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Interview: K.Flay on her history and upcoming album release

While K.Flay’s eclectic mix of rap, indie, and alt-rock has kept fans guessing what they’ll get from her music, the singer-songwriter’s affinity for the unpredictable started before she became a chart-topping musician. As a dual degree holder in psychology and sociology from Stanford University, Flay’s background is a little unusual compared to that of most people looking to make a go of music — and she knows it.

“It was a gradual transition in a lot of ways,” Flay says of the move from academia to music. “(At first music) was a side thing, I was still really focused on my studies and was super academically oriented. Then I moved to San Francisco and started playing more shows, opening up for different gigs, and sort of just building a small little reputation for myself out there. In that time, (music) was becoming a bigger part of my emotional life and identity, and once that happened I was kind of set on making music work (as a career).”

Since her academic years, she’s been hard at work cultivating her brand of alternative rock, and has worked with artists as diverse as her wide-ranging musical influences; her resume boasts names like Snoop Dogg, Passion Pit, and Icona Pop as former touring partners. More recently, Flay’s decision to pursue music has paid off with her single “Blood In The Cut” capturing the number one spot for Canadian alternative radio. Off the radio, she’s also kept busy, playing that hit song (among others) on the road, since early February, as the opener for Canadian indie rock band Mother Mother. 

Flay’s also gearing up for the release of her second full length album, the late-90s, early-2000s rock-influenced, Every Where is Some Where. The record, according to Flay, continues to push her outside her comfort zones. In particular she highlights one track fans can look to to hear the results of that experience. 

“The second song on the record’s called ‘Giver,’ and it’s something I originally had written the chorus of while I was on the road, without music behind it, which is pretty rare for me,” she says. “Typically I’ll start something with a musical blueprint, progression, or riff, and begin writing from there, but the idea behind ‘Giver’ happened independently of that (process).”

Flay jokes that with luck, everyone who gives the record a listen will stick around to hear it: “If you can’t make it to the second song, I don’t know what’s going on!”

Ever aware of how her audience perceives her music, Flay doesn’t take her craft lightly. Just as she once focused her thinking and energy into her post-secondary success, she’s now doing the same with her songwriting. To her, authenticity and truth are the result, and are especially important elements when it comes to putting together new tracks in her new line of work.

“I try to be really honest with my songwriting, to represent my own interior life the best I can in an open, vulnerable way,” Flay says. “My main hope is that people are able to connect with that and access some of those things within themselves. A lot of the music I really like to listen to opens up portals within myself, and I think that’s one of the greatest things about music: you can gain insight into yourself from listening to it and ask questions you might never have asked without it.”

Every Where is Some Where will be released on April 7.

Victoria Chiu

Victoria Chiu is a student who writes things, which by default makes her a writer, she guesses. She was the 2018-19 Online Editor and 2017-18 Arts & Culture Editor of this site. She can be found under an immovable mountain of homework or, alternately, rifling through your internet search history.

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