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Elle King sound check episode assets: still images, thumbnails and video

SOUND CHECK with Genre-Defying Country-Indie-Rock Artist Elle King

May 102022

If you ask singer, musician, mom, and Monster Energy artist Elle King what kind of music she plays, she’ll tell you she simply doesn’t know. The genre-bending singer has drawn legions of fans with her signature sound, which is best described as a gritty, bluesy mix of retro country-rock

When she sat down to talk with Monster Energy’s SOUND CHECK before her show at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California, King discussed how she got her start in country music (a duet with some guy named Dierks Bentley) and what inspires her most as an artist. She also talked about her plans for 2022, including the wrap-up of her Drunk And I Don’t Wanna Go Home Tour and new music in the works.

With nearly a decade as an artist under her belt, Elle burst onto the music scene in 2012 with her debut The Elle King EP (RCA Records). Three years later, she rocketed to the top of the Billboard alternative chart with the single "Ex's & Oh’s" from her album Love Stuff, which landed on the Billboard Top 30.

Hollywood to Ohio

Born as Tanner Elle Schneider in Los Angeles, it would seem that Elle was destined to be a creative of one kind or another. After all, her father is Rob Schneider — the actor, comedian, former Saturday Night Live cast member and star of comedies such as Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. He and her mother (London King) divorced shortly after King’s birth.


King didn’t grow up in the limelight of Hollywood; she was raised in Ohio by her mom and her stepfather. It was important for her to be her own person, so she opted to go by her mother’s last name. The singer credits her stepdad for her musical chops, saying that he saw something inside her and nurtured her to dig deeper and make it grow.


Even though she wasn’t raised by her dad (because he was busy on Hollywood sets when she was young), the pair have reconnected over time. King says that he’s now one of her biggest supporters.

Growing up, Elle was most inspired by girl bands, and particularly the all-girl pop-punk band the Donnas. After hearing them when she was nine years old, she knew she wanted to be a musician — and specifically the leader of an all-girl band. She went about building her music skills, learning to play the guitar and banjo.


Her teen years were a flurry of creativity, including playing gigs and busking in the streets of New York City at 16. She moved to Philadelphia and majored in film and painting at the University of the Arts. King also took up acting for a bit (fans can see her in the 2009 film Wild Cherry). She traveled around after college, spending Copenhagen and back to her birthplace of Los Angeles before settling in Brooklyn, New York.

First Hit to Star-Studded Collaborations

Although King first landed in everyone’s ears with “Ex’s & Oh’s,” a decidedly alt-indie hit, it wasn’t long before she vaulted into a new musical genre entirely. 2016 saw her teaming up with country superstar Dierks Bentley for the powerfully honest duet "Different for Girls," which appeared on Bentley’s album Black. The track was a wild success, hitting number one on the Country Airplay chart, receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, and winning a Country Music Association trophy for Best Vocal Event of the Year.


In October 2018, King released Shake the Spirit, her second full-length album. The confessional album peaked at number 68 on the U.S. album chart, hit the Top Three of Billboard’s Americana/Folk Albums chart and the Top Ten of the rock and alternative charts. Variety wrote of the record, “King has done herself proud with this half-fun, half-harrowing transitional effort.”

The next few years saw a series of shorter project, including a Christmas song collaboration with Ronnie Spector called "Under the Mistletoe" in late 2019 and "Best of You," a duet with Andy Grammer, the following year.


In 2020, Elle dropped her three-track EP In Isolation, recording the demos while quarantined in Los Angeles during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project featured the songs “Over Easy,” “The Only One,” and “The Let Go.” She appeared in the film Love, Weddings & Other Disasters (playing a park singer who performs throughout the film).


The following year saw King go platinum with a duet with Miranda Lambert. "Drunk (And I Don't Wanna Go Home)" hit number 44 on the Hot 100. In late 2021, she released another holiday song, hitting the rock Top 40 with "Please Come Home for Christmas.” King was also featured on Wanda Jackson’s Encore album, performing alongside Joan Jett on the song "Two Shots.”

Motherhood, New Music, and Beyond

In September of 2021, King introduced the world to her first child, Lucky Levi Tooker, with her fiancé Dan Tooker. The singer said she had wanted to be a mother for as long as she could remember and spoke openly about her struggle with infertility and the loss of two pregnancies due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).


Amidst new motherhood, King kicked off 2022 right, fusing banjo country and rock with "Out Yonder.” She also recorded "Feelin' Alright,” which was featured in DreamWorks Animation's The Bad Guys. In the spring of 2022, "Drunk (And I Don't Wanna Go Home)” hit number 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart after 46 weeks on the survey. It marked only the second time that a duet by two female soloists topped that chart (the last time this happened was in 1993 with “Does He Love You” by Reba McEntire with Linda Davis).


It was a crowning achievement as she finished up the final dates of the Drunk And I Don’t Wanna Go Home Tour, which took her to 29 cities across the U.S. Back at home, learning the ropes of motherhood, and ready to create, there’s no telling what’s next for this gritty, gutsy artist who has always refused to be put in a box.