K. Flay Talks Beginnings, Book Reports, And Hamburgers

Categories: Q&As, Rap, music
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Courtesy Bailey Blues
Kristine Flaherty (better known by musical moniker K. Flay) isn't your average rapper-singer-songwriter. After graduating from Stanford with degrees in psychology and sociology, she decided to take her then-hobby of writing and performing music more seriously. Besides the occasional songs about Elle Fanning and partying, her lyrics can drive discrepancies between shoulds and musts or metaphors about crumbling states of emotional dejection.

She settled in San Francisco for a while to get started, and before long she was performing for larger audiences. This summer, she played Outside Lands Music Festival, and now she's about to go on tour with Grieves & Budo. But before she does, she has a bunch of headlining shows. Don't miss her when she heads to Orange County this Saturday to perform at Chain Reaction in Anaheim.

We had the chance to catch up with Ms. Flaherty about her already prolific presence (though not one involving a whole lot of drug use), her forthcoming releases (both an EP coming out early next year and a planned full-length album), her online book reports, the invisibility of authors nowadays, and hamburgers (because, you know, that's how we do).



OC Weekly (Michael Chin): First things first, are you still in the Bay Area? I heard you moved to Brooklyn.
Kristine Flaherty (K. Flay):
Yeah, kinda--it ended up happening out of logistical necessity. This summer, I had been sort of half living in New York, just because a lot of the folks I was collaborating with and places I was recording at were there. So this summer I wasn't in San Francisco hardly at all. My mom and my stepdad live in Oakland, so I can stay with them. I moved out of my apartment, but that being said, I'm staying there tonight and for a couple days this week. I'm there in spirit.

Tell me a little bit about how you got started. You were at Stanford, right? And all of a sudden you're a rapper and a touring musician. How did that come about?
Looking back, it was really a tree of intersecting nodes at each point that sort of explain the story. As it happened, it unfolded in a pretty random but also really organic way. I was at school doing my thing, and a friend of mine was making house music--just kind of for fun, he had kind of a singles deal with an indie label--we were messing around and made a track, which he did the production for, but I was rapping on it. I had been starting to get really into hip-hop once I got to California with the Bay Area scene; I started listening to a lot of more off the beaten path hip-hop and more eccentric stuff. So I started recording these things for fun--really, as a joke--but strangely enough there was something about the process of it that captivated me, it really grabbed my attention.

I ended up buying a keyboard and a couple other things and started making beats, writing and recording on a really pretty shitty setup, though it's not much worse than what I have since upgraded to. I kind of just got started from there, performed around campus. It was more of a stress release and a fun thing. My friends and I would go to these random places and I'd play shows, it was just fun for everybody. After I graduated, I ended up linking up with a couple folks in the Bay Area who really had supported and mentored me. I had a regular job, but they were like, "Keep going with this, this could be something cool. Work at it." So I started really devoting myself to getting better as a producer and as a lyricist. I progressively got more serious about it, and I think probably about a year ago is when I really started to figure out what I wanted to say and how I wanted the project to start taking shape. Once that happened, it's been really cool. I've been out on the road and a lot of folks have been really great supporters, taking me out with them. It's been really random, but really cool.

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