Don't judge Ke$ha by her first single. Sure, the hip-pop hit "Tik Tok" positively wallows in the concept of guilty pleasure: Ke$ha extols the virtues of partying 'til the "po-po shut us down" and brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack and winds up sounding like something born of a one-night stand between Lady Gaga, Paris Hilton and the Black Eyed Peas. But the brash singer-songwriter is more than just a ton of fun or a one-trick party girl. Raised in Nashville by her semi-famous but often struggling songwriter mother, Kesha Rose Sebert grew up alternating between living on food stamps and hanging out in recording studios. She fell in love with country music and was determined from an early age to be a rock star. By her senior year of high school, she had been accepted to study psychology at Columbia, but instead dropped out to move to L.A. and pursue music. Her gamble paid off: By early 2009, she'd co-written a hit for the Veronicas, sung back up for Britney Spears and met famed producer Dr. Luke. Dr. Luke set up her breakthrough gig singing the hook on Flo Rida's hit "Right Round" and began working with Ke$ha on her debut, released by RCA in early 2010.