K.Flay Confirmed To Play Outside Lands Ten Year Anniversary
Hot on the heels of her brilliant new album “Every Where Is Some Where,” Kristine Flaherty, known to fans as K.Flay brings her unique sound and clever lyrical flow to San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music Festival, which is celebrating its 10th year on August 11, 12 & 13th and taking place at Golden Gate Park. Since making her debut in 2010, K.Flay has spun fearlessly detailed lyrics that show the bright and dark of the world in her head. “Every Where Is Some Where,” which is out now, is the follow-up to her 2016 EP “Crush Me” — whose lead single “Blood in the Cut” hit the top five on alternative radio.
For her new release, the Los Angeles-based alt-pop/hip-hop artist pushed deeper into introspection while adding an element of political commentary. The result is her most deliberate and dynamic work yet, a thrillingly vital album that channels the frenzy and anxieties of today’s world. The current lead single, “High Enough,” explores the power of lucid self-acceptance and delivers one of the album’s most blatantly upbeat tracks. Matching her seamless flow with sing-song melody, fusing breezy rhythm and gritty guitar lines into a hopeful meditation on keeping clear-headed.
Originally from Illinois, K.Flay “fell into music very haphazardly” at age 19 — a decade after her dad taught her to play guitar. “I was in an argument with someone and was challenged to make a song, which was my entry point to music,” says Flaherty, who studied at Stanford University. Upon graduating, Flaherty moved to San Francisco and kept up with music, making her breakthrough with the 2011 mix-tape “I Stopped Caring in ’96” and landing a deal with a major label. Not long after putting out her 2013 EP “What If It Is,” featuring a collaboration with Danny Brown, K.Flay launched her own label for the release of “Life as a Dog.” Then in 2016, she became the first artist signed to Night Street/Interscope Records, an imprint helmed by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds.
K.Flay is currently on the road performing to a legion of excited fans, enjoying multiple sold out shows and connecting with them not only with her music but also with a clever book idea, called, “The Crush Me” book, where fans get to write down and share their most heartfelt and internal experiences.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to K.Flay about life, music and her journey to the top…
SBP: How has life been treating you in your world?
KF: It’s good! I’m on the road to Richmond, Virginia at the moment.
SBP: Your real name is Kristine Flaherty, how did you come up with the hip K.Flay name?
KF: It was my nickname in college so technically other people came up with it. It rhymed and I liked it and I wasn’t thinking too much about having a music career at that point.
SBP: You are originally from Chicago, when did you relocate to the Bay Area and is San Francisco home now?
KF: I moved to the bay for college and lived in San Francisco for a few years after graduation, but then moved to New York for a bit, and now I live in Los Angeles.
SBP: You’ve got some really clever, dark and emotional lyrics, where do you get your inspiration to write?
KF: From my own mind and my own experiences. Writing music is a way for me to hash out the tension I often feel inside myself. It gives me the ability to be both outside of myself and totally connected to myself at the same time.
SBP: When did you start writing songs and did you always plan on doing music for a living or was writing more of just a release for you?
KF: I never planned on doing music for a living – it’s been one of the great and very unexpected surprises of my life so far.
SBP: Your EP “Crush Me” got rave reviews, did you expect that much attention?
KF: I certainly hoped that people would like the EP, but I wrote and recorded it without thinking too much about people’s expectations or reactions. I just wanted to make something that felt true to me.
SBP: You came up with this cool idea for the “Crush Me” book, what exactly is that and how do fans get involved?
KF: It’s a leather, bound blank notebook we take on tour, and it’s a place where people can put pen to paper and really write about anything they want. the initial impetus was to share stories of feeling crushed or crushing someone else. But it’s morphed into this space where people tell all kinds of stories and it’s been a really beautiful, life-affirming thing.
SBP: You got a lot of mainstream fans when you dropped your breakthrough “Blood In The Cut,” but you were doing music long before and had several releases, mixtapes and even started your own label at one time, tell us a little bit about those days and how it got you here?
KF: The spirit of this project from day one has been to stay authentic and hardworking and to enjoy the ride because it’s a weird and wild one. After “Blood In The Cut”, the main thing that’s changed is the level of exposure and especially because of radio play a lot of new people are hearing the music, which is awesome.
SBP: Many have defined you as a hip-hop artist, how do you define you and your sound?
KF: I don’t really focus on defining myself. It’s too hard! I hope the music speaks for itself.
SBP: Tell us about your writing process, do you also play and produce all your own music, how does it all come together?
KF: The process is always different from song to song. I write and produce but also collaborate.
SBP: You got signed by Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds, were you a fan and what convinced you to be the 1st artist to sign with his new label?
KF: Dan and I share so many core values, both as people and as musicians. He very genuinely wanted to give me a space to be creative & autonomous but have a greater platform. It’s been a great experience and I so so respect Dan and the whole Imagine Dragons camp.
SBP: Your new release, “Every Where Is Some Where” is out now and sounds amazing, how was doing this album different than your last releases?
KF: I think my mind way focused in a way that it hadn’t been before and I had some new and incredible collaborators.
SBP: “High Enough” off your current album has a positive message about getting high on life, where did you get your inspiration and do you see yourself as a positive role model?
KF: I’ve spent most of my life not drinking or taking drugs, so that song comes from a very real place. Sometimes clarity of mind and unadulterated connection feel better than any substance.
SBP: A lot of your shows on your current tour have been sold out, that must be very rewarding – how does it feel knowing your playing to a full house?
KF: It feels incredible, to be honest. When the show is sold out in advance, it takes so much stress out of the equation. I just feel free and happy and excited and I know the crowd is going to be a huge energy source.
SBP: What are you most excited about Outside Lands and is this your 1st year being there?
KF: This will be my second time playing Outside Lands and I’m just excited because my parents will be there and a bunch of my best friends too. The Bay Area is my musical hometown, so I always love playing shows there.
SBP: Tell us something about yourself that nobody knows?
KF: I hate Swiss cheese.