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Kesha earns Billboard’s Hot 100 artist of the year

“Sometimes I need to remind myself that ’TiK ToK’ only went to No. 1 in January,” Ke$ha says of her party-hearty electro-pop jam. “Because it kind of feels like it was 17 years ago.”

Doesn’t it, though? As far as new artists go, 2010 more or less belonged to this 23-year-old Nashville native, who released her hit debut, “Animal,” in January, then followed it up last month with a nine-track mini-album,“Cannibal.”

With three songs on Billboard’s year-end Hot 100, and 1.1 million copies sold of “Animal,” according to Nielsen SoundScan, Ke$ha is the Hot 100 artist of the year, as well as the top new artist.

“You can never completely predict what’s going to be a hit,” says her producer, Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald. “But I can’t say I’m surprised by Ke$ha’s success.”

The secret behind her rise? RCA/Jive Label Group chairman/CEO Barry Weiss says, “She’s an artist with a point of view — which is more than you can say about 95 percent of the acts out there.”

Billboard: How different is your life right now versus this time a year ago?

Ke$ha: Are you kidding me? I pretty much feel like I’ve been reborn into this completely different existence. My entire life has become making music and playing shows, and I love it. I’ve accepted the fact that my fans are now my family, and I won’t be having boyfriends. I’ll just be having a really amazing relationship with the radio.

BB: Were you prepared for that transformation?

I wasn’t clueless. It’s just not at all what I expected it to be like. It’s really intense — more intense than I ever thought it would be. I remember pulling up to the MTV Video Music Awards in September with Dr. Luke in a DeLorean wearing a garbage-bag dress with the paparazzi chasing me. I was having an anxiety attack, like, “I just wrote some pop songs, man!”

BB: Has Luke advised you on how to navigate the twists and turns of stardom?

Oh, absolutely. He’s been one of the most influential people in my life; he’s been like a big brother. We’re very much tangled up in each other. He’s always given me the best advice and has always been very honest with me in a business where sometimes honesty is not the first word that comes to mind.

BB: “TiK ToK” introduced you to most people. Looking back, do you feel like that was the best possible launch?

I don’t know. We didn’t really know which song to come out with first. It was kind of a debate, because I didn’t initially come out as a rapper; I’ve always been a singer. So having my first single classified as kind of a rap song felt bizarre to me. But now it’s become something of a trademark.


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