Kesha’s new song comes from an unlikely source of inspiration: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Yes, pop star Kesha is writing about our favorite, the Notorious RBG. The song, “Here Comes the Change,” is not a random single from a Kesha album, however. It’s set to be part of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic starring Felicity Jones, On the Basis of Sex.
The song — kinda pop, kinda gospel, very soulful, definitely Kesha — begins, “One day I’ll be gone / the world will keep turning / I hope I leave this place / better than I found it.” The song starts like this because, according to Kesha, “Sometimes the troubles of the world are so overwhelming, it is paralyzing. And it’s true: One person may not be able to fix every problem. But we can certainly leave things better off than we found them.” Amen.
How did Kesha get the job? Director of On the Basis of Sex explained to Variety, “I greatly admire Kesha’s artistry and commitment to activism.” (Kesha’s song “Praying” is widely hailed as a tribute to sexual assault survivors.) Kesha, the director continued, has a “passionate voice” and “immense talent,” and that would help to disseminate the values that RBG stood for.
In a personal essay for Refinery29, Kesha writes about her decision to do the song for the film. “When I was first approached to write a song for the movie, I thought I was the wrong person for the job,” Kesha explains, “For me, songwriting is such a personal process and it is almost always inspired by things I’ve experienced in my own life. The idea that I should be writing about someone else’s life, and that person would be Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was intimidating. How could my voice matter in this context? I thought to myself.”
But she saw the film, and everything changed. (Cue dramatic music.)
Kesha explains, “It was amazing to see Ginsburg’s story of leading a campaign that successfully changed laws that discriminated against Americans purely on the basis of their sex, as the film title suggests.” Kesha has become an artist whose work is about uplifting women, though the singer insists that it is not “political.” Yet, she writes that she is inspired by Bob Dylan, her “musical idol,” who was “blunt in his songs during the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War.” (Kesha, that’s kinda political, no?)
For her, the lyrics and song is about “promoting love and equality, the belief that everyone should have the same opportunity to live a safe and healthy life full of love and hope regardless of their skin color or sexual orientation or gender or religion.”
So is the song about RBG?
Yes and no. She’s speaking to people who feel overwhelmed by the darkness that is everywhere right now, about how it feels as if the news gets worse every day. For Kesha, she hopes the song and the video will encourage listeners to believe that they, too, can make a difference. They don’t need to be RBG, but they can vote. They can speak up for what they believe in. They can “have a positive impact on our shared future.” They can be inspired by RBG and her lifelong pursuit of equality.
Only one question remains: Does RBG even know who Kesha is?!
Listen to the song here: