Elle King (born 1989 as Tanner Elle Schneider) is an American musician signed to RCA Records whose musical style encompasses country, soul, rock, and blues. King was born in Los Angeles, and grew up between Wellston, Ohio and Columbus, Ohio. She resides in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York.
On June 12, 2012, King released her four-song debut, The Elle King EP, on RCA/Fat Possum Records. The EP track "Playing for Keeps" has been chosen as the theme song for VH1's Mob Wives Chicago series. Since the EP's release, King has toured with Of Monsters and Men, Train, and Michael Kiwanuka. She is currently working on her debut full-length slated for an early 2013 release date.
King was born Tanner Elle Schneider in 1989 in Los Angeles to mother London King and father, former SNL cast member, Rob Schneider. Her parents divorced and her mother remarried. She grew up living in southern Ohio, between Wellston, Ohio and Columbus, Ohio. At age 9, her stepfather, Justin Tesa, gave her a record by all-girl pop-punk band The Donnas. King views this as a pivotal moment when she decided she wanted to be a musician. Around this time, she also started listening to the Runaways, Blondie, and she made her acting debut alongside her birthfather in the movie Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. Three years later, at 13, King started playing guitar, immersing herself in the music of Otis Redding, the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, AC/DC (she has the band's logo tattooed on her bicep), and Earl Scruggs. Her interest in the country and bluegrass music of Hank Williams and Earl Scruggs inspired her to learn the banjo. During her teenage years, she attended Buck's Rock camp in Connecticut, where she starred in a number of musicals. King plays guitar and banjo.
King spent her teenage years in New York City, but she has also lived in Los Angeles, California, Philadelphia, and Copenhagen. At 16, she started gigging around New York City, using a fake ID to gain entry to the local nightclubs. Upon graduating from Elisabeth Irwin High School, she moved to Philadelphia to matriculate at University of the Arts, studying painting and film. King immersed herself in the local songwriting scene and honed her performance skills by busking around town. During these college years, she had an artistic epiphany seeing a live show where the band onstage used a banjo purely for accompaniment purposes, eschewing the bluegrass and country musical vocabulary traditionally associated with the instrument. King then began to use the banjo as a compositional tool. After college, she briefly lived in Copenhagen and LA, before moving back to New York. She resides in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
The Elle King EP:
King was signed by newly appointed RCA Chairman Peter Edge. On June 12, 2012, the four-song The Elle King EP was released on RCA/Fat Possum Records. The EP featured the originals "Good To Be A Man," "Playing For Keeps," and "No Can Save You," and a live cover of American female rapper Khia's 2002 debut lead-off single "My Neck, My Back (Lick It)." The EP was recorded in New York and the studio tracks were produced by three separate producers. Andy Baldwin (whose credits include Richard Ashcroft, Björk, and David Gilmour) produced "Good To Be A Man." Chris DeStefano (whose credits include Carrie Underwood, Howie D, and Kelly Clarkson) produced "Playing For Keeps." King produced "No One Can Save You." The EP track, "Good To Be A Man," was originally released as a standalone single on March 13 to iTunes, and issued as a 7" vinyl single on Fat Possum Records on April 24, 2012. The track was inspired by a romantic disaster that occurred while King lived in Copenhagen. She counts writing the track as an artistic breakthrough. The track has been played by KCRW Santa Monica, XPN Philly, and RIF Detroit. The EP's lead track, "Playing For Keeps," was chosen as the theme song for VH1's Mob Wives Chicago series that premiered June 10, 2012 on VH1. The show is a spinoff of VH1's hit series Mob Wives. King has been spotlighted as an "Artist to Watch in 2012" by Esquire Magazine and Refinery 29. The Elle King EP has garnered favorable press from Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Glamour, Perez Hilton, and Vanity Fair.
Live Performances and Full Length Release:
King has played Austin, Texas at the South By Southwest Music Festival, as well as the London Hammersmith Apollo. Her television appearances include VH1 Big Morning Buzz Live and the Late Show with David Letterman. She has also taped her own PBS Arts In Context special for KLRU Austin at the historic Austin City Limits studio. She has toured with Of Monsters and Men, Train, and Michael Kiwanuka and has opened for Dashboard Confessional, Dropkick Murphys, Dry the River, and Ed Sheeran. King is working on her debut full-length to be released early 2013.
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