K. Flay

K. Flay has been undergoing quite a personal life journey recently. The artist, who performs tonight at the House of Blues, has undergone both physical and internal changes, but they aren’t keeping her from music. Instead, she’s determined to make even more music — as proven by her latest dynamic single “Raw Raw.”

Last year, Flay suffered from deafness in her right ear. She quite literally woke up that way due to a rare condition. For a musician, that can be traumatic. 

“I lost my hearing last fall,” she said by phone. “I went through a heavy psychological experience surrounding that. I had to recover my equilibrium, and I just felt extremely  vulnerable.”

Flay had to emerge from her experience into a new reality with this disability. She’s only seven months into her deafness, but already, she has turned the situation into a benefit — as much as she could — regarding her music. 

Single-sided deafness reduced her ability to locate sound, which is disorienting when sounds are coming from everywhere. 

“Making music in this new sensory landscape puts me in a state of learning. In short, yes, music sounds different. But also, I do think it has set me free from expectations,” she said. 

Flay is finding that she can start from a whole new slate with her music. 

“The are little expectations. The rules feel flexible now, hearing sound in a new way. It’s more a feeling or instinct,” she said. 

Her newest single “Raw Raw” taps into this new frontier. The song is aggressive and layered with deep rock and pop sensibilities. This is almost ironic. The song is a banger which would almost defy what she said about many sounds being disorienting.

“I think it’s an interesting song. This different experience really informed the song as I was finishing it,” she said. “Opening up to being vulnerable is scary. When I began writing this though, I had been through a bad break up and started to date someone new.”

This leads to her other life changing moment. 

“On some level, I dated both men and women, but I now think of myself as queer,” she said. “I have a girlfriend right now, but identifying as queer, I felt less pressure to have labels around who I’m dating.”

She came out in 2019. Like her deafness, she found a freedom in processing her own identity — and also an authenticity. 

“There is an increased impulse to be authentic with myself but also in what I’m experiencing.”

And that should lend something extra to her live shows. She is now on the road supporting her new music although her next album won’t be out until later this year. She said she was ready to get on the road. 

“I love touring and I have a lot of material to pull from for the show. It is dynamic, but I did spend quite a bit in rehearsal for this new experience. I feel very prepared for that difference onstage,” she said. 

It’s all part of her moving forward as a queer, deaf musician pioneering her own story if not inspiring others. 

“I feel energized for this next chapter of my music and life. It’s a strange thing to happen, but this journey has allowed me to increasingly become my own ally in all this,” she said.

–Rich Lopez