I got an email the other day about RCA recording artist K. Flay‘s upcoming visit to Portland’s renowned Hawthorne Theatre, and I must admit, I had no idea who that was. A quick watch/listen to her latest video, Rawks, left me both honestly impressed and thoroughly confused. I’m OK with that. A few friends mentioned that she sounds a lot like Macklemore. I had to agree, and I’m OK with that too.

I managed to catch up with the budding starlet during the week of SxSW while she hung back in Cali, working in the studio. “Part of the reason I’m not at South By is because I need to focus on recording,” she said with a chuckle. Born in Illinois, Kristine “K. Flay” Flaherty began rapping in 2004 as a student at the prestigious Stanford University. After finishing school with a double major, the unlikely rapper stays busy. In regards to her process for recording this upcoming album, she explained, “I’m trying to amass as much I can, and then I can make cuts.”

In addition to her raspy in-and-out flow, K. Flay also works behind the boards. “I definitely have a hand in production,” she confidently asserted. She states her influences, musically, have been rappers who show vulnerability; Chance the Rapper and OutKast were examples she used. “They know how to be silly and still be cool.”

Macklemore was not mentioned. I didn’t push the issue.

A breakout hit for K. Flay was her hit single, Hail Mary, which featured enigmatic Detroit rapper, Danny Brown. The song currently has over 400K plays on her Soundcloud, and the key feature clearly boosted her credibility. When asked about working with other artists, the rapper describes it as a touch and go sort of thing. “Sometimes it’s good to collaborate with someone you trust,” she explained, “but other times you just want to lock yourself in a room with your thoughts.” I told her she should holler at Stewart Villain. She said she’d check him out.

No stranger to PDX, Flay had nothing but great things to say about the city. “Portland is one of my favorite cities to play in the States,” she said, adding that she enjoyed her previous romp at the Hawthorne. She also has a favorite diner in SE Portland for post-party mornings, but I’m not about to put her location on blast like that. Seems like a cool gal.

The rap singer will be in Portland – where local artist ABADAWN has been added to the show – on the 25th as part of what she described as a “Western Half of the US Tour” with Denver’s Air Dubai. Seattle heads can peep the show the following night at Chop Suey. Check out our Facebook page for ticket giveaways if you haven’t already. And let us know what you think!