How Elle King Became Rock's Rising Star
Even if rock wasn't her first love, King—now a singer and guitarist whose bold and brassy debut album, Love Stuff, was released in February—has long been familiar with its rebellious spirit. "My mom says I was born screaming," she says.
Still, it would take some time before King would seriously consider rock 'n' roll as a career path. The daughter of former SNL funnyman Rob Schneider, King enrolled at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia—but soon found herself skipping class to head to a nearby park with some musician friends and play a borrowed banjo. And then she fell in love. "I followed a guy to Denmark," she says. "I came home with a broken heart"—and tons of fodder for the songs she was composing. King began playing small gigs in Los Angeles and New York, and when a manager took notice of her raw vocals, he helped her sign a deal with RCA.
On Love Stuff, King's voice—a little Billie Holiday, a little Johnny Cash— is backed by twangy chords and drums that demand foot tapping. "It's a jumble of rock, country and R&B," says King. And there's even a bit of her first love in the mix: "I used to be afraid to use the word pop to describe my music," she says, "but underneath my tough, bad-girl sound, there's some fun."