Lester Cohen / Getty Images North America 1 / 50
Lester Cohen / Getty Images North America 1 / 50

Kesha, whose debut Animal and first single “Tik Tok” made her a household name in the late aughts, learned early on about struggle and stardom as she watched her mom slug it out as a songwriter on welfare and food stamps. In 1991, her mom moved the family to Nashville where she’d gotten a songwriting contract and allowed her daughter to hang out and fiddle around in recording studios. She left high school, changed her name to Ke$ha and headed to LA at 17 to pursue a career, even bribing a gardener to let her in to Prince’s house to leave her demos. Her first gigs were back-up vocals for Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Flo Rida. Her uncredited and unpaid cameo on “Right Round” (2009) led to her contract with RCA and three Top 10 hits including “Blah Blah Blah” and “Your Love Is My Drug.” She followed it up with more party anthems including “We R Who We R” and “Die Young,” a remix album, a 2012 rock-centric sophomore release and a collaboration with Pitbull (“Timber”). In early 2014, the singer spent two months in rehab for an eating disorder, which nearly killed her, and dropped the dollar sign. By June, she was working on new music and love with writer beau Brad Ashenfelter.