Lukasz Sebastian "Luke" Gottwald (born September 26, 1973), 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) and with Perry for "Roar".
While continuing to produce for Perry, Lavigne, and Pink, Dr. Luke has also worked with other artists, including Taio Cruz, B.o.B, Jessie J, Britney Spears, Flo Rida, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Juicy J, Rihanna and Shakira. 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.
Luke Gottwald was born in Westerly, Rhode Island. His mother, Laura, is an interior designer. His father, Janusz Jerzy Gottwald, was an architect who was born in Łask, Poland. Luke 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. At 13, he picked up his older sister's guitar and taught himself how to play. As a teenager, Luke 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."
1997-2007: Saturday Night Live and career begins:
Gottwald auditioned for the Saturday Night Live Band and joined Saturday Night Live as the lead guitarist in 1997. 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.
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 as well as for artists such as 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.
2004-present: Mainstream recognition and commercial breakthrough:
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. 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 debut album, 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." also 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 #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 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. He was also 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." 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 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, whilst topping the US Pop Songs chart. On November 2, 2012, several songs from boyband 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. He produced Kesha's comeback single "Die Young" which peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. He also executively 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 has since slowly climbed to 105 on the US iTunes Pop charts and has gained more radio play across American radio and is very likely to gain more popularity once it appears as a cover on the hit American TV show, "Glee". Dr. Luke also helped produce several other tracks off Marina's latest album, "Electra Heart" which debuted at #1 on the UK Album Charts in 2012, including "Lies" and "Primadonna". Gottwald was also named both the Number One Hot 100 Songwriter of the Year and Number One Producer of the Year by Billboard. He also co-wrote and produced Britney Spears's song "Brightest Morning Star" from the deluxe version of her eighth studio album Britney Jean.
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. It was also revealed on the show that "Machine Gun Love", a song revealed to be one of Kesha's favourite songs she had ever written, was not included on the album against her wishes.
In 2013, The Flaming Lips announced that they hoped to release a full-length collaborative album with Kesha, called Lipsha. 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.
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.
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, Ke$ha, Benny Blanco and Cirkut. The company recently inked joint venture deals with Diplo's Mad Decent and Big Machine Publishing. Kemosabe Records is Sony's fourth label division. In October 2011, Sony Music Entertainment executive Doug Morris inked a deal with Dr. Luke to run the label, which is home to Ke$ha, Bonnie McKee, Juicy J, Becky G, G.R.L. and more. The label began operations in January 2012. The past year has seen the release of Ke$ha's second album Warrior and Juicy J's third album Stay Trippy.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license