OBC 2019: We Love the Many Sounds of K.Flay

See Her at Our Big Concert June 7 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

May 1, 2019

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Whether she’s singing on the hook of on an indie rap song, getting political with Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, or gliding atop a bouncy Kaskade cut, K.Flay is at home on any sound. She’s one of the few artists who truly can’t be caged, with a body of work that spans styles and genres.

 

With 15 years in the game, the singer, rapper, producer, and multi-instrumentalist has touched nearly every genre imaginable. Dive into her many sounds before she takes the stage at OBC Night 2 on June 7 at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

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The Indie-Rap Years

Born and raised in Illinois, Kristine Meredith Flaherty relocated to the Bay Area in 2003 to attend Stanford — an impressive feat on its own. The move would give birth to her musical career, which initially started by making a song that parodied the misogynistic and formulaic nature of hip-hop at the time. It turned out to be her calling. She dropped her first, self-produced mixtape, Suburban Rap Queen, in 2004, cementing her as a bona fide emcee. Though songs from her first mixtape are hard to find online, old YouTube uploads, like the high-speed routine below from 2012, showcase an agile and lyrically sharp talent who can rap her ass off.

Crossing Over

K.Flay built a buzz so loud that major labels had no choice but to come calling. Songs like “Less Than Zero,” off her 2011 mixtape, I Stopped Caring in ‘96, showed her painting in broader strokes and taking on a bigger sound. She sang and rapped fiercely over bold, arena-sized productions. It wasn’t a surprise that RCA would come calling in 2012. Though the relationship would end a year later, it resulted in two EPs, Eyes Shut and What If It Is, and gave her a taste of the big leagues. But rather than chasing another deal, she went back to her DIY roots, crowdfunding her 2014 debut studio album, Life As A Dog. The album further highlighted her diverse sound, marrying hip-hop, electronic production and indie-rock. It also caught the attention of bands like AWOLNATION, Third Eye Blind and Dashboard Confessional, who took her on tour — and the attention of Imagine Dragons’ frontman Dan Reynolds, who signed her as the first artist on his Night Street label.

“Blood in the Cut”

K.Flay’s biggest hit came in 2017 in the form of “Blood in the Cut.” The song, off Every Where Is Some Where, took her career to new heights, earning a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Song in 2018. It’s a huge leap from her earlier work, but still rooted in her clever wit and lyricism. The songwriting is sharp, capturing the pain of a breakup and the need to feel emotion in the aftermath. “Blood in the Cut,” with its stomping production, would set the bar and keep fans thirsty for me.

Solutions

Fans’ thirst will be satiated come July 12, when she drops her much anticipated third studio LP, Solutions. And if her recently-released singles, “Bad Vibes” and “This Baby Don’t Cry,” are any indication, it may be her biggest yet. “Bad Vibes” finds her spitting over a thunderous beat and unwieldy guitars. It’s more of what many have come to love about K.Flay. Meanwhile, “This Baby Don’t Cry” throws it back with drum-driven, riot grrrl pop. And it’s empowering as hell with a message of self-love. It's never easy to be different inside / But when you don’t give a f---, it's just like riding a bike, she sings. We’re ready.