When K. Flay made her return this year with “FML,” you would think that the eclectic singer/rapper would have a very negative perspective on life. In actuality, “FML” analyzes both the good and bad aspects of life and within that duality, there’s some clarity — even if that clarity is just realizing that everything is a blur.
Life is a constant hangover — a simultaneous burst of emotion that is both full of regret and elation. Why did I drink so much last night? Aw, fuck it I had fun and I’m going to do it again! But ugh, now I feel like shit. You may be pushing it a bit too far, but maybe that’s a good thing.
“There’s a part of me that’s always pushing for more,” K. Flay tells me before her sold out show at The Troubadour in Los Angeles. “Sometimes those mores are bad — if I’m out, I can be out and keep drinking a million things. But then sometimes those mores are good — like if they’re career focused or relationship focused.”
After breaking on the scene in 2014, K. Flay recently became the first artist to sign to Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds’ label, Night Street Records Imprint. With her latest EP Crush Me out into the world, the genre-defying artist is pushing herself even further than before.
Nobody showed you how to live?
Complacency is a toxic thing. There’s a fine line between never settling and burning yourself out. Sometimes when you achieve everything you thought you wanted, there might be an emptiness that still lingers. But how can you hate your life when you should be thankful for everything you have?
As we continue to chat, the self-awareness K. Flay possesses is palpable. She knows she’s flawed and she accepts it. The honesty she has with herself is pure and rare and translates directly into her music and her stage presence. Navigating the demands of what society wants for you and what you want for yourself is probably the hardest thing to face in life. K. Flay doesn’t retreat from it; she embraces it.
“Happiness is more about the pursuit than the end goal,” explains K. Flay. “Feeling like you want more or want something different or that you want to experiment, doesn’t necessarily mean what you had before didn’t have value or meaning. I think in order to be fulfilled or happy as a person, there has to be a strive. Sometimes people end up unhappy because they’re striving for things they don’t really want. I’ve certainly done this.”
“A good barometer is [asking yourself] if every day could change your life. Are you creating a situation for yourself — whether it’s professionally, in your relationships, or your environments — where every day has the potential for an opportunity?”
It’s really important to recognize that every single person has the capability to accomplish whatever they want, whenever they want. As we talk even more, we both realize just how long exactly life can be (“People also think that once you turn 30, it’s over but bro, you weren’t even awake until you were like 7!”) and how much room there is for us to learn, adapt, and change.
“I’m really into the different stages of a work life; even if you’re in the same profession, your role can change if you want it to.”
With her EP finally out and a successful headlining tour under her belt, her next steps are to finish the album (“It’s almost done,” she assures me) and develop her musicianship. She points out that with production nowadays, it’s rare to actually play anything. Will anything come of it? She doesn’t care — it’s fulfilling for her to just do it anyway.
“I find I’m the happiest when I’m pushing myself forward in ways that are positive and natural. There are ways to get out of your comfort zone. Even with a song, if it’s not right, I try asking myself — no judgment — why is it not right? And from there you can start to fix it. Being honest with yourself, you’ll learn your motivations.”