In August 2022, K.Flay suddenly lost all her hearing in her right ear. Amid the day-to-day challenges that her new reality brought her, the “Blood in the Cut” artist was presented with questions of whether she could, or even wanted to, continue to make music. And she was struck with a realization.
“I need to make a record, and I need to do it now,” she tells ABC Audio.
K.Flay, born Kristine Flaherty, adds that she felt the “urgency of a debut, when you’re first starting and you’re like, ‘I need to get my s*** out there!'”
That record turned out to be MONO, which is out now and opens with the song “Are You Serious?” It was the first track Flaherty wrote for MONO following her hearing loss and reflects her reexamination of her “relationship with music.”
“Not to quote Eminem here, but, like, you only got one shot,” Flaherty says. “Like, are you serious? Are you gonna take it seriously? … That was the question I began to ask myself about music.”
Flaherty answered that question with a resounding “yes,” resulting in some of the heaviest songs in her discography.
“It took me out of a more critical, analytical space, into, like, ‘How does it hit in my chest? How does it hit in the body?'” Flaherty explains.
MONO isn’t all about Flaherty’s hearing loss, though her experience served as a lens through which to focus her writing. The single “Raw Raw,” for example, started out as a song about the anxiety of potential future heartbreak.
“Then I went through everything with my ear, and it was like, ‘Oh, you thought that was vulnerable?'” Flaherty says. “So it kind of reframed vulnerability in a very physical, tangible way.”
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