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Kesha on Internet harassment: 'It's not really a healthy place'

Michelle Castillo

It's necessary for artists to have a social media presence. But musician Kesha Sebert said online harassment has made it difficult.

"I use the Internet to connect with my fans, but besides that, It's not a really healthy place for me," Sebert, who is known as Kesha (formerly Ke$ha), said.

Kesha spoke on a Refinery29 panel with chief content officer Amy Emmerich at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas on Tuesday. The singer, who has sold more than 2.47 million albums according to Billboard, was further thrust into the mainstream as a result of a high-profile lawsuit against producer Lukasz Gottwald, known as Dr. Luke.

In 2014, Kesha sued Dr. Luke for alleged physical, sexual and emotional abuse and asked to get out of her music contract. Because of the ongoing case, she cannot release new music, but she said during the panel she has written between 70 to 80 songs, and hopes to release the music soon.

The highly publicized case made her a target for online trolls.

"Criticism for me, it's been a long ride," Kesha said. "It used to just tear me up inside, and then someone once told me something pretty profound: 'You're making people you don't know your higher power.' And then I realized I was. I was making trolls, making bullies, making people I had never met before -- because they were on the Internet, I was making them important.'"

When asked what advice she would give a 14-year-old who wanted to start an Instagram account, Kesha offered wisdom that any internet veteran would agree with: don't read the comments.

"I try to limit myself in terms of reading comments, because there could be a million positive ones but I hold on to the negative one."

Despite the downsides of social media, it can be used as a tool for good, added Kesha, who has also been a vocal advocate for LGBT and women's rights.

"There are a lot of positive things about social media," Kesha said. "One positive thing is we can tell each other where to meet, and we can rally, and we can march. It's not that one person's voice is more important than everyone else. We're all equal."