Dana TrippeKesha‘s new album High Road, due in January, marks her return to the sort of upbeat pop music that first made her a star.  Kesha says returning to that musical style was a big step for her, but she says she finally realized, “It’s O.K. to be happy.”

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Kesha says she was ready to follow up 2017’s Grammy-nominated Rainbow with a “psychedelic country album” when her brother suggested she go back to writing pop songs because she’s so good at it.  But that was easier said than done, as Kesha explains.

“I kind of felt like I didn’t have the right to be happy and write happy songs,” she admits. But after penning one track, “My Own Dance,” she realized how much pleasure it gave her.

“I have to say, that song, and that conversation with my brother, put me on the path of finding probably the most severe happiness I’ve ever had my entire life,” she tells Rolling Stone.

“I’ve been through things that were not all pleasant, and…I felt a little guilty about making dance-y songs, fun songs, and songs about going out and getting drunk with my friends,” she explains.

“And then I realized I don’t have to live under a dark cloud forever…I earned my happiness, and it’s O.K. to be happy,” she declares. “And hopefully that’s inspiring to people.”

But that’s not to say that every song on the album is a carbon copy of “Tik Tok.”

“There’s wacky s*** and moments that are super-introspective,” she says. “I feel like we’re finally at a place in music where you don’t just have to be one thing….You can be everything. You can be the infinite amount of things that people are.”

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