K.Flay wore two faces during her performance Friday at the Stamp All-Niter: emo queen and soft-hearted philanthropist. Her opening song, “Giver,” put this dichotomy on display by juxtaposing lyrics such as “Every day’s another shot/ But all I do is fuck it up,” with “I’m learning to give/ But I don’t know if I’m a giver.” Before jumping into the noise and angst of her head-banging worthy music, the artist sat down for a fan Q&A where she expressed her desire to do something greater with her fame and platform.
“I think she really takes care of her fans, which is really awesome,” said Skyy Garcia, a junior social science major at Howard Community College. “She really appreciates her fan base.”
When she’s not singing songs proclaiming that “The President Has a Sex Tape,” she spends her time raising awareness for the current immigration controversy in the United States. Her Instagram bio contains a link to her merchandise shop, which features T-shirts and sweatshirts with the phrase “Immigrants Welcome,” printed in bold.
“I was like, ‘Ok, I’m going to be on TV. I could just wear normal clothes, like, that’s not that interesting … I should wear something that says something,'” the artist said, describing her debut of the homemade T-shirt on Conan. After the show aired, fans bombarded her with demands for the statement shirt, and she decided to make a version for retail. All the profits from the shirt go to charity.
K.Flay also recently collaborated with Iranian artist Kasra V on the Spotify project “I’m With the Banned.” The project paired six American artists with six artists from countries blacklisted under President Trump’s travel ban. The teams then recorded songs together in Toronto, as the banned bands were not allowed to enter the United States. K.Flay and Kasra V.’s song “Justify You,” is now available on Spotify.
“One of the most interesting things was that a few people were like, ‘Why do you have to go to Toronto? Why are you going to Toronto?’ and I’m like, ‘They can’t [come here], they’re not allowed to come here,'” K.Flay said during the Q&A before the show. “I think a lot of people maybe on a daily level aren’t interacting with that issue with access as white Americans.”
“[K.Flay is] an artist you kind of connect with, said Wesley Brown, a junior journalism major at Towson University. “She writes a lot of songs that sort of have that personal connection rather than sort of like a pop vibe.”
Aside from her political activism, K.Flay tries to provide a sense of community within her fan base through her newly released book, Crush Me. It features a compilation of notes and thoughts from her fans she collected while on tour.
“Most of them were pretty intensely emotional — a lot about mental health, substance abuse, a lot about loss in one way or another,” she said. “It kind of like spanned the whole gambit.”
The book was inspired by her EP, Crush Me that was in released August 2016. The book is currently available for sale, and again, all profits will go to charity.
“If you do something you believe in and then follow the energy of that,” she said. “It takes you to a good place.”