From Stanford graduate to rising rap star

By Justin Mathew Dennis |Staff Writer|

Stanford graduate turned rap artist, K. Flay is the newest musical hit from the Bay Area.

With her different style, a mash-up of hip-hop and Indie rock, K. Flay broke out of the expected mold of an alumnus from the respected school.

After several releases, two full albums and one more on the way, K. Flay has made her way to opening tours for Passion Pit and 3OH!3.

She has also shared the stage with well-known hip-hop artists Snoop Dogg and Ludacris.

Her passion and inspiration for music started from listening to her father’s classic rock records as a child. She has memories of herself dancing in her living room to Parliament-Funkadelic.

Just like most hard-working aspiring artists, K. Flay started her way from the bottom.

In the summer of 2004, she got a job at a French restaurant in her hometown, Chicago, making just $4.95 an hour. Compiling her earnings, she purchased a basic Edirol keyboard and taught herself how to make beats.

K. Flay, whose real name is Kristine Flaherty, was inspired to start producing music from a college friend who was a DJ. She learned the ropes her sophomore year at Stanford and started what would become a blossoming career performing at campus venues.

Now with her new mixed style, she has been influenced by artists from Missy Elliot and Lauryn Hill to Fiona Apple and Liz Phair.

Even with her degrees in psychology and sociology, K. Flay decided to follow her dream of getting into music and becoming a rap artist.

“I’m just making music I hope my roommates don’t mind listening to,” she says.

After a year of preparing high school students for the SATs, she stepped out of the world of academia for a shot at the music industry.

“I think at some point, I was just so sick of sentence completion that I said, ‘F— it,'” K. Flay said in an interview with Alternative Press.

K. Flay has a distinctive aspect that sets her apart from other artists.  She makes her own beats, manages her own website, controls her own recording process and pretty much serves as her own rhythm section.

“It’s still shocking to people who knew me growing up that I’m doing this, everyone thought I’d be a doctor or something, have a serious job,” K. Flay said in the East Bay Express.

Most artists have a band to back them up on stage, but K. Flay is a one-woman show. When she performs, it mostly consists of just her and her laptop.

Though it may be a little more difficult, she feels that if you go on stage genuinely ready to give people good music, than they will give you a good response.

Touring with famous artists, K. Flay hopes to follow their footsteps.

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