We all have these emotions. We all feel a whole range of emotions, but we find it so much easier to talk about the good stuff, the happy stuff, the things that we're proud of. But you've said in interviews that I've read recently and you wrote that beautiful nylon article that, you know, prior to this, you'd push down, suppressed any ugly emotions. Yeah. And this has been a real release of them. But looking at that sort of suppression, did you feel scared to feel those emotions to talk about them? Did you just feel used to numbing them? You said that you kind of would dance them away, sing them away, shop them away, drink them away? Was it a fear or was it just kind of in a habit of suppressing them? It was just a habit. Because, you know, I was so young when TikTok came out and people seemed to really like that song. So that indicated to me that that's what I was useful in is that arena, making people happy, making people dance. And I do love that. So that's where the confusion kind of came in. Is that I like seeing people happy? I like making people happy, but then there is a fine line between making people happy and then being like a people pleaser at the expense of yourself and becoming a caricature of who you are. And I just kind of had to take a step back and like reevaluate the kind of album I was going to make and there are all these voices in my head that were like screaming inside of my head and they were unavoidable during lockdown. You know, usually I'm so busy that I can just be like, oh, I'll get to you later. But in the silence, I really felt like it was time to address and give voice to, you know, especially rage. We grew up thinking women like we can be all of the things. But the one thing I really cannot be, there's nothing more unattractive than an angry woman. And that was just this feeling of head since I was very young. I don't know who said it or if I just like internalize that from culture or if it's purely just in my head, but I was kind of thought, you can be anything, any kind of woman, but not angry. And I have addressed my anger on this album. So I'm like, wildly curious what people are going to think about that. Mm-hmm. Angus really brilliant because actually you can turn it into this fire and this passion. And I probably come to a similar realization. I don't know, in the last sort of few years and have been wanting to release it. I don't want it in me. And I think that's what ends up happening. And we have those, and they're very widely spread cultural beliefs that women should act a certain way and not show any anger. It ends up living in our bodies, which is so, so unhealthy for a star. I've been doing these workouts where you make like wild animalistic noises. And my neighbours think I'm being like murdered. But I am wildly letting it out. And at first I found it really excruciating to hear my own roar. I was like, oh, it's horrible. Like mortifying. And now I'm like goose bumps hearing it and making those sounds. But we're taught to keep it in. Yeah, I feel like don't you find that freeing? It's the best. It's the best. Because I think when you keep it in your body, it manifests. Did you, I mean, I probably had all the clichés things of just like tension. But did you have any physical manifestations of keeping stuff in? Oh my god, you're kidding. Like a few, so many, the whole, like there's the masculine and feminine side of the body. And like my whole feminine from the bottom of my foot to the jaw, like all the way, is just so tight because I felt like just so protective from like, and then the masculine side would step in, which, you know, for me correlates with work. And that side's fine. But it was more like the masculine in me was protecting the feminine in me versus allowing both to show and be balanced, which is something I work on. I do like acupuncture. And that was actually where the anger thing came from is I was getting acupuncture and the doctor was like, you have so much anger, you need to go on a mountain and yell. And so then when I was recording with Rick Rubin, I looked around and I was like, I'm at a mountain. And so then I was like, get the microphone out. Let me yell. Yes. Oh, it's so good. Even just to make, just to make sound freely and not feel bad about it, like knowing it's safe to make any sound you want and not care about that. I know that was a huge part of the process for you working with Rick, because that he allowed you to be you and use your voice as it comes out naturally. And that's something that you were previously worried about getting used to using auto tune and him encouraging, having the scratches, the imperfections and the real rawness to your voice. How was that? Just that must have been quite an exposing process initially. Very uncomfortable. It's kind of similar to like, I used to wear so much makeup and again, it was really fun. But now just like, I'm not wearing wigs. I'm not wearing a ton of makeup, like just really showing who I am, presenting who I really, really am. It's so much scarier, but it's also very liberating and I'm finding real power in it. So when you're working on this album and you're addressing all these emotions, things that you've suppressed, I've read that you've called them ugly emotions, things that you were worried about showing and expressing. Each emotion was the hardest to tap into and to articulate. Hmm. God the whole thing was like, I went in with 70 songs and Rick kind of helped me handpick which ones we were going to put on the album and he like picked all the most difficult ones. Thanks Rick. But I don't think he even knew that, but just each song was its own little journey through like, it felt like almost like a journey through the stages of grief and this album really is an album. Like I know in today's culture, most people don't listen to full albums. Like myself, I'm guilty of it. Like I listen to a song on Spotify and then you know, sometimes I'll listen to a full album, but we don't always sit and listen to the music, like how one reads a book. But I'm really hoping people listen to this like reading a book because each song is like a little chapter. Each song is a little stage of grief and me overcoming it and kind of full circle coming to a place of love, self love and hope. But yeah, I don't know which song was the hardest. The whole damn thing was hard. It was really hard. Where was your self love at before this album? Um, I think it comes in waves like anything else. Some days it's, I'm like the fucking queen. And then there are some days they look at the mirror and I'm like, oh, yikes. I know those days intimately. Yeah, we all have it. We all have it. But addressing it in this album, that must have been extremely cathartic to, because I think we all let you sort of moment ago, go, I'll deal with that later. I'll worry about that self-loathing or the rage or whatever it is down the line. I don't have the time. I don't have the inclination. And I'm sure the strange timeout that we've all had, but certainly is a touring musician having that static time allowed you to explore that because before the pandemic, you had your album Hi-Road, which we planned a tour, planned travel. That got cut short. Don't get to do that. And you've got this body of work and you questioned during that time. Is it art if no one hears it? What are your thoughts on that now? You still see it as art, even though it didn't end up going through that full cycle that an album would normally. I mean, it's also subjective, but I kind of realized in the past couple of years, for me, I make art because I have no other choice. The song is a prayer and it really should be between me and the song and me and God. So I do. I do think it's art. Bad art is still art. Art no one sees is still art because I think it's art. If it comes out of you and you say it's art, then it's art. I absolutely agree. But we're so culturally obsessed with feedback. Oh my gosh. That's accelerated even more in the last 10 years. I think it was probably bad 20 years ago. Before that, maybe not so much, people like David Bowie were creating because, again, they had to and they needed to and they wanted people to feel something, but it didn't matter about the reaction. We are obsessed with controlling the narrative of what that reaction is going to be. And it's been normalized, which is the terrifying thing. So now we're, we've started to feel a discomfort if things aren't received perfectly, which is impossible. It's an impossibility to have all of you, like this podcast or your albums or whatever art that you're creating for it to be received in one way. It's impossible, but I think that feedback loop has become something that's so normalized but that we don't really know what to do without it now. I agree. Like, even just looking at how many people are like something or how many people have listened to something or how many people watch something, it shouldn't matter. It really shouldn't because I always think like if one line in one of my songs helps one other person, then I've done something right. So why do I need it to hit like an ounce of thousands of people? Like it really doesn't matter, but I also am a human with an ego and it feels good when a lot of people watch it. Yeah. A lot of people like it, but that's all ego. But it's seeping into all areas of, you know, whoever's got a phone basically is affected by this. It's not just people in the public eye. It's now everybody is trying to, I guess, quantify their self-worth. Yeah. Like, there's a number that relates to my, to my self-worth and we've got to eradicate that somehow. Well, because no number is going to be the right number. Nope. Like, there's always a bigger number. There's always... How do I say this? I'm in recovery from an eating disorder and if I don't anymore in my recovery, but it's like getting on a scale, there's never the right number. Like the house is never going to be big enough. Then you just want a nicer car. Like to me that's seeking more external validation instead of going inward and making peace with yourself. And I think that we all are guilt, I'm so guilty of it, but it feels good, but it doesn't necessarily bring happiness. It doesn't. As someone who like my first song was like a massive song, the amount of plays it has, of course, grateful for it. God, fuck yeah. But does it fix you? No. I don't know if that sounds so country to say. Not at all. It's the truth. I don't think people like to hear it because we like to either assume our happiness is in the future when we have done the thing that we think's going to fix us. Or I think we find it very easy to look to other people who are seemingly successful and I use that term probably not authentically in what just society believes is success. We look at people in that way and think, oh, it's all right for them. They've got everything, they're flying and we are trying to validate our own pain by attaching it to things. But like you've just said, it doesn't equate. I think it's really helpful to have someone like yourself say, I've had a huge global hit, travelled the world, seen everything, but it doesn't fix the inside bit. I don't think it sounds country. I think it sounds absolutely honest and we should take heed of it. It's just because we all go on social media and of course I post the pictures after I've done like three hours of glam and look fucking fabulous. And I don't post the ones where I like kind of look like shit. So I'm guilty of it too. We all want to put our best face forward, I think. And I think that's natural. But that's like kind of why I thought it was important to make the album I just made is because there are parts that are not totally saying great, but we kept them in because they were real. There are emotions I'm talking about that are embarrassing, but I kept it in because it's real. And I don't know right now I just feel really drawn to show myself in a really, really real vulnerable way. And the irony is I truly don't give a fuck what kind of shit people are about to talk because you always get people talking shit. It's like unavoidable. And because I did something that scared me so much, but I think was like the right thing for me to do. Nobody can touch that. So that feels real. The fact that I'm excited about. I'm excited for you to go through that process. That is like goose bumpy. Just not caring. Don't care. Don't care what you say. I've made art and that's what it is. And I know. I don't think I've ever said this before in my life, but I know it's fucking great. And like, I don't know. That is enough for me. And also, more people need to say that out loud when they're proud about something. I think what I've created is brilliant. We have such an aversion to admitting that. Like, oh no, not me. I didn't. It's okay. When inside, we actually feel really proud. I think it's a really, again, like brilliant culture busting thing to say, I'm really happy with what I've done there. And I think it's brilliant. Thanks very much. Yes. Yes. I'm not trying to be a douchebag. I just, when you work really hard at something. I'm proud of it. I'm proud of it. I do feel like you should be allowed to be proud of it. You absolutely should. I think we support anyone else says, and I think, again, it goes back to our obsession with feedback. Yeah. And assuming that lots of people's opinions mean something, but their thoughts in people's heads that are now weirdly on a screen, but 30 years ago would have remained in a head. Yeah. They wouldn't have left that head. And they would have been completely irrelevant to you in your life. Like, I used to do TV back in the 90s when I was a kid. And I would do a show. And if I thought it was good, I'd go, that was a good show. I would not go home. Now, if you do a show, you have to go, was it good? Let me just cancel Instagram to see if I was good, rather than using your intuition to think if something's good on it. I'm like trusting yourself. Trusting yourself. Hmm. It seems like that's not necessarily the prerogative of social media is to learn to trust yourself. Yeah. As we're talking about it, it's more like learning to trust the opinion, the mass opinion of what other people think, which I don't suppose you could have made an album like this if you didn't trust yourself at this point in life because it's a vulnerable place to step into talking about these subjects and talking about your life in such a way. I don't think you could do that if, unless you were completely trusting and it's probably more of a gut feeling than like a list of pros and cons. It's a feeling that you've got to say these words. And I guess also extremely important that you work with someone that understands that and working with Rick Rubin, who not only is obviously just renowned and respected and brilliant, but seemingly from what I've read about the process, someone that really got that and got you and was curious about you and who you were as a person. Yeah, it was like a very beautiful experience. I'm very, very, very lucky that he wanted to like dive in and work on this with me. Like it makes me emotional. Or bad. Because it was just like so cool to have, oh my god, get it together. It was just so cool to have somebody not only encourage you to be yourself, but through the process, I think he allowed me to love parts of myself that were imperfect. Yeah. Keep in mind I'm sleep depressed. But like it was just amazing to have that. Yeah, well it's like therapy. If you have a therapist say what you're telling me about these feelings your life is okay. It's a huge, a huge thing to happen and I think bring music to the equation with that where you're creating something with the darkness that you feel, the heaviness, whatever it might be. That's an amazing thing that he, a gift that he gave you. It was. And just someone that like validates and it's like you're not crazy. I hear you, I see you, keep going and no, we're not putting auto tune on your voice. You don't need it. Like I can't even tell you how many times we had to like, I would beg for auto tune. He was like, you don't need it. And then the engineer would be like, you don't need it. And it was like that kind of blew my mind. It was about the same time I was like, huh, maybe I don't have to like wear a wicks. Maybe I could just have my hair. Like it was an unraveling of all of these illusions and it was really cool. Yeah, that's liberating. It's been like a very beautiful process and I hope that, that liberation is felt when you listen to the album and I'm really curious. Not how many people like the album because again, like that's not the point with this one, but I'm curious if people connect and feel liberated after listening. AKS powers the world's best podcast. Here's a show that we recommend. There's a twin mattress just laying on the floor. There's a video camera that is set up on a tripod and then there's like a little lamp. This is what we call a dungeon. Hi, I'm Yardley Smith. Guess what? Season 12 of Small Town Dix is here. She says, I've never been more terrified in a room with a patient before as I am with this man here. I say, if you keep me on based on what I saw out there at the crime scene, I'm going to turn into a defense witness. The hair on the back of my neck was standing up. Small Town Dix Season 12 is out now. AKS helps creators launch, grow and monetize their podcast everywhere. AKS.com. I want to talk about something that happened prior to the writing of this album and something that actually probably was a bit of a catalyst certainly with one of the songs, Eat Acid. This was during lockdown. You, like many people, were finding it very confusing and discombobulating and you're experiencing panic, anxiety, insomnia, all things that I'm intimately friendly with. And you had what you've described one night in the middle of the night, 3.30 in the morning, a spiritual awakening. Tell me what happened, what was the experience if you can even articulate it? I can try. I tell this story also, I'm very aware that it sounds insane. But let me take you through it. So I was having a ton of anxiety, just like probably a lot of other people not knowing what the fuck was going on, collective trauma. Not being near my family. Being in a relationship that just was not the right one, sitting in bed, like you said, not being able to sleep. And I usually only pray when I'm desperate. It's like the last resort. Just in case this works, I'm going to say a little prayer. Then I felt this warm, cozy golden blanket of light kind of fall over my body because previous to that, when you have anxiety, if anyone has anxiety, right? Be familiar with the feeling, but you kind of feel like you're internally buzzing. And like just not balanced, but also oscillating so quickly. So this calm came over me and I was suddenly, I felt like as if I was being held and it was a really weird feeling to feel like a baby or something in the arms of something or someone. And then I just let the tension go in my body and allowed myself to not be in control. For the first time, like maybe fucking ever. And it just felt like this massive weight I've been lifted off of my chest. And I, this is the part that I know sounds like extra crazy, but this is true. My cat put my headphones in his mouth and he like walks onto the bed and drops them on my lap, which he's not like a thing he does. There's only time he's ever done it. He's a cat. He's not a dog. Nobody is a genius. Wow. I've got a genius, Carolina. He's good Simon. Mine's Mr. Peeps. My little soul mate. But anyway, he loves like they read the room. They know what is going on. They like get this otherworldly shit that we don't. So he drops my headphones. So I'm like, okay, I'm going to put the headphones in and usually I put on a meditation. So I like open up my meditation, put the headphones in. And I listen to the same meditation a lot and all of a sudden totally different voice is coming out of the same meditation I listen to saying just totally different stuff and proceed it to have like a full-on conversation about like everything. And there were like jokes being made. It was the weirdest fucking thing in the world and I know it sounds nutty. It sounds amazing. It's what it sounds. Well, I like, it scared the shit out of me to be honest. And then I started seeing like visuals which I've never taken acid to be clear. The song is called ETHIASID but I've never taken it. And I kind of just saw how we're all connected and love was running through everything. And so the next day I woke up and wrote ETHIASID and that was the catalyst for the whole album. It's so wild and so brilliant. It is so wild. I love it. I live for this shit. I love it. I absolutely love it. So you wake up the next day. You've got the feeling that you need to create. You've got this song that's forming. How do you then carry on with the rest of your life? Has it changed you? Oh, totally. Million percent. Million percent. Different person. Wow. Yeah. And like in a way that I have like nostalgia for who I once was. I have love for her. But I think sometimes people are here a lot like we want the old cashier back. And it's like y'all she's fucking dead. I'm don't know what to tell you. The new ones pretty cool though. Yeah. Like she if you need her. The albums are there. They will always be there. But I'm on a whole different trip man. I kind of love it too. It keeps life exciting. Well, I really love it. And everyone changes. Everyone grows. And I think sometimes when you're in the public eye there is an expectation that you have to be the person you arrived as. Yeah. And that you can't change. Like what's going on here? Who's this person? Everyone's changing. Every day through experience and learnings and you know challenges, whatever it might be. So I think it's brilliant that you're just you're charging forward with these new ideas, new thoughts, new feelings. It's brilliant. I don't even know. I have no idea how I could ignore an experience like that. You know, I'm just be like, I'm going to write a song about going to the club. Like that would be so disingenuous. Like that's not art. When you're just making something to like placate. God only, I don't even know who. That's not art. The algorithms. Yeah, that's not art. If I'm truly an artist, then I feel like it's my civic duty to make art. Mmm. And that's like you have to follow the callings. And the video for that specific song as well, I, it's so impactful to watch that video. It's really stressful to watch, but I couldn't take my eyes off it. It's a real close up of your face. And then you've just got hands grabbing at you, fingers in mouth, up nose, sort of pulling at your skin. And it's really like a claustrophobic, but enticing thing to watch. What was the feeling you were trying to get across? Or was there a specific experience that you were trying to portray with that video? I think I wanted, I definitely set out to make the visuals as uncomfortable as the experience. Because sometimes when you hear a term like spiritual awakening or something, it sounds like kind of lovely. But for me, it was like very stressful and it was really uncomfortable. I really wanted to make a visual that would be uncomfortable for people to watch. Just because I, you know, I want you to get the full experience. When you listen to the song and watch the visual, I want you to like be in my head for a minute. So sorry if it's uncomfortable, but it was intended to be that way. Yeah, it's all. You've got to feel something when you watch. And so what was the discomfort? Is it knowing that you have to change everything in your life and saying goodbye to things? Yeah, there's a grief. Yeah. When you change, like there is like a sadness when you start to be more aware of things that you're like, fuck, I used to be so like young and naive and happy and clueless about so many things. And that was so nice. And that is God now. Like, do you feel like that with your, yeah, with the span of your career where you were nervous to change and evolve and grow? Yes, well, also because I started out in kids TV when I was a child. Now it's a grown-ass woman. People sometimes still assume that I'm childlike in some way. I'm 41. I'm a fucking grown-ass adult. But I think that certainly, but I, it really resonates you talking about how you can look back and go, God, things were easy where I was clueless and I didn't care as much about the things that I should. And I could fall back on wild behaviour, whatever it was. Whereas now, when you know so much or you know so much more, you have to be accountable. You have to make the right choice because you know where the bad choice is going to lead you and it will be the same place that you've always ended up. It takes much more effort. So I think it is. It's a harder choice but a better one. Yeah. And it's kind of like once you know better, like you know better, you could have day better. I know a bit. Like, there are times where I'm like, I wish I could just not know for just like an hour. Let me just make some bad decisions for like one hour but there's no going back and I can't pass. That's what atheistic is about. Yeah. That there's no going back. Not only if you take psychedelics, that's like the surface level, the lyrics, but underneath that, there's no going back in general once you grow. Yeah. There's something you lose and once you see things, you can't unsee them just in the world too. Yeah. There's other lyrics that I want to specifically pinpoint. So when I was listening to Fine Line, I had the biggest grin on my face. First of all, it was like I was trying to work out why I was grinning the whole way through. Not only is it a great song to listen to, but I was feeling something. Part of it was this like absolute happiness for you. I don't even know you that well. I'm just like, I feel so happy for you and sort of just knowing that you were liberated and that you just didn't care in the best possible way, not in a realistic way, in a way where you're like, I don't care. And I felt happy because I was like, I feel all of this. I totally get it. Really? Yes. You're discussing the fine line between things such as hope and delusion, genius and craziness being broken and breaking, surviving and living. And I wonder how much you care or worry about crossing that line now into the parts that are seemingly less acceptable on a societal level. Well, that's interesting. Of course, I want to be functional. But I think sometimes like you walk a fine line with some of these things like surviving and living. There are definitely are moments where I feel like I just got to get through the next, you know, 24 hours. And then you wake up the next day and you have really beautiful experiences. And then you're like, this is what living is. So it's not even that I'm living on one or the other side of this fine line. I think it's just knowing that everything is a tiny, like it's microscopic, the space between stepping over the line. And actually that song started because someone was telling me about like a romance. Someone was super in love with somebody else. And he was like, should I make a grand romantic gesture? Like flowers, tons of them. Go to the house, middle of the night, the boom box, like do the whole super romantic thing. And I remember thinking like there's really, really, really fine line between romantic and restraining order. So like everything, it's all dependent on someone else's perspective. And that's really the commentary I'm making on fine line is I can't really worry about your perspective. Like if you think I'm a genius or you think I'm crazy, maybe I'm a little bit of both. Yeah. Yeah. It's great. It's a thin veneer between all of it and who's to say we're the lineers. Yeah, it's a good song. It's a bloody good song. Thank you. Within that song you also say that there's a fine line between being famous and forgotten. And I wonder how you feel about fame this far down the line. What's weird? Because with being famous, it's like such a weird term, you know? Because I don't know. It's just such a, I don't think of myself as that. But technically speaking, I don't really think of myself as a famous person, but then someone else will ask for like a picture with me and then I'll be like, but yeah, I don't know. Like sometimes I just don't really know if I'm famous or not. And I think that's where that line came from. It's like who's to say if I am, but also now we all have these Instagrams. And like, it's TikTok. So it's like who's to say who's famous? Yeah. I know, we almost need like a new word for it. Because if you look at like the 50s, there were probably 20 famous people and everyone knew them. And it was like a Elizabeth Taylor, like all these real sort of superstars. And now like you say, there's people that are famous who have come through Instagram or TikTok or YouTube. And it's this, there's millions of famous people. It's such a different feeling to the word now. It's bizarre. Well, and who's to say like how many followers equals fame? Is it a Czech marketing fame? Don't you now have to purchase those? Do you? Like the whole thing just sends me down like a mine trip. Yeah. But as someone that doesn't like necessarily identify as being a famous person, like occasionally I do, but like generally speaking, not, it's just like, it's like a weird fine line. Like yesterday I felt famous, but not the day before that. It's crazy. It's brilliant. I like it. I lied in art show yesterday. So I was like, oh, I'm quite famous today. And it's famous in this room. Yeah. The next 30 minutes. It's such a weird thing. Intermittent fame. I like it. It's really good. How have you found, let's say, let's use the term being in the public eye, coming out of recovery from having an eating disorder? I have done exactly the same as you and I have found it extremely challenging at times to see myself. It's not normal to have yourself reflected back that much. No, that's hard. I tend to hide away from that side these days because I really, really don't like it. And I probably still could be quite triggered. Although I'm happily in a great space in terms of my physical body. But I do think it's a very treacherous path to walk being in the public eye when you are going through such a recovery. Oh, God. I agree. I don't think it's like a very like recovery conducive job, honestly. It's not. It's the opposite. Everybody has their opinion about which part of you should be, you know, fill in the blank. And the thing for me as I used to make comments about me, my higher power, and then I would like, it would be like God's truth. It would be like gospel. It would be, I would internalize it and it would be true. And that's how I'd speak to myself. Now, thank God, after being in years of recovery, I can see a God fucking awful picture. It still makes me want to throw my phone across the room and hide under the sheets. But like that period lasts for 30 seconds instead of four years. And just kind of remembering like opinions are like assholes. Everybody got one. So like let out a lot of shit, but that's how they let out a lot of shit. And you just have to kind of like, no, you are. I think finally I can say like, I know who I am. I know what I stand for. I also know my good angles and that one's not a good one. So like fuck you for hiding behind a bush and you need a shit angle. I hate it. And we're moving on. Am I moving on? It's brilliant. It's my sensible approach to all of it. But it's hard. Don't give me right. Yeah, very hard, but I just try not to read the comments. Yeah, I've been doing a bad job of that in the past a couple of days. Because I wanted to see if people like my new song. So I've been reading too much and cutting myself off. This is me saying, no, you have to like set rules and go, not looking, not paying attention. I think we all, I think everyone needs to do that. We all need to set rules because there aren't any. It's like the wild west. So we need to put rules down. Other lyrics that I really wanted to pinpoint in the song, only love, can save us now. You say, I have no shame left. And that's my freedom, which again, I was like air punching hearing you say that. Shame is a big one. It's a really ugly one. And it's one that completely just crodes every bit of goodness in your body and you feel horrendous. And there are so many people who will probably be listening to this now who either be feeling shame now or have shame about things from the past. How have you mitigating shame? Shame is like one of the darkest demons. And it is a hard one. I'm not saying I have like the answer or anything like that, but I will say just even admitting to the shame and like giving it a place, giving it a voice. Like it's there. She's a seat at the table. Instead of just pretending I have no shame and I just feel like a bad bitch all the time, which Lord, I wish I did, but by giving her space actually has helped the shame chill out. I don't even know if that makes sense. Yes, because it's the, um, it's like the old adage, whatever you resist persists. So the more you shove something in the way, the louder it gets. So I guess that's the way to do it. Like come on then, shame, bring it on. Yeah. And I absolutely have moments where it gets really, really, really big. And, hmm, honestly, I try to write that helps me the most as I write or I like reach out to a close friend and just talk about it. Those are the things I do that help me with my shame because I'm not going to sit here and say I don't have any. I do still have it, but it just feels more manageable when you, yeah, either for me share about it in my art or share about it with someone I trust or like share about it to myself. Like the shame only gets worse when it's living just in my head and it somehow, it chills out once I say it out loud to someone else or even out loud to myself by giving it the voice, it, the demon like dissipates a bit. Yeah, I think shame breeds in secrecy and silence, yeah. It loves the secret. It's bigger, yeah, it's bigger and bigger. I want to say it, there's something about it watching someone else hear you and see you and allow for whatever you're shameful about and you realize you live through telling someone about your game. Yeah, you're still here. Then it like, it helps it just not feel as massive. But it seems like the whole album is that with lots of different emotions that, and that's actually empowering and can be replicated in just everyday life and conversations, saying this stuff out loud, whatever it is, shame, stuff loathing, whatever the feeling is that you're uncomfortable with, saying it out loud dissipates it. But also I think allows you to control your life because if you're saying it, it's almost like you're protecting yourself from anyone else saying it. Yeah, you're controlling your own narrative, but I'm a big fan of. And also I spent just like the shame aspect thinking about it. Like I spent so many years having so much shame about so many things, like fucking every square inch of my body, about my voice, you know, like there was like nothing was left untouched by the shame that, you know, between fine line, like I'm sick of walking the fine fucking line. And I don't have any shame left to give you, I've used it all and there is a freedom in that. There is a freedom in just like having, having nothing left in the well, like it's weird because I give very much of the fuck about the album, but then like I told you earlier, then there's a side of me that has just like zero fucks and it feels really beautiful. There's a fine line to all the fucks and zero. It's a very exciting lyric, you need to put in your song. Really? Really, Max. Living in my head is another brilliant song where again, you're extremely open and talking about insecurity, self-loathing, all things again that sort of live quite secretly in our heads. Do, or what do you do or do you do anything to get out of your head, to get back into your physical body or to sort of stop that chatter? Yeah. I do, that song was actually written in the middle of a panic attack which unfortunately have grown accustomed to that feeling, like I know when they're coming, which is what happens. My breathing will get funny, I get really super anxious, my body gets really tense, I feel kind of non-functionable, I can't sleep. You know, you get really hot, all the things. All the fun things that happen and I hope no one relates, but if you do, maybe, well, I know what I'm talking about, I feel like I'm internally buzzing. Yeah, absolutely. Fuckings, success. Yeah. It feels like you're going to die. And so I used to just sit there during them and then in the middle of when I wrote, living in my head and I was like, you know what, I can always just go back to sitting in my panic attack. But let me try writing a song in the middle of it so it happens. I ended up playing that to recruit, and he really loved it. Like it was the first song he wanted to work on and I was just in the corner being like, fuck my ass. Like not only did I not really, just that song still when I listened to it, I just want to go like this because it's so intimate. It's so intimate and like such a not sexy, not confident, not bad as way. And I trust the people that I've surrounded myself with on this album that they have my best interest at heart. And so I trust that that song is going to help someone because if it's one of Rick's favorite songs on the album, there's a reason for that. And even though it's I'm too close to it to see what that is, I've already heard from just the few people that have heard the song, had a couple of fan like playback sessions. And it seems to stick out to them in a way it sticks out to me and like I want to go on the other room and it's playing. But many people have brought it up to me that that has helped them not feel like they're the only one. Yeah. I think again, that's when you're in a panic attack, you do feel like you're the only person in the world who's having one or who has ever had one. And actually when you start to speak about this stuff openly, you realize, oh my God, so many people feel like this and it might manifest in a different way. But so many people are dealing with that out of control sensation. And I think it's, I haven't heard a song with those kind of lyrics in before. I think it's really important. God, that's so scary to me. But it's not the best reaction. I'm happy if you were picking out a song with it. You felt numb too. Like, yeah, it's fine. I'm in the club. I'm doing my thing in the club and you felt numb about it. You wouldn't be happy with that. No, I wouldn't. No, I'm actually really excited at the fact that it scares me. The fear and the fact that it scares me is such a good sign. The best. It's great, but it's also like so uncomfortable. Of course it is. The best stuff is. I'm just going to like marinate in the feeling because it's where we're at. I do think the best stuff comes from discomfort. Honestly, that's where you grow. So I'm a bitch that grows. You're all really split and I'm really grateful that you're allowing us to all be part of that experience. And to hear you growing and see it and to, you know, feel lyrics to resonate because like I said, I was just grinning throughout a lot of it. Kind of knowing. No grinning through that. I'm just curious. No, through that one I was going, I hear you. I get it. You know, like I, I had to go and stay in a hotel on whatever night this week and I, I'm not good in hotels. I'm like hyper aware of not my bedroom and things different and there's different sounds. And at about 10 I started thinking, oh, now it's too late for me to change room and then the panic attack is like, it's there. We're in it because I'm trapped. I feel trapped. And mine is probably similar to yours and I'm very hot. And I feel like I'm going to faint. I feel like I'm sort of floating out of my own body. And like you say, it's not sexy to talk about that stuff. It's not fun to talk about that stuff. It doesn't make you seem appealing to other people necessarily. But actually, I think the deepest connections come from the ugly stuff and the painful stuff and the discomfort. That's where you meet other people in it. Like as humans, as two humans, rather than as two egos or two people just trying to show off their best side. So I think it's really important to talk about that stuff. I agree. Now I was going to say it and then you said it. That's human. And like I even just after you sharing that feel closer and more compassion. Like I had compassion for you before. Like I feel even more so connected to you because I know those feelings and they're so fucking uncomfortable and I hate that you experience them. And I've been there too. And you're not alone. Yeah. And you're doing that. You're doing that with your album. It's really brilliant. It's really brilliant. And just keep not fucking caring and making great art because that's all that matters. I'm going to try. It's brilliant. Thank you. I'm really excited. I'm really excited. I have no concept of how this is going to go. But it's something you've never heard from me and I don't know. I've ever heard anything quite like it. It's something. It's something and it's something brilliant and I'm really excited for you and just congratulations on all of it and good luck with the rest of your year. Thank you. I've loved, I could talk to you for weeks. Thank you so much, Kesha. Thank you for having me. Oh, God, Kesha. I haven't stopped thinking about that chat since we met. So many things rumbling around in my old brain. It was just beautiful, joyful. If Kesha lived in the UK, I would try really hard to be her best mate. I just felt so brilliant after spending time with her and I really hugely appreciated how deep we went and I felt really happy in my own skin after having that conversation. I just loved it. I really, really loved it. That truly phenomenal album which will change your life, gag order is out now. And like Kesha said, do listen to it as an album in its entirety. It's incredible. It's a brilliant story. I'd love to know if any of this chat particularly resonated with you. We're on Instagram at Happy Place official if you want to continue the conversation there. Another place where gorgeous conversations are going to be happening is at the Happy Place Festival, God, I'm excited. We've been extremely busy organising all of the fantastic workshops and classes and the schedules are now live on the Happy Place website. There are craft workshops like pottery and painting, Pilates and Pilates Pilates Pilates Pilates. Pilates. I love it. And creative dance will be happening in the energy studio. There's yoga, tapping, breath work, sleep workshops, God, I need that. And astrology plus so so much more. If you've got your festival ticket already, you'll receive an email when the workshops are available to book. And if you've not got your festival ticket, well go on, get it now so you don't miss out on those classes with limited availability. Okay, the podcast will be back next week so make sure you're back here by following the show wherever you're listening to this right now. A huge thank you again to the brilliant Kesha, to the producer and Ashkathat, Rethan Cordillo and to you, I love you loads. Here's a show that we recommend. There's a twin mattress just laying on the floor. There's a video camera that is set up on a tripod and then there's like a little lamp. This is what we call a dungeon. Hi, I'm Yardley Smith. Guess what? Season 12 of Small Town Dicks is here. She says, I've never been more terrified in a room with a patient before as I am with this man here. I say, if you keep me on based on what I saw out there at the crime scene, I'm going to turn into a defense witness. The hair on the back of my neck was standing up. Small Town Dicks Season 12 is out now. Don't miss it. Yes.com.