Elle King Climbed The Alternative Chart By ‘Being Nice’ But Still Kicking Ass, Musically

'I never thought that I’d get to No. 1 of anything,' she says.

Take a peek at Billboard's Alternative Songs chart and you'll see Elle King ascendant -- her song "Ex's & Oh's" cracked the No. 1 spot last week and remained on top this week.

This is big news. It's only the second time in the past two decades that a female solo artist has topped the alt chart, and it's the first time since Lorde's "Royals" shot to No. 1 back in 2013.

How could a song like "Ex's & Oh's" win big on the charts? Easy. Its road-weary, country-tinged, boot-stompin' rhythm makes it inescapably catchy, and King's clever lyrics -- "One, two, three, they gonna run back to me/ They always wanna come but they never wanna leave" -- endearingly speak for themselves.

But why have only two female solo songs found that kind of success since 1996? King thinks it has to do with "alternative" being a typically male-affiliated term.

"Alternative is mainly male rock and roll, and there’s not a lot of women who, not only fronting female bands, but [there] aren’t as many female rock or alternative solo acts," she recently told MTV News. "I think there’s just more guys in alternative."

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King co-wrote the song with producer Dave Bassett and co-wrote all 12 tracks on her debut album, Love Stuff, released in February on RCA. "Ex's & Oh's" itself, however, came out all the way back in September 2014, which makes its rise to the top of the chart a bit delayed, but certainly a welcome outcome. She chalks it up to constant touring, including her headlining tour throughout this past summer, as well as tons of radio interviews and -- surprise, surprise -- just being pleasant to the people she meets.

"It’s really being nice to every single person from the head of the label to just a fan on the street," she said. "You have to be nice to everybody, and then people want you to succeed."

The news of that success came to King via a message from her manager while she shopped in Seattle with her boyfriend, who, she said, "picked me up and swung me around."

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For all the bigger, slicker moments on Love Stuff (like "Ex's & Oh's"), there's a gorgeously sparse folk ballad called "Kocaine Karolina" that displays King's softer side. She plucks a banjo over subtle piano chords and sings to soothe a worried rambler (maybe herself): "Easy days will come/ When you rest your heavy soul/ Easy days will come/ When your hard living is done." That song, a quiet emotional oasis in a dry expanse of big, bold statements, was almost just as loud -- King wanted drums on the track, but her producer talked her out of it.

"I’m glad because it is a nice break," she said. "It was an important decision to showcase every side of me as a musician and as who I am. I love to sing big rock and roll songs, I love to sing country-pop stuff, and then I love to sing soft, sadder beautiful songs. And I’m just very glad I signed with the right label that let me make the album I wanted to make."

And that's the point. Whether she stays on top another week (or eight, and breaks Lorde's record, or 20, and beats out Muse's "Madness" to set a new one all-time record), it's all good. She did it.

"Hey, my song is No. 1 two weeks in a row, but it could not be next week," she said. "But just the fact that I got to No. 1 for an instant? That just means it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, if you make good f—king music that people wanna listen to. That’s it."

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