Prior to becoming a full-time musician American artist K.Flay completed a double degree majoring in psychology and sociology. These studies, as well as her own personal experiences, have heavily influenced how K.Flay approaches life, songwriting and touring.
“My studies more than anything taught me the guiding principles of how to ask good questions,” she explained, “Throughout my songwriting career I’ve tried to ask what I think are good questions which lead to interesting answers in the form of songs.”
When looking at K.Flay’s discography and accolades it’s clear that her music must be asking ‘good questions.’ Notably, her debut record on the Universal label, Every Where Is Some Where, received two Grammy Award nominations. For some artists to receive such praise right out the gates could apply more pressure to the successive releases but for K.Flay she says it had the opposite effect.
“I actually think that in some ways it reduced the pressure on me. I had been making music for a long time in the indie scene so to then get an acknowledgement from a mainstream organisation like the Grammy’s felt like a real pat on the butt and encouragement to keep going.”
This encouragement was certainly needed at that time in K.Flay’s career because as she told City Hub, “ I had been on the road for almost three years touring and I was in rough shape in all honestly. I was having trouble locating the joy in the music performance experience and wasn’t really taking care of myself, both mentally and physically.”
It was during this time that K.Flay once again employed the knowledge she had gained from her studies to begin reframing her mental approach to everything, particularly her music on her new record Solutions.
“This new wave of music was inspired by my mental and emotional state when I started writing. I felt like my last record was largely about problems and things that were causing me anguish, anxiety or pain. So I really wanted to pivot my songwriting perspective on this record to a place where I could reframe those pains and look towards some kind of answer, which was a process which actually felt really natural and exciting.”
This positive outlook on life and songwriting also carried over into K.Flay’s planning of live performances.
“The core foundation of these new shows is that they have to be divorced from any part of my ego. That means it doesn’t matter how I look in photos, if I sing every note perfectly or if I forget a word or lyric occasionally. What does matter is that I am creating a night and experience for people to have catharsis, have fun and be able to feel connected to something outside of themselves. Which has meant that these shows feel like my first shows again and has made me much more excited to play.”
Jul 17. Oxford Art Factory, 38-46 Oxford St, Darlinghurst. $55.90+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.oxfordartfactory.com