Pop star Kesha presents herself to the world as someone who is rather quirky and unusual. In fact, the singer’s fans delight in how genuinely weird she seems to come across, and her unique personality has helped her to make it big in the music industry. But in 2013 she revealed to Heat magazine another interesting fact about herself. Yes, Kesha explained that she was born with an extra body part – and a rather unusual one at that.
Ever since Kesha Rose Sebert was a child, she saw herself as a misfit. After entering the world in March 1987 in Brentwood, Tennessee, she was a musical, creative kid and was consequently bullied by her classmates. She told Rolling Stone in 2017, “I refused to conform, and they refused to be nice.” In fact, sometimes Kesha would forgo eating with the other children and instead take her lunch in the bathroom.
“I was often bullied and shamed into hiding the things that made me unique,” Kesha wrote in a 2017 article for Teen Vogue. “I remember hanging up the velvet pants I had made by hand and asking my mother to take me to the Gap to buy some ‘normal clothes’ at one point. That experiment failed miserably; it just wasn’t me.”
However, from an extremely young age, Kesha knew that she wanted to be a singer. Her mother is songwriter Rosemary Patricia “Pebe” Sebert – one of the authors of popular country track “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You.” And not only did Kesha’s mom encourage her daughter, but she also composed music with the future star.
Meanwhile, Kesha was also a bit of a wild child – an aspect of her life that arguably never went away. She told Entertainment Weekly in 2010, “I made my own purple velvet pants, living in Brentwood, which is like the Bible Belt. I got sent to the principal’s office in eighth grade. [And in ninth grade, I] stole my mom’s minivan, drove to Atlanta [and] snuck into Radiohead – front row.”
Kesha’s big break in the music industry came around almost by accident, though. You see, she happened to be in the studio when Flo Rida was recording “Right Round,” and she lent her voice to the track. The future star assumed that Flo Rida would eventually replace her recording, but he didn’t, and the single became a big success. However, Kesha didn’t get a credit on the U.S. release of the number-one song – nor was she paid for her contribution.
It was around this time, meanwhile, that Kesha picked her stage name. And in 2010 she described the thought process behind why she had originally chosen the moniker Ke$ha. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, she said, “The whole dollar sign thing is so ironic, because I was so broke.”
Kesha had previously elaborated on her financial status during that time too. “My friends and I would go to this bar where if you bought one shot of tequila, you got free tacos,” she told The Guardian in 2009. “We were sitting there, my song was playing, and my friend said, ‘Whatever. You don’t have any money. This is as good as it’s going to get.’”
“And [my friend] was right,” Kesha continued. “One of my favorite memories in my entire life is sitting in that crappy bar with my friends eating free tacos. There is no correlation between happiness and amounts of money.” After all, Kesha’s early days – as chaotic as they may have been – were certainly full of gleeful risk-taking.
At one point, for instance, Kesha even snuck into Prince’s house in an attempt to give him one of her recordings. She ended up bribing his gardener $5 to let her slip under the superstar’s gate. Recalling the event, she told Jimmy Fallon in 2014, “[The gardener] just laughed and thought it was funny and that I was charming. And the door was open – it was unlocked – which was basically an invitation.”
“So, I walked in, and everything was purple velvet, so I was very pleased that my fantasy had come true and that there was, in fact, purple velvet everywhere,” Kesha continued. “I walk into the elevator, and there is Prince music playing… and then I walk out, and there’s Prince playing the guitar with a beanie on, and I almost pooped my pants.”
“[Prince] just kind of looked at me funny. He gave me a look like, ‘Who the hell are you?’ And I waved around my CD, I put it on the table, and then I ran away,” Kesha told Fallon. Thankfully for the young star, she didn’t end up getting arrested, although Prince never did contact her. It was a bold move to say the least, though, and Kesha was clearly determined to make it on her own.
Then, in 2010, Kesha’s dream finally ended up coming true with the release of her album Animal. What’s more, its lead single, “Tik Tok,” became the best-selling digital download sold over the space of a week since records had begun in 2003. And the track put Kesha on the map in a big way.
Yes, along with Kesha’s first tastes of success, she gained a lot of fans – and a lot of haters, too. Newsweek, for instance, described the singer in 2010 as “scrappy, working class and more clumsy than choreographed – attributes that attract and repel, depending on which side of the fence you stand.” But despite what some people thought of Kesha, she was nevertheless selling record after record.
What’s more, Kesha tried to remain herself – no matter how famous she was becoming. The star explained to Newsweek in 2010, “Most women in the music biz are very sexy, and I’m not trying to be that. Everything is very polished, big, perfect, choreographed, and that’s just not me. I don’t really plan what comes out of my mouth, and that’s what makes most of my lyrics entertaining.”
Indeed, Kesha certainly doesn’t seem to have much of a filter, which means that some of her remarks are pretty offbeat. She said to Newsweek, for example, “A friend of mine has a big farm in the desert, and she picks up feathers and roadkill for me [and] then makes [them] into clothes. I think it’s cool to wear roadkill. If I died, and somebody wanted to wear my teeth around their neck to [the] VMAs, I’d feel honored.”
Kesha is no doubt a big fan of animals, then – be they dead or alive. She did, after all, title her first album after them. And when Seventeen magazine asked her why she’d chosen the name, she told an unusual story about a time when she had gone diving in a gold bikini. Apparently, the star had had to fight off a barracuda that was attracted to how shimmery she was.
It’s arguably tales such as these, though, that add to Kesha’s popularity. Indeed, fans seem to appreciate how much her eccentricities are on display. And according to the singer, she’s simply being herself. “None of it’s fabricated,” she said to Interview magazine in 2010. “Like, I have a belief that if I wear my placenta in a necklace, there’s a possibility of me gaining second sight – like being psychic.”
“I would be wearing it whether or not I was in the public eye. I’m just honest about the things I believe in,” Kesha continued. “For instance, I went yesterday to a past-life regressionist, and he told me that in my past life I was assassinated. I’m pretty sure that I was JFK in my past life.”
“[The past-life regressionist] also said that as a Pisces, I’m very psychic and that anything I can do to nurture that will help. So, I wear my placenta necklace. I’m also wearing a massive dream catcher around my neck to catch all the negative energy and keep it away from my soul,” Kesha added. But this isn’t the only time that the star has spoken about spirituality.
For instance, while being interviewed for Rolling Stone in 2017, Kesha mused over her deep connection with animals. She said, “When I interact with them, it’s like this energy exchange. I’m like a huge shark ambassador; I just feel like they get a bad rep. And they’re so smart.”
But while Rolling Stone pointed out that most sharks are very dangerous, Kesha was eager to set the record straight. “It depends on the shark,” she responded. “And it depends on where you go, and it depends on your energy – like, how you behave towards the animal. [It’s the] same as how you’d behave towards a person. If you behave aggressively, usually, you’ll get aggression back.”
In fact, Kesha actually took her love of animals into activism. And in 2011 she featured in a PETA ad – directed towards the Canadian government – to speak out against seal skinning. The singer explained, “Because [seal] babies’ fur is so soft, there are people who club and brutally kill these young animals.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, Kesha is also a vegetarian. She elaborated on this in an interview with the Phoenix New Times in 2010. “I just love animals, and I’m an advocate for animal rights, and my family has rescued dogs from all over the world,” she said. “I don’t believe in animal testing. If you see me in fur, it’s always fake. Sometimes you see me wearing skulls, but those are all from roadkill.”
Kesha even worked to help animal survivors of a Nashville flood in 2010, donating 1,000 pounds of pet food to the Nashville Metro Animal Shelter. She told People Pets after the event, “The pets were left alone [in flooded homes]. A lot of them unfortunately died, but a lot of them were left stranded without food.”
Naturally, then, Kesha has pondered over what animal she herself would be. And Interview magazine asked her as much in 2010. Author Matt Diehl pondered, “I wanted to try this test with you that I found on the Internet. It’s comprised of two questions. One: what’s your favorite wild animal? And two: what’s your favorite domestic animal?”
“My favorite wild animal is a narwhal – the unicorn of the sea,” Kesha responded. “It’s a whale with a tooth that sticks out of its head that’s almost two-thirds the length of its entire body. As for domestic, can I say the jaguar? I don’t know if that’s a domestic animal, but I’d love to have a jaguar one day.”
However, Diehl then revealed that these seemingly lighthearted questions had deeper meanings behind them. He said, “Supposedly the wild animal represents what you think others think of you, and the domestic animal is what people really think of you.” And Kesha replied, “So I want people to think that I’m a magical, weird-looking freak of nature, but they really see me as a sexy Amazon jungle cat.”
And yet Kesha’s connection to our furry friends runs even deeper than spirit animals. Indeed, in 2013 she told Heat magazine about the unusual circumstances under which she was born. “I had a tail when I was born,” she revealed. “It was a tiny tail – about a quarter of an inch. Then, [doctors] chopped it off and stole my tail. That was when I was little. I’m really sad about that story.”
The tail to which Kesha was referring is called a “vestigial tail,” and she isn’t exaggerating. In fact, all human beings technically have tails while they are in their mothers’ wombs. The trait is a leftover from human evolution, you see, when our ancestors had tails. Meanwhile, wisdom teeth and the inside corners of the eyes are other examples of a wider phenomenon known as “human vestigiality.”
Human vestigiality refers to body parts that are still present in today’s humans but that are no longer needed. Wisdom teeth, for example, are thought to have once been used to eat plants and leaves. Of course, humans gradually changed their diets to the extent that these greenery-grinding molars weren’t needed, but the teeth still develop regardless.
However, unlike wisdom teeth – which can cause pain – vestigial tails aren’t thought to be harmful. In the womb, a human fetus usually absorbs what would have been a tail into part of the back – namely, the tailbone. But in a small amount of cases, this process doesn’t happen correctly.
Therefore, every now and then a person may be born – just as Kesha was – with a “tail.” It’s not known exactly what causes some babies to develop this condition, but male newborns are twice as likely to have the trait. And Kesha’s birth was extremely unusual to say the least, because since 1884 only 50 tail cases have been recorded.
Kesha may be disappointed that her vestigial tail got removed, but it was probably for the best. Most of the time there are no side-effects from cutting off the unnecessary body part. But although having a tail sounds incredibly cool, if it’s left alone it may eventually start to cause problems – as one case from 2016 proved.
That year, it was reported that a teenage boy from India had been born with a vestigial tail that eventually grew to be eight inches in length. Neurosurgeons at a government hospital subsequently removed the body part, which may be the biggest of its kind recorded in human history. But how had the feature gotten to be so big? Well, the teen’s family, you see, had initially been too afraid to seek medical assistance due to superstitions associated with deformities.
But while there are still stigmas attached to having unusual body parts, it seems that more and more people are starting to be open about the subject. After all, Kesha isn’t the only celebrity who has spoken up about having come into the world with something slightly unique about them. Harry Styles of the boy band One Direction, for example, was born with a pair of extra nipples – a condition called polythelia.
Moreover, singer Lily Allen – reportedly a pal of Kesha’s – also happens to have more than the typical number of nipples. In July 2007 she even pushed down her top and showed the unusual feature to the world while guest presenting Channel 4’s Friday Night Project. And so, anyone who might have thought that Allen had been making the condition up was quickly put back in their place.
Meanwhile, Karolína Kurková, a former Victoria’s Secret Angel, has practically no visible belly button. Yes, when the model struts down the runway, only a small mark can be made out. And while Kurková has never revealed exactly what happened to cause the unusual feature, doctors have suggested to the media that it may be the result of her having suffered an umbilical hernia as a baby.
It’s a good sign that these people have felt confident enough about their differences to speak about them or even flaunt them. Kesha herself is all about body confidence and encouraging people to be true to themselves, after all. The artist informed Rolling Stone that her song “We R Who We R,” for instance, is “an anthem for weirdos.”
Being born with a vestigial tail certainly sets Kesha apart from other artists. And her open attitude to talking about her uniqueness in such loving and enthusiastic ways is, it’s safe to say, one of the things that makes her such a beloved star. We, for one, hope that more and more people start to feel comfortable celebrating the things that make them special – rather than hiding them.