"I have been bullied and been through s---, and I think a lot of my fans who are LGBTQ have been, too," she tells PEOPLE exclusively

By Melody Chiu
August 01, 2017 03:00 PM

Kesha has long supported the LGBTQ community, and the singer says it’s because she can relate to the hardships her fans have been through.

“I have always felt connected with the LGBTQ community,” the star — who hosted a special event with Spotify Friday night in Malibu for 20 of her fans — says in a new interview, shared exclusively with PEOPLE. “I think it’s because I have been bullied and been through s—, and I think a lot of my fans who are LGBTQ have been, too. I hate that, but it makes me feel connected to them.”

At the event, the singer, 30, gave the intimate group of fans a sneak peek at songs from her upcoming album, Rainbow, and posed for selfies while answering questions around a campfire on the beach.

“I fill up all my phone storage really quickly because I wake up in the night to record song ideas that come into my head,” she says about her songwriting process. “I get woken up by my brain making songs.”

Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty

FROM PEN: Alexa Ray Joel Helped Sister Sailor with Bullying After Struggling with Teen Shyness

In early July, Kesha — who is in a bitter ongoing legal battle with her producer and label boss Dr. Luke — released “Praying,” her first solo single in four years. In a subsequent Lenny letter, Kesha revealed she channeled her feelings of “severe hopelessness and depression” into the song.

“It’s from our darkest moments that we gain the most strength,” she wrote. “There were so many days, months even, when I didn’t want to get out of bed. I spent all day wanting to go to sleep, and then when I did fall asleep, I had horrible night terrors where I would physically cry and scream through the dark. But I dragged myself out of bed and took my emotions to the studio and made art out of them.”

Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

In 2014, Kesha sued Luke, 43, alleging he drugged, raped and verbally, physically and emotionally abused her for years. Luke has vehemently denied the allegations and countersued for breach of contract and defamation.

As she gears up to release her album (out Aug. 11) and head out on her first solo tour in four years, the star says she wants “to be a voice for equality.”

“Art is connecting and healing,” she says. “I want to perform until I am rickety as I don’t have a back-up plan. I don’t know what I would do.”