Kesha Was Banned From Malaysia and Nearly Thrown In Jail

Kesha is a singer and songwriter who first rose to fame in 2010 after she released a series of popular party anthems, including “Blah Blah Blah” and “Take It Off.” Her hard-partying ways, reputation for excess, and outrageous personal style made headlines, while fans raved about her unique singing voice. After a period of relative silence, Kesha returned to the music industry in full force, making waves with an ongoing legal battle with producer Dr. Luke, and ultimately, rising to the top of the charts once again. Still, her fans will likely always remember her early days of excess and outrage — and the time when she was banned from the country of Malaysia. 

Kesha performs in concert during the Rainbow tour
Kesha performs in concert during the Rainbow tour | Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images

How did Kesha become famous?

Kesha was born in California in 1987. Her mother was a singer-songwriter herself, and raised her daughter primarily on her own, frequently taking her to gigs where the child would watch her perform onstage, according to Biography. The family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1991, and it was in Nashville where young Kesha first started her pursuit of a musical career. Kesha began taking songwriting classes, penning verses with her mother, and studying various musical instruments, including the trumpet and saxophone.

In 2005, when she was only eighteen years old, Kesha was signed to a record label. It took several years before she got enough recognition to really start working on high profile projects, but in 2009, she started making waves when she lent some vocals to the hit Flo Rida song “Right Round.” In 2010, Kesha released her debut album. The album put her firmly on the map, and several of the singles on it became wildly popular, launching Kesha into stardom. 

What is Kesha best known for?

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Kesha’s songs “Your Love is My Drug,” “Take It Off,” and “Blah Blah Blah” became the party anthems of 2010, and as a result, the young star embarked on a series of sold-out concerts. Her shows were notorious for Kesha’s outrageous onstage antics, and she began drawing ire from critics, many of whom claimed that she was too manufactured. 

Over the next few years, Kesha’s star continued to rise, and she released another album in 2012. She also collaborated with some other major stars, including Nicki Minaj and Alice Cooper. Sadly, the year 2014 proved to be a difficult time for Kesha, as she entered a long-running legal battle with music producer Dr. Luke. Ultimately, she has been able to rise above it all, and these days, she is once again a force to be reckoned with in the music industry, with all-new singles like “Cannibal” going viral on social media. 

Why was Kesha banned from Malaysia?

These days, Kesha is hard at work on projects that interest her and lends a great deal of her time to women’s rights causes as well. Still, it was only a few short years ago when she was best known for her hard-partying ways. In fact, Malaysian authorities actually went so far as to ban the singer from their country in 2013, arguing that her planned concert might offend religious sensibilities, according to Harper’s Bazaar.

According to CNN, Kesha’s team released a statement, claiming that they had worked to modify Kesha’s concert in order to better comply with Malaysian “culture and sensibilities,” but the concert was indefinitely canceled, and the singer was forbidden from even entering the country. “To be clear. I did NOT cancel. I was not allowed to play. And then I was going to play anyways and was threatened with imprisonment,” Kesha posted on Twitter shortly after the news went public. There’s no word whether she has any plans to return to Malaysia in the future, or if the country’s officials have softened their stance on Kesha and her concerts.