Dr. Luke's Label Calls Off Kesha Performance at Billboard Music Awards - Rolling Stone
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Dr. Luke’s Label Calls Off Kesha Performance at Billboard Music Awards

Kemosabe Records withdraws approval following reports that pop star would reference legal battle with producer

Kesha; Dr. Luke; Kemosabe Records; Billboard Music AwardsKesha; Dr. Luke; Kemosabe Records; Billboard Music Awards

Dr. Luke's Kemosabe Records has withdrawn its approval of Kesha's performance at the Billboard Music Awards.

Michael Kovac/Getty

UPDATE: In a post on Instagram, Kesha confirmed that she would not perform at the Billboard Music Awards, but explained it was not because she was planning to reference her ongoing legal battle with Dr. Luke. “I was very excited to perform a tribute to Bob Dylan by singing a cover of ‘It Ain’t Me,Babe’ at the Billboard awards this year,” Kesha wrote. “I’m very sad and sorry to say I won’t be allowed to do this. I just wanted to make very clear that this performance was about me honoring one of my favorite songwriters of all time and has never had anything at all to do with Dr. Luke. I was never going to use a picture of him, speak of him or allude to my legal situation in any way. I simply wanted to sing a song I love to honor an artist I have always looked up to. thank u all for the continued support.”

Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe Records will not allow Kesha to perform at the Billboard Music Awards, Sunday May 22nd, Billboard reports.

Rumors that Kesha would take the stage at the BBMAs surfaced last week, and according to a statement issued by Dick Clark Productions, Kesha had accepted an invitation to perform with “written approval” from Kemosabe.

The statement, however, continued: “Kemosabe subsequently rescinded its approval following a media report on Wednesday May 11th regarding Kesha’s appearance on the BBMAs. Unfortunately, Kesha and Kemosabe have since been unable to come to an agreement for Kesha to perform on the show.”

According to a report from TMZ on the 11th, Kesha was allegedly planning to make direct reference to her legal fight with Dr. Luke during her Billboard Music Awards performance. The singer has accused the producer of sexual and verbal abuse, but remains attached to Kemosabe after a judge denied her an injunction that would have allowed her to record new music outside of the label.

Dick Clark Productions provided no further details about the disagreement, but said they remained hopeful that the issue would be resolved by Sunday.

In March, Kesha appealed the judge’s injunction denial, but despite ongoing court battles has also begun to return to music. In April, the pop star teamed with Zedd for “True Colors,” her first single since 2013’s “Timber,” (it was approved by Dr. Luke and Kemosabe), while last week she covered Lady Gaga’s Oscar-nominated song, “Til It Happens to You” at the Humane Society Gala in Los Angeles. This summer, Kesha will also take part in at least three of Diplo’s Mad Decent Block party gigs: August 7th at Brooklyn’s MCU Park, August 21st at Chicago’s FirstMerit Bank Pavilion and the tour-ending visit to L.A. Center Studios on October 1st. 


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