Before she was hitting the road with Passion Pit and Das Racist, playing big festivals like Outside Lands and CMJ, Kristine Flaherty was just your average tomboyish, self-described jock studying Sociology and Psychology at Stanford University – a Bay Area transplant from Chicago who had never really been involved in music or performance. It wasn’t until the end of her freshman year at Stanford, inspired by a DJ friend who was making music, that she invested in some equipment and taught herself how to make beats. And learn she did: on stage as K. Flay (a nickname from college that stuck), she plays guitar, sings, builds live beats and – most impressively – raps with a flow that can step with them best of them.
Seriously, check it out:
On stage her persona is captivating; you might not quite know what to make of her. Her adorably tomboyish style (a uniform of Jordans/sneaks with jeans and a tee) is hardly a giveaway for her smooth, girly voice. And though she obviously has mad talent and rapping abilities, she comes across in person as sweet and vulnerable – immediately likeable. It’s not hard to see why she was swooped up by Zion I to voice the chorus for his song “Coastin.'”
K. Flay's Stage Style
Zion I – Coastin’
In the current wave of white-girl rap, it might be easy to dismiss K. Flay as part of the Ke$ha-clandemonium (somebody call Webster). What sets her apart, aside from doing it all herself (and we’re talking everything here: from making the beats from scratch, to running her website, to bolting between laptop and mic, mixer and guitar at her live shows), is her intelligent, quirky, repeatable rhymes and absolutely enjoyable, unique vocal style.
Her releases thus far include an EP, a slew of singles and, most recently, 3-part mixtape I Stopped Caring In ’96, available for download on her website. Check her out on tour the rest of this year on both coasts.