Elle King (born Tanner Elle Schneider; July 3, 1989) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Her musical style encompasses country, soul, rock and blues. In 2012, King released her debut EP, The Elle King EP, on RCA and Fat Possum Records. The EP track "Playing for Keeps" is the theme song for VH1's Mob Wives Chicago series. She released her debut album, Love Stuff on February 17, 2015. The album produced the US top 10 single "Ex's & Oh's," which earned her two Grammy nominations. King has also toured with acts such as Of Monsters and Men, Train and Michael Kiwanuka. She is the daughter of comedian Rob Schneider and former model London King.
King was born in Los Angeles, California, United States, to mother London King, a former model, and father, former SNL cast member Rob Schneider. Her parents divorced and her mother remarried. She grew up living in southern Ohio, between Wellston and Columbus. When she was 9 her stepfather, Justin Tesa, gave her a record by all-girl hard-rock band The Donnas; she views this as the pivotal moment when she decided she wanted to be a musician. Around this time, she also started listening to The Runaways and Blondie, and she made her acting debut alongside her father 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 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, Philadelphia, and Copenhagen, Denmark. Upon graduating from Elisabeth Irwin High School she moved to Philadelphia to matriculate at University of the Arts, studying painting and film. 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 Los Angeles, before moving back to New York where she currently resides in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
1999–2013: Films and The Elle King EP
In 1999 she debuted as actress in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. In 2005, at age 16, she started gigging around New York City, using a fake ID to gain entry to the local nightclubs. King immersed herself in the local songwriting scene and honed her performance skills by busking around town. King was then signed by newly appointed RCA Chairman Peter Edge. Her debut single "Good To Be A Man," was released on March 13, 2012, as a digital download and also as a 7" vinyl single. On June 12, 2012, the four-song The Elle King EP was released on RCA and Fat Possum Records. The EP was recorded in New York and was produced by Andy Baldwin and Chris DeStefano, with King herself producing a track. 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. King has been spotlighted as an "Artist to Watch in 2012" by Esquire Magazine and Refinery 29 and has made television appearances on VH1 Big Morning Buzz Live and the Late Show with David Letterman. King has played Austin, Texas, at the South by Southwest Festival, as well as the Hammersmith Apollo. She has also taped her own PBS Arts In Context special for KLRU Austin at the Austin City Limits recording studio. She has toured with Of Monsters and Men, Train and Michael Kiwanuka and has opened for Dashboard Confessional, Dropkick Murphys, Dry the River, James Bay and Ed Sheeran.
2014–present: Love Stuff
In September 2014, King released "Ex's & Oh's," which serves as the lead single off her debut album. She released the album, Love Stuff on February 17, 2015. She performed "Ex's & Oh's" the next day on The Today Show to promote it. The song has reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming King's first top 10 single in the United States. "Ex's & Oh's" received two nominations at the 58th Grammy Awards: Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song. In July 2015, King supported Modest Mouse on their UK tour.