Dr. Luke at the 2014 ASCAP awards
|Birth name||Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald|
September 26, 1973 |
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
|Origin||New York, New York, U.S.|
Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald (born September 26, 1973), better known by his stage name Dr. Luke, is an American musician, record producer and songwriter. Dr. Luke's professional music career began in the late night television sketch comedy Saturday Night Live as its house band's lead guitarist in 1997 and producing remixes for artists such as Bon Jovi and Gravediggaz. He came into music prominence in 2004 for producing Kelly Clarkson's single "Since U Been Gone" with Swedish record producer Max Martin.
Gottwald continued to co-write and produce commercially successful records such as "Who Knew" (2006) for Pink, "Girlfriend" (2007) for Avril Lavigne, and "I Kissed a Girl" (2008) for Katy Perry, before leaving Saturday Night Live and reuniting with Clarkson for "My Life Would Suck Without You" (2009).
While continuing to produce for Perry, Lavigne, and Pink, Gottwald has also worked with other artists, including Taio Cruz, B.o.B, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, T.I., Flo Rida, Miley Cyrus, Jessie J, Juicy J, Ne-Yo, Shakira and Pitbull. Dr. Luke is also noted for signing recording artists such as Kesha and Sabi and playing a vital part in their careers.
Dr. Luke's work has been merited for various music industry awards. Music publication Billboard named him as one of the top performing producers of the 2000s. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers awarded him Producer and Songwriter of the Year honors from 2009 to 2011. At the 53rd Grammy Awards, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, and Perry's Teenage Dream was nominated for Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
Gottwald was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He is Jewish. His father, Janusz Jerzy Gottwald, was an architect who was born in Łask, Poland. Gottwald spent many of his formative years in New York City. He had originally wanted to be a drummer, but his parents refused to allow a drum kit in the house. At 13, he picked up his older sister's guitar and taught himself how to play. As a teenager, Gottwald would "listen to bad music over and over, if there was a guitar part [he] admired, so [he] could figure out what the guitar player was doing right."
He produced tracks and remixes for various artists including Arrested Development and Nappy Roots. He released the 12" single "Wet Lapse", under the name Kasz, for Rawkus Records, and remixed the theme from the film Mortal Kombat. While deejaying at a house party, Dr. Luke met producer Max Martin and subsequently gave Martin a tour of New York clubs when Martin arrived in the city.
Dr. Luke owns two publishing companies, Kasz Money Publishing, for his own songs, and Prescription Songs, which employs other songwriters. As of January 2011, he has garnered 21 Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 singles, becoming the producer with the third most such hits since the charts were created. He co-wrote and co-produced the Kelly Clarkson Hot 100 number two song, "Since U Been Gone" with Max Martin and provided the singer another hit in "Behind These Hazel Eyes". Subsequent songs by Pink, "Who Knew" and "U + Ur Hand" reached the Hot 100 top ten. He would go on to co-produce a number one for Avril Lavigne with the song "Girlfriend" as well as seven other songs on the Lavigne album. He also achieved a UK number one with the song "About You Now" for the Sugababes. Dr. Luke contributed two songs to Katy Perry's second album,"One of the Boys". Hot 100 number one, "I Kissed a Girl" and "Hot n Cold", as well as three songs to Britney Spears' 2008 album, Circus, including the title track. He also co-produced the US number one song "Right Round" by Flo Rida. His third co-production for Kelly Clarkson, "My Life Would Suck Without You" reached the top of the Hot 100 as well. In late 2009, his song for Miley Cyrus, "Party in the U.S.A." co-written by Jessie J, reached number two on the chart. In December 2009, Billboard named him as one of the top 10 producers of the decade.
On April 21, Dr. Luke was named Songwriter of the Year at the 2010 ASCAP Pop Music Awards and received 10 ASCAP Pop Music Awards for the year as the songwriter and publisher. He had received ten Pop Music Awards from ASCAP between 2006 and 2009. He was also named to Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business, placing at number 33. Dr. Luke's co-production for Katy Perry "California Gurls" debuted at number two on the Hot 100 and later reached number one. Second single "Teenage Dream" would follow suit. Taio Cruz's "Dynamite", co-produced by Dr. Luke, reached number one in the UK and number two in the US. He contributed to three more top ten songs, "Magic" for B.o.B, "My First Kiss" for 3OH!3, and "Take It Off" for Kesha, as well as a top five song, "Your Love Is My Drug", by the latter on the Hot 100.
In 2010 he was named both the Number One Hot 100 Songwriter of the Year and Number One Producer of the Year by Billboard. At the start of 2011, Advertising Age called Dr. Luke "the year's most successful producer and songwriter in terms of chart longevity."
On the week ending March 3, 2012, Dr. Luke's co-production for Katy Perry "Part of Me" became the 20th song to debut atop the Billboard Hot 100. He also produced Perry's single "Wide Awake", which peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, whilst topping the US Pop Songs chart. On November 2, 2012, several songs from boy band One Direction's second album Take Me Home were leaked online, including "Rock Me", produced by Dr. Luke and frequent collaborators Cirkut, Emily Wright, and Kool Kojak.
Lawsuit with Kesha
In September 2013, Rebecca Pimmel, a fan of Kesha, set up a petition to "free" Kesha from Dr. Luke's management and accused Luke of "stunting" Kesha's creative growth as an artist. The petitioners concur with the position stated in Kesha's TV series documentary, My Crazy Beautiful Life, in which Luke serves as an executive producer, that she had little creative control of her second album, Warrior.
In January 2014, shortly after Kesha was admitted to a rehab center for bulimia nervosa, Kesha's mother, Pebe Sebert, made allegations that pressure for Kesha to lose weight came from Dr. Luke. Sebert claimed that Dr. Luke said that Kesha looked "like a refrigerator" which instigated her eating disorder. Dr. Luke denies these claims.
In October 2014, Kesha sued Dr. Luke, claiming sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, civil harassment, violation of California's unfair business laws, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent retention and supervision. Gottwald responded by filing a countersuit alleging that Kesha's lawsuit was an attempt by Kesha, her mother, and her new management firm to extort him into releasing her from her contract.
A preliminary injunction in which Kesha sought to be released from her contract was denied on February 19, 2016. Before her legal battle against Dr. Luke, in 2011, Kesha had previously sworn under oath that the producer had never assaulted or drugged her in a deposition for a lawsuit against her former managers at DAS Communications, a key piece of evidence that played a role in the court ruling in favor of the defense. In April 2016, Kesha claimed that she had been offered freedom from her contract if she recanted her rape allegations against Dr. Luke.
Since Dr. Luke's countersuit was in New York, the court lacked jurisdiction to rule on incidents alleged to have occurred in California. Kesha filed suit in California, but a Los Angeles superior court judge froze Kesha’s lawsuit until Gottwald’s lawsuit, for breach of contract and defamation, was settled.
On April 6, 2016, New York Judge Shirley Kornreich dismissed most of Kesha's claims, ruling against her motion to end her recording contract. The judge found that for several of the sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gender violence claims, the statute of limitations had expired, or outside the jurisdiction (as California is where the crimes were alleged to have occurred), while the emotional distress that she suffered did not rise to the level of "extreme, outrageous conduct intolerable in civil society" that is the legal definition of emotional abuse.
Awards and nominations
- 2011 – Producer of the Year, Non-Classical (Nominated)
- 2011 – Album of the Year (Teenage Dream) (Nominated)
- 2014 – Song of the Year ("Roar") (Nominated)
- 2014 – Producer of the Year, Non-Classical (Nominated)
ASCAP Pop Music Awards
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