I was in a very dark place. I was alone and scared in rehab for an eating disorder that had gotten wildly out of control. I wasn’t allowed to work or have any technology — no phone, no computer, no texting, no social media. At first, they wouldn’t let me have any kind of instrument either. I begged them to let me have a keyboard — even a toy keyboard. I had so many emotions, and I didn't know how else to deal with them. Writing songs is the only way I know how to process things. I was relentless. I remember I begged and begged, until they finally agreed I could have a keyboard for one hour a day.
My boyfriend Brad sent me his keyboard and some crappy headphones that were falling apart. Every day I sat there on the floor and played. This is how the song “Rainbow” came to be. The whole album idea and tour and everything, came from me crying and singing and playing and dreaming until my hour was up and they took the keyboard away again. Every day I would just cry and play that song because I knew I had to get through that incredibly hard time. I knew I had to change and learn to take care of and love myself, and I had no idea how to even begin.
“Rainbow” was the beginning. That song and the lyrics were a letter to myself promising that I was going to take care of myself going forward and that I was going to be okay.
Since those difficult and emotional days in rehab, I started imagining that one day I would put out a new record and I would call it Rainbow. For a long time, I didn’t know if that idea was just a fantasy, a ghost to keep me waking up and actually getting out of my bed, or if it could actually come true. But I just held onto that idea because it was all I had. I just kept saying, “I’m gonna put out Rainbow, I’m gonna put out Rainbow. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna put it out. I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it.” This idea, and the support I received from fans and total strangers, is what helped me get up every day. I know that this album saved my life.
“Rainbow” was the first song I wrote for this record. I wanted to call the album Rainbow because after the storm, there’s a rainbow — and recently, I feel like I’ve gone through some things that have felt like a storm in my life. This was my way of telling myself that I was going to make it through. I made the decision to take the dollar sign out of my name. I did away with my cynical self-deprecating “I don't give a fuck” attitude and the matching Twitter name @keshasuxx. I let myself be 100% genuine, vulnerable, and honest in my music. I used to be very mean to myself. Rainbow is my letter of encouragement, a promise that I want to start a new dialogue and be more supportive and nicer to myself.
For the past couple of years, colour has been symbolic of hope for me. I don't think it is a coincidence that it's also symbolic for the LGBTQ community, a sign of freedom to be yourself and celebrate who you are no matter what anyone else thinks. I have been trying to bring more colour into my life because that light brings me more happiness and more joy, and it makes me feel more youthful and more childlike. I want to reconnect with that part of myself. The naiveté and the joyfulness of a child is one of the most beautiful things in the world, and somewhere along the way you can get injured or hurt or heartbroken and sometimes you lose little pieces of joy. I just don't want to be that broken person. And I’m not anymore. I am a walking testament to anyone out there that with honesty and self-love, you can feel whole again. No matter what you have been through, even if things feel unfair and hurt your soul, it does not have to define who you are. You can be the person you want to be today.
There’s a line in “Rainbow” that I really love: “What’s left of my heart is still made of gold.” I truly believe that. It's true for me and it can be true for others, too. I know giant pieces of my heart have been held captive in the past. But not anymore. And what's left is fucking pure gold and no one can touch that.
When it finally came time to go into the studio and record “Rainbow,” I knew I wanted to do something special. All I had was this piano vocal that I had recorded myself, but I wanted the song to be orchestral in the same way that the Beach Boys’ album, Pet Sounds, is. Luckily my wonderful, kind, and very good friend Ben Folds agreed to produce and record the song with me. I have been a fan of Ben’s music since I was a kid, and he is a musical genius. We worked out the arrangement together, and then we rented out the biggest room at Capitol Studios in L.A. — the same room Frank Sinatra recorded in — and brought in an orchestra. Ben wanted me to feel that I was worthy of commanding such a room with my voice. His belief in me and encouragement over the past few years has really helped me so much in becoming confident in myself and my voice. It was a big step for me to say, “let's just go for it,” and record live with an orchestra, because it's so different from how I have made music in the past. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.
My brother, Lagan Sebert, came in with a crew to film the recording, which we turned into a video for the song. It’s so special that we actually captured the real vocal takes on film that are used on the record. “Rainbow” is the 8th song on my new album — a nod to one of the most touching songs ever written, the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” which is track 8 on Pet Sounds. When Ben finally sent me a rough mix of the recording, I sat in bed and just cried. I had been nervous to record the way my idols had recorded, and I was so proud of the whole process and the end result.
“Rainbow” was the song that started a new chapter in my life. Before then, I had made other people's opinions of me my higher power. “Rainbow” was the beginning of me turning that around and being kind to myself. It is a reminder that I can make it through anything. I hope this song exudes hope and self-love, because each of us deserves it.
Much love, and I hope you all enjoy the song “Rainbow,” the album Rainbow, and the tour Rainbow. Lord knows I never knew if I would make it to today. I am so very grateful that I have. x -k