Dr. Luke

Dr. Luke
Dr. Luke. Photo by Jason LaVeris / FilmMagic

Childhood and Early Career

Lukasz Gottwald, aka Dr. Luke, was born in Rhode Island September 26, 1973, but he spent much of his time growing up in New York City. His father was born in Poland and worked as an architect. Lukasz wanted to be a drummer, but his parents refused to allow a drum kit in the house. Instead, Dr. Luke picked up his older sister's guitar and taught himself how to play.

First Hit Record

Dr. Luke was a student at the Manhattan School of Music for two years.

He auditioned for a spot with the Saturday Night Live house band and beat out the other competition. Beginning in 1997, Dr. Luke played for the next ten years on Saturday Night Live. He also began making a name for himself working on commercial jingles and producing hip hop records. He worked with underground artists like Black Star, KRS-One and Arrested Development. At one point Dr. Luke met Swedish producer Max Martin. A friendship blossomed when Dr. Luke was invited to give Max Martin a tour of New York City clubs. Dr. Luke began to head for the pop mainstream. In 2004, the pair co-wrote the #1 smash hit single "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson.

Top Dr. Luke Projects


  • 2004 - Kelly Clarkson - "Since U Been Gone"
  • 2006 - Pink - "Who Knew"
  • 2007 - Avril Lavigne - "Girlfriend"
  • 2008 - Katy Perry - "I Kissed a Girl"
  • 2008 - Britney Spears - "Circus"
  • 2009 - Kelly Clarkson - "My Life Would Suck Without You
  • 2009 - Miley Cyrus - "Party In the U.S.A."
  • 2009 - Flo Rida - "Right Round"
  • 2010 - 3OH!3 - "My First Kiss"
  • 2010 - B.o.B. - "Magic"
  • 2010 - Taio Cruz - "Dynamite"
  • 2010 - Kesha - "Tik Tok"
  • 2010 - Katy Perry - "California Gurls"
  • 2011 - Britney Spears - "Hold It Against Me"
  • 2012 - Katy Perry - "Part Of Me"
  • 2012 - Flo Rida - "Good Feeling"
  • 2013 - Miley Cyrus - "Wrecking Ball"
  • 2013 - Katy Perry - "Roar"
  • 2013 - Pitbull feat. Kesha - "Timber"

Dr. Luke - Star Producer

After hitting #1 with "Since U Been Gone," Dr. Luke's production and songwriting began to take off and then looked more like a snowball rolling downhill. In 2006 he helped Pink generate two top 10 pop hits "Who Knew" and "U + Ur Hand." The next year he co-wrote and co-produced Avril Lavigne's first #1 pop single "Girlfriend," and he quit his position on Saturday Night Live. Katy Perry's breakthrough #1 smash "I Kissed a Girl" in 2008 was produced by Dr. Luke. 2009 continued the hit parade, and by the summer of 2010 Dr. Luke was involved in production and songwriting on four out of the current top 10 pop singles. Billboard named Dr. Luke as one of the top 10 producers of the decade 2000-2009.

Dr. Luke has twice been nominated for the Grammy Award for Non-Classical Producer of the Year in 2011 and 2014. He also earned Grammy Award nominations for his work on Katy Perry's album Teenage Dream and her song "Roar."

Kesha Controversy

Dr. Luke played a major role in the emergence of Kesha as a top pop star in late 2010. He helped write and producer her records as well as shepherd her career.

However, in early 2014, Kesha checked into a rehab center for eating disorder treatment. Later in the year she sued Dr. Luke for sexual, verbal, and physical abuse over the multiple years of their professional relationship.

Dr. Luke countersued and denied the "false and shocking accusations." Kesha eventually sought a temporary court injunction to allow her to record new music while legal proceedings to release her from her Dr. Luke contract were continuing. In February 2016 a New York judge ruled that the contracts could not be voided by the court. 

An outpouring of support for Kesha from other fellow musicians and celebrities appeared on social media. Adele, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and Kelly Clarkson were among those who offered public support. 

In August 2016 Kesha dropped her California legal actions against Dr. Luke but continued to pursue her claims in New York courts.

She reported that she had recorded 28 new songs and wanted to release them as soon as possible. Dr. Luke's lawyers stated that Kesha dropped her California claims because she knew that she had "no chance of winning them."