Elle King puts a gritty, bluesy spin on her blend of pop- and country-tinged retro-rock. After debuting with 2012's The Elle King EP, she hit number one on the Billboard alternative chart with "Ex's & Oh's" from her Top 30 debut album, 2015's Love Stuff. By 2020, she had released collaborations with artists spanning Ronnie Spector, Dierks Bentley, and Andy Grammer. Elle King was born Tanner Elle Schneider in 1989 in Los Angeles, the daughter of London King and Rob Schneider (actor, comedian, and former cast member of Saturday Night Live). She grew up in Ohio, and after hearing the all-girl pop-punk band the Donnas when she was nine years old, she decided she wanted to be a singer and musician. By 13 she was playing guitar, later adding banjo to her skill set. King began street busking and gigging around New York at the age of 16, moving to Philadelphia to attend the University of Arts, where she majored in painting and film. During that time, she acted in films including 2009's Wild Cherry. After college, she spent time in Copenhagen and Los Angeles before returning to New York to settle in Brooklyn. Signing to RCA Records, King released a four-song EP, The Elle King EP, in 2012. Her debut album, Love Stuff, followed in 2015. It included the single "Ex's & Oh's," which reached the top of Billboard's Alternative Songs chart and helped Love Stuff place as high as number 28 on the Billboard 200 in addition to number seven in Canada. In 2016, she recorded a duet with Dierks Bentley, "Different for Girls," that appeared on his album Black. The track was released as a single and rose to number one on the Country Airplay chart. It was later nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and won a Country Music Association trophy for Best Vocal Event of the Year. October 2018 saw the arrival of Shake the Spirit, King's second long-player. It peaked at number 68 on the U.S. album chart (and a notch higher in Canada) while landing in the Top Three of Billboard's Americana/Folk Albums chart and the Top Ten of the rock and alternative charts. Late the following year, she released a Christmas song, "Under the Mistletoe," with Ronnie Spector before delivering "Best of You," a duet with Andy Grammer, in 2020. That year, she also issued the three-track EP In Isolation and appeared as a singer in the film Love, Weddings & Other Disasters.
© Steve Leggett & Marcy Donelson /TiVo
© Steve Leggett & Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 19, 2018 | RCA Records Label
Through sheer persistence, Elle King turned her 2015 debut Love Stuff into a smash hit, working its lead single, "Ex's & Oh's," for over a year until it cracked the Billboard Top 10 and earned two Grammy nominations. "Ex's & Oh's" raised the stakes for Shake the Spirit, the sophomore set King delivered three-and-a-half years after her debut. From the moment "Talk of the Town" kicks off Shake the Spirit in a flurry of fuzz, it's clear King feels bolder than she did the first time around, allowing herself to break from the retro stylings that defined Love Stuff without quite abandoning vintage sounds and form. As the tracks spill out, what's striking about Shake the Spirit is the extent to which King embraces flashy modern flair, a move that telegraphs her confidence in her own authenticity: she believes in the heart pulsing within these songs, so she's content to let the recording dazzle. There's a reason for this. Shake the Spirit was written in the upheaval of the success of Love Stuff, a period that included a quickie marriage, rock star excess, and an abundance of soul searching, so the songs are filled with yearning and uncertainty, emotions that could be reasonably called the blues. Much of the album is blues, but it's strength lies within King allowing herself not to be confined by notions of purity. Some of this comes from her selection of producers -- Greg Kurstin, the Grammy Award-winning producer of Adele, who has also worked with Beck and Paul McCartney, is the marquee name here, among several other noteworthy helmers -- but King is responsible for the splashy, sultry sound of Shake the Spirit, one that conjures the past while being firmly focused on the present. Its sonic audacity is so bracing, it's relatively easy to forgive the lyrical stumbles, which crystallize on the dirty puns of "It Girl," but that's nearly beside the point because, unlike Love Stuff, Shake the Spirit never seems indebted to Elle King's idols. Instead, it embodies her own bold, bawdy heart. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
Alternative & Indie - Released April 23, 2021 | RCA Records Label