Kesha gave an emotional performance Saturday of Lady Gaga‘s “Til It Happens to You,” the Oscar-nominated ballad about sexual assault, dedicating it “to every man, woman, child, and animal that has ever been abused.”
Her performance with the song’s co-writer, Diane Warren, was the highlight of the Humane Society of the United States’ Los Angeles Gala on Saturday night.
Kesha remains in a legal battle with both Dr. Luke and Sony, claiming that the producer sexually and emotionally abused her. Dr. Luke, whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald, has not been criminally charged and has denied the allegations.
Kesha sang the opening line, “You tell me it gets better,” before shaking her head, pulling away from the mic, taking a step back, and patting her head, to do what the next line of the song says: “pull myself together.”
The “Tik Tok” singer then turned to Warren on the piano, giving her the “rewind” finger signal to start over, which they did.
“Wow, this is better than winning an Oscar,” Warren said when accepting her award from actress Zendaya, acknowledging her recent upset Oscar loss. She chastised any carnivores in the room: “You’re eating someone who wanted to live every much as you do.”
The annual gathering raised $146,000 from direct appeals from the guests inside Stage 16, where TV series “Bonanza” and parts of Alfred Hitchcock‘s “Vertigo” were once shot. (It was a “Live Nation” heavy room, with Jolene Blaylock chairing the event (married to Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino) and Irving Azoff‘s wife Shelli Azoff on the leadership committee.)
A dinner with Warren was auctioned for $18,000. Tickets to Beyonce’s “Formation” tour went for $11,000 less. Images of cute farm animals and subsequent animal cruelty were projected off the back of a Tesla electric vehicle.
Leona Lewis covered the Warren-penned Beyonce track “I Was Here.” Steven Tyler, who has lobbied for anti-crate legislation, performed another Warren song, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”
Tyler recalled not “getting” the “Don’t wanna close my eyes…” chorus when Warren first sent it to him, a creative gap the two bridged at the Sunset Marquis when Warren came to play it to Tyler in person. Tyler admitted he ended up crying on the floor.
Moby had to acknowledge not knowing all of Warren’s vast songbook.
“Diane, you wrote that ‘Rhythm of the Night’ song?,” Moby asked incredulously. “I knew you wrote hundreds of others, but not that one.”
He could be excused, given that he doesn’t consider music his main role in life, he told TheWrap.
“Animal rights is my life’s work,” Moby said.
“I love making music – making music to me is fun. Animal rights is work.”
Kesha recently had a surprise collaboration with Zedd at Coachella, and announced that she is joining Diplo’s traveling festival, The Mad Decent Block Party, this summer.