BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The last time K.Flay performed in Alabama, the show went out with an electrifying bang at the 2018 Hangout Music Festival in Mobile.

“Immediately after our set, the whole festival shut down because of crazy thunderstorms — so we were the last set of the night that got to play,” she said.

Kristine Flaherty, known musically as K.Flay, will be performing at Birmingham’s Zydeco on Saturday. She has developed her own style after nearly two decades in the music industry — a mix of pop rock, hip-hop and punk — and is really excited to perform in the Magic City for the first time.

“I think there’s a special energy whenever you’re in a city for the first time, and I am feeling so excited about this show that we’re bringing,” she said. “I’ve been working really hard to make it special and dynamic so I’m really excited to bring that to Birmingham and just see how the people respond.”

K.Flay is currently touring the U.S. and Europe throughout the summer and fall. She says one of her favorite aspects of being on tour is becoming immersed in different cities and seeing different parts of the country as a “non-tourist.”

“Even though we’re visitors in a city, we’re doing something that local people are doing — going to a show,” she said. “When you’re touring, you kind of immediately become a part of the local scene so I really enjoy seeing the energy of [local] people on like, just a Thursday night doing their thing.”

Some standout hits that have garnered a positive reaction from crowds so far have been “Shy” and “Punisher,” two new and unreleased songs.

“I try to represent all the different kind of eras and records of my career [but] I think all the songs get a pretty cool reaction,” she said.

K.Flay’s career encountered a major change last year, as she experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss and labyrinthitis. After undergoing multiple forms of hearing therapy, she revealed publicly that the condition resulted in complete hearing loss in her right ear.

Most of the work done in physical therapy was to prepare her for her first show following the diagnosis.

“There was a lot of work — practically and physically and psychologically — to get to that place,” she said. “My equilibrium was very impaired in the aftermath of this and one of the hallmarks of my performance is being very active, a lot of jumping or thrashing around, and I was definitely not in a place where I could do any of those things.”

From learning how to sing with a non-hearing ear to adjusting to severe tinnitus, K.Flay says the biggest win in this journey was performing her first show post-treatment.

“I think every step of the way has felt like a triumph — the first time I went for a run by myself outside felt like a big win,” she said. “But definitely, that first show back was a very beautiful experience.”

Following her partial hearing loss, K. Flay felt a renewed sense of creative liberty when it came to creating music despite having to overcome new challenges.

“I think the new music that I’ve made is the strongest and most exciting that I’ve ever made,” she said. “The hearing loss kind of untethered me from some of the expectations that I had for myself and my music. So in that respect, I felt a renewed urgency to create.”

She also feels a revived appreciation for music’s influence in her fans’ lives as well as her own.

“This experience has reminded me of how important music is as a backdrop for our lives as a way to contextualize and understand our own experiences, to feel less alone and create communities,” she said. “Those are a lot of the things I strive to do as a human being on this Earth.”

So when the audience leaves Zydeco after her show, K.Flay hopes to inspire confidence in each of them.

“I hope that the audience feels a sense of their personal power, their ability to be authentic in this world and to change in ways that they want to,” K.Flay said. “I think when we feel secure in ourselves and can be authentically who we are, we behave in ways that are really positive — in that sense of self-belief and feeling confident — that’s really what I’m hoping to create.”

Tickets for the show are still currently for sale online.