Stanford dare inspired K.Flay to channel her anger in music 

click to enlarge Social commentary: Hip-hop artist K.Flay – who went to Stanford –  is making relevant statements on her EP “Eyes Shut.” - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Social commentary: Hip-hop artist K.Flay – who went to Stanford – is making relevant statements on her EP “Eyes Shut.”

As the fable goes, Kristine Flaherty’s transformation from bookish Stanford student to hip-hop dervish K.Flay started on an innocent dorm room dare. While studying for degrees in psychology and sociology, she was lamenting the sorry misogynistic state of modern rap to a classmate, who challenged her. “It was like, ‘Could you — random white girl in college, having nothing to do with music — actually create something that’s valid?’” recalls the computer-savvy composer, who responded with the farcical — but respectable — track, “Blingety Blang Blang.” Soon, she was remixing the Beastie Boys and whipping out social commentaries such as “We Hate Everyone,” featured on her new EP, “Eyes Shut.” A full album follows this summer.

You played basketball all through high school? I did! It was a random high school outside of Chicago, and I was point guard, out there giving assists and passing the ball. I grew up in a very sports-centric household, and I’ve always been kind of a tomboy, and always liked the mentality of being on a team. But I remember one game where I hit the winning free throw. It was a really nice feeling.

Does your athletic ability help you onstage, where you’re essentially a one-woman band?
Actually, for this next round of shows, a drummer friend of mine is playing with me, so there are two of us onstage. Which is more interesting for an audience, when you have two things to look at, as opposed to just plain old me.

Why did you get two degrees? I feel like an idiot saying this, but I don’t totally know. I didn’t have much of a plan — I was just studying the things that I enjoyed. But around the time I graduated was when a couple of people took interest in me and encouraged me to pursue music, so I didn’t apply for any graduate schools.

Are you glad you rose to the songwriting challenge that fateful evening? Yeah. There was something really interesting about having an idea and actually participating in its creation, and then having that creation exist in the world.

What are you so angry about on “We Hate Everyone”? My days are just littered with these really aggravating encounters with incompetents, people who are just not doing their jobs, and making life harder than it needs to be. The first line is: “Wanted smoked turkey, instead they gave me roasted.” I had ordered a sandwich for lunch, and they did that, and I was so annoyed I started writing this song about stuff that bothered me on a daily basis.

IF YOU GO

K.Flay

Opening for Theophilus London

Where: Mezzanine, 444 Jessie St., San Francisco

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $15 to $18

Contact: (415) 625-8880, www.mezzaninesf.com

About The Author

Tom Lanham

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