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Dr. Luke

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For Saint Luke the Physician, see Luke the Evangelist.
Dr. Luke
Dr. Luke at the ASCAP awards in Los Angeles
Background information
Birth name Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald[1]
Also known as Luke Gottwald
Born (1973-09-26) September 26, 1973 (age 42)
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Origin New York City, New York, U.S.
  • Musician
  • record producer
  • songwriter
Years active 1997–present
Labels Kemosabe Records
Associated acts

Lukasz Sebastian "Luke" Gottwald (born September 26, 1973),[3] better known as Dr. Luke, is an American songwriter, record producer, multi-instrumentalist, and remixer. 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.

Dr. Luke 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, Dr. Luke 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, although as of 2014 became involved a legal battle with the former, with the singer citing Dr. Luke as a constant abuser in her career. She alleges that he raped, drugged and physically and emotionally abused her and to this day he still has control over her career.[4]

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.

Early life[edit]

Gottwald was born in Providence, Rhode Island.[3] He is Jewish.[5] His father, Janusz Jerzy Gottwald, was an architect who was born in Łask, Poland.[6] Gottwald spent much 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.[3] 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."[3][5]


1997–2007: Saturday Night Live and career begins[edit]

Gottwald auditioned for the Saturday Night Live Band and joined Saturday Night Live as the lead guitarist in 1997.[7] As Dr. Luke, he performed with the band for ten seasons, leaving at the end of the 2006–2007 season. As a guitarist, Dr. Luke performed with Herbie Hancock, Michael Bolton, Phoebe Snow, Jack McDuff and Shabba Ranks, and played with the house band for the TV series Amateur Night at the Apollo.[8]

While working on Saturday Night Live, Dr. Luke performed on a number of jingles and advertisements and became a deejay fixture in New York. He also became heavily active in the underground hip-hop scene, producing tracks and remixes for various artists, including Mos Def, Black Star, KRS-One, and Zack de la Rocha[9] as well as for artists such as Arrested Development and Nappy Roots.[10] He released the 12" single "Wet Lapse", under the name Kasz, for Rawkus Records, and remixed the theme from the film Mortal Kombat.[8] 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.[3]

2004–present: Mainstream recognition and commercial breakthrough[edit]

Dr. Luke owns two publishing companies, Kasz Money Publishing, for his own songs, and Prescription Songs. Prescription Songs employs a network of 50 songwriters, including Kesha, Katy Perry and Benny Blanco. 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.[11] He co-wrote and co-produced the Kelly Clarkson Hot 100 number two song, "Since U Been Gone" with Max Martin[3] 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.[12]

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.[10] 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.[13] 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 would contribute 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.

On December 1, 2010, Dr. Luke received 2 nominations for the 53rd Grammy Awards in the categories Album of the Year (Teenage Dream by Katy Perry) and Producer of the Year, Non-Classical.[14] He was also named both the Number One Hot 100 Songwriter of the Year and Number One Producer of the Year by Billboard.[15][16] At the start of 2011, Advertising Age called Dr. Luke "the year's most successful producer and songwriter in terms of chart longevity."[17] Britney Spears' single "Hold It Against Me", co-produced by Dr. Luke, became the eighteenth song to debut at the top of the Hot 100 in January. He also produced and co-wrote Jessie J's song "Price Tag", for which he received credit as "Coconut Man". The song debuted at number one in the UK. He also co-produced "E.T." and "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" by Katy Perry, both of which were Billboard number one hits.

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.[18] He produced Kesha's comeback single "Die Young", which peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. He also executive-produced Kesha's second album, Warrior, and produced 12 tracks from the album, which was released on December 4, 2012 in the United States.

Dr. Luke also produced the hit UK single "How to Be a Heartbreaker", performed and written by UK songstress Marina and the Diamonds. The song gained radio play across American radio and was later covered in season 4 of the hit American TV series Glee. Dr. Luke also helped produce several other tracks off Marina's album Electra Heart, which debuted at number 1 on the UK Albums Chart in 2012, including "Lies" and "Primadonna". He also co-wrote and produced Britney Spears's song "Brightest Morning Star" from the deluxe version of her eighth studio album Britney Jean.

Lawsuit with Kesha[edit]

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.[19] 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.[20]

In 2013, The Flaming Lips announced that they hoped to release a full-length collaborative album with Kesha, called Lipsha.[21] This was cancelled in November 2013. Subsequently, Kesha sent a message to a fan expressing how it was out of her control and that she wanted to release the material, even for free, saying that she didn't care about the money.[22]

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.[23]

In October 2014, Kesha sued Gottwald, 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.[24][25] 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.[26]


Dr. Luke founded and runs the publishing company Prescription Songs and record label Kemosabe Records. Prescription's roster of more than 50 writers include numerous singers, songwriters and producers, including Katy Perry, Kesha, Benny Blanco, and Cirkut. The company recently inked joint venture deals with Diplo's Mad Decent and Big Machine Publishing.[27] Kemosabe Records is Sony's fourth label division. In October 2011, Sony Music Entertainment executive Doug Morris inked a deal with Dr. Luke to run the label, which is home to Kesha, Bonnie McKee, Juicy J, Becky G, G.R.L., and more. The label began operations in January 2012. 2012 has seen the release of Kesha's second album Warrior and Juicy J's third album Stay Trippy.[28]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy Awards

ASCAP Pop Music Awards

  • 2010 – Songwriter of the Year (Won)[29]
  • 2011 – Songwriter of the Year (Won)[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Winton, Richard (October 14, 2014). "Kesha sues producer, alleges years of sex abuse and forced drugging". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  2. ^ Lukasz Gottwald. Retrieved on 2012-12-07.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Sternbergh, Adam (June 20, 2010). "The Hit Whisperer". New York. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  4. ^ Kory Grow (16 October 2014). "Kesha Sues Producer Dr. Luke for Sexual Assault and Battery". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Willman, Chris (September 3, 2010). "Dr. Luke: The Billboard Cover Story". Billboard. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Janusz Gottwald Obituary". The Berkshire Eagle. September 22, 2010. Archived from the original on October 6, 2013. 
  7. ^ John Seabrook, "The Doctor Is In," The New Yorker, October 14, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "G-Card Manual". TC Electronic. p. 17. Retrieved on December 26, 2009. Archived December 31, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Lukasz Gottwald: Saturday Night Livewire". Yamaha All Access. 2001. Retrieved on December 12, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Fennessey, Sean (May 18, 2010). "Surveying the Dr. Luke Moment: A Critical Look At Lazers, Glitter, and the Un-Sexing of America's Pop Stars" Village Voice.
  11. ^ Concepion, Mariel (January 8, 2011). "Dynamite Doc" Billboard.
  12. ^ Billboard Charts: 2009 Hot 100 Producers
  13. ^ "Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People".  Retrieved on May 28, 2010.
  14. ^ "Final Nominations List" (PDF). Grammy Award. National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved December 1, 2010. 
  15. ^ Billboard Charts: 2010 Hot 100 Songwriters. Retrieved on 2012-12-07. Archived October 8, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Billboard Charts: 2010 Hot 100 Producers. Retrieved on 2012-12-07. Archived February 18, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Advertising Age". Retrieved January 3, 2011. 
  18. ^ One Direction's "Rock Me" & "They Don't Know About Us": Hear The 'Take Me Home' Leaks | Music News, Reviews, and Gossip on. (2012-11-02). Retrieved on 2012-12-07.
  19. ^ "Ke$ha's Concerned Fans Have Started A Petition To Free Her From Dr. Luke". September 23, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Ke$ha's Director Tweets Photo Of Fans Revolting Against Dr. Luke - arcadey". arcadey. Retrieved February 4, 2016. 
  21. ^ McGovern, Kyle (3 April 2013). "Wayne Coyne Confirms New Flaming Lips Album With Ke$ha". SPIN. Buzz Media. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  22. ^ "Ke$ha Talks Vaginal Exorcism and Dr. Luke Controversy". Rolling Stone. 24 October 2013. 
  23. ^ "Kesha's Mom Blames Dr. Luke for Daughter's Eating Disorder, Producer Responds". 10 January 2014. 
  24. ^ "Kesha Suing Dr. Luke for Alleged Sexual Assault & Emotional Abuse". Billboard. Retrieved February 4, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Kesha Complaint". Scribd. Retrieved February 4, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Kesha -- Sues Dr. Luke for Sexual Assault and Battery". October 14, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2016.  External link in |work= (help)
  27. ^ "Prescription Songs website". February 20, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Kemosabe Records website". February 20, 2014. 
  29. ^ "ASCAP Pop Music Awards 2010". Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  30. ^ "ASCAP Pop Music Awards 2011". Retrieved 24 May 2012. 

External links[edit]