Singer Elle King on Her Former 'SNL' Star Dad, Being a 'Badass Bitch' and Her Debut Album
From a young age, Elle King knew she wanted to be a "badass bitch." And now, she says, her wish is coming true: On her sassy debut, Love Stuff (Feb. 17, RCA), the Brooklyn-based blues-pop singer, 25, lets her raspy, Adele-esque wail loose, drowning fears with booze ("Last Damn Night") and disposing of a fling ("I Told You I Was Mean"). It's not what you'd expect from the daughter of comedian Rob Schneider and former model London King, but it works. Here are five reasons why King rules:
1. Dad's Coattails? No Thanks
"I was born out of a Vegas marriage: My parents got married three days after they met," says King. They divorced shortly after she was born. "Soon as I was 18, I took on my mom's last name because she raised me, and I wanted to be my own person."
2. She Kicks Ass On Banjo
"I was 18, at art school, and saw this cute boy playing banjo," says King. "I was obsessed. I taught myself how to play. I listened to a lot of country and just messed around. The second song I wrote on the banjo was 'Good to Be a Man' [on 2012's The Elle King EP]. That what's got me signed."
3. Heartbreak Is Her Muse
"Mean" and single "Ex's and Oh's" were inspired by King's real-life relationship dramas: "I fall in love fast, and I fall out of love even faster," she says, "but don't f--- with me, or I'm going to write a mean-ass song about you!"
4. She Wears Her Feelings On Her Body
"I have over 35 tattoos. I got my right hand done most recently. I lost my grandmother last summer. We called her 'Little One,' so I got that on my hand. Now she's with me every time I play."
5. She Puts Liquor Over Laptops
"I don't have a computer," says King. "I don't like that stuff. I just like playing music and drinking mimosas."
This story will appear in the Feb. 28 issue of Billboard.