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The Adventures of Kesha and Macklemore at Ak-Chin Pavilion

June 6, 2018 @ 7:30 pm - 11:30 pm

A brash and driven pop singer/songwriter, Kesha (Kesha Rose Sebert) was born in Los Angeles but moved to Nashville when she was four, where her mother — a longtime songwriter — had inked a publishing deal. (Over a decade prior to that, Pebe Sebert‘s biggest success had come with “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You,” originally recorded by Joe Sun and later by Dolly Parton.) Before finishing high school, Kesha returned to L.A. for the sake of jump-starting her own music career, despite being set up to study psychology at Columbia. She soon met Dr. Luke, the co-writer and co-producer of Kelly Clarkson‘s “Since U Been Gone” (among several other hits), who was impressed with her demo recordings. Kesha penned the Veronicas‘ “This Love” and later contributed background vocals to Britney Spears‘ “Lace and Leather,” both of which were released in 2008. The biggest turning point came one year later, when she was tapped to contribute vocals to Flo Rida‘s Dr. Luke-produced “Right Round,” a number one Hot 100 hit.

Kesha subsequently signed to RCA, and her debut album, Animal — featuring collaborations with Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Benny Blanco — was released in early 2010. Animalproved to be a big hit, reaching the top of the Billboard 200 and spinning off the number one single “TiK ToK.” The nine-song EP Cannibal appeared at the end of the year. Its single, “We R Who We R,” became her second chart-topper, and “Blow” also reached the Top Ten. Cannibal was followed in 2011 by another stopgap release, I Am the Dance Commander + I Command You to Dance: The Remix Album. In 2012, she was called upon by rocker Wayne Coyne for The Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends, a collaborative album that partnered Kesha with Biz Markie on the track “2012 (You Must Be Upgraded).”

Dr. Luke was back on board for her second official album, Warrior, but the more rock-influenced effort also found space for Coyne, punk godfather Iggy Pop, and the indie pop band fun. Preceded by the Billboard Top Ten single “Die Young,” Warrior was released in December 2012 and reached the Top Ten of the albums chart. Two other singles hit the Top 40: “C’Mon” and “Crazy Kids.” Kesha toured North America during 2013 as part of a co-headlining bill with Pitbull, and the duo also recorded a single together, “Timber,” which became Kesha‘s third number one hit. In late 2014, she sued Dr. Luke for an array of charges, including sexual assault, harassment, emotional abuse, and bad business practices; she also sought release from her contract with Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe label. Although the courts initially rejected her claims, wide public support for Kesha caused Kemosabe to release her from her contract in early 2016.

Her return to performing came in April 2016, when she took the stage at Coachella to perform “True Colors” during Zedd‘s set. The studio version was released by the end of the month. Following her own world tour in the summer of that year, Kesha returned to the studio to complete work on her long-awaited third LP, Rainbow. “Praying,” the album’s lead single, was released in July 2017, with the album arriving a month later and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. More singles followed, including “Learn to Grow” and “Woman,” the latter of which hit the top of the U.S. Dance Club Songs chart. In January 2018, Kesha picked up two Grammy nominations, including Best Pop Vocal album for Rainbow, and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Praying.”

A grassroots success, Seattle rapper Macklemore not only climbed to number two on the Billboard 200 album charts, but with little mainstream help, his 2012 sophomore release debuted with only Mumford & Sons in his way for the number one spot. Born Ben Haggerty and raised in Seattle, he debuted as Professor Macklemore in 2000 with the Open Your Eyes EP. Five years later his debut album, The Language of My World, earned him a local following, but it was his 2010 team-up with DJ/producer Ryan Lewis for the Vs. Redux EP that yielded the Red Hot Chili Peppers-sampling hit “Otherside.” With Macklemore‘s wit meeting Lewis‘ inventive production, further hits like “My Oh My” and “Can’t Hold Us” were spread throughout social media and video-sharing sites, setting the stage for a successful sophomore release. That came in 2012 when The Heist dropped as a Macklemore & Ryan Lewis release, debuting at the number two spot on the Billboard 200. Its “Thrift Shop” topped the Billboard Hot 100, and the album eventually reached platinum sales status. The duo performed another one of the album’s singles, “Same Love,” at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards during a marriage ceremony for over 30 couples. That night, the duo took the awards for Best New Artist, Best Rap Album, and Best Rap Performance. In 2015, Macklemore & Lewis returned with “Downtown,” the first single from their second collaborative effort, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made. The 2016 album also featured “Kevin,” a song they debuted live at the 2015 American Music Awards with guest star Leon Bridges, along with the elaborate and politically charged second single “White Privilege II.” Macklemore followed Mess with a handful of solo singles released in 2016 (“Drug Dealer” with Ariana DeBoo and “Wednesday Morning”) and 2017 (“Glorious” with Skylar Grey). The latter track would appear on his official sophomore solo effort, Gemini, which arrived in late 2017.