"'Rainbow' was the first song I wrote for this record. I wanted to call the album Rainbow because after the storm, there's a rainbow — and recently, I feel like I’ve gone through some things that have felt like a storm in my life. This was my way of telling myself that I was going to make it through," Kesha wrote for Refinery29.
"When it finally came time to go into the studio and record 'Rainbow,' I knew I wanted to do something special. All I had was this piano vocal that I had recorded myself, but I wanted the song to be orchestral in the same way that the Beach Boys’ album, Pet Sounds, is. Luckily my wonderful, kind and very good friend Ben Folds agreed to produce and record the song with me."
The recording session for the song, with Folds on piano, also became the focus of the "Rainbow" video as Kesha's brother Lagan Sebert and a crew filmed the "live-to-tape" performance.
"We worked out the arrangement together, and then we rented out the biggest room at Capitol Studios in L.A. — the same room Frank Sinatra recorded in — and brought in an orchestra," the singer said. "Ben wanted me to feel that I was worthy of commanding such a room with my voice. His belief in me and encouragement over the past few years has really helped me so much in becoming confident in myself and my voice."
Kesha, who performed "Praying" on The Tonight Show Thursday, added that "Rainbow" is the eighth song on Rainbow as a nod to the eighth song on Pet Sounds "God Only Knows," "one of the most touching songs ever."
"'Rainbow' was the song that started a new chapter in my life," Kesha wrote. "Before then, I had made other people's opinions of me my higher power. 'Rainbow' was the beginning of me turning that around and being kind to myself."