Elle King seemingly came out of nowhere with the rock hit “Ex’s & Oh’s,” but the singer/songwriter has been putting in work since the song was released in September 2014. Now, just over a year later, she has two Grammy nominations to show for the cheeky chart hit, which spent three weeks at No. 1 on Alternative Songs and also topped the Adult Pop Songs airplay chart.
King — who is the No. 2 Top New Rock Artist of 2015 on our just-released year-end charts and just hit the top 10 of Billboard Hot 100 with “Ex’s” — called in to Billboard‘s Pop Shop Podcast on Monday just after she heard the news (listen below, King’s interview begins at 36:40) to talk about her reaction to the two nods, what she’s expecting from her very first Grammy ceremony, and what’s next:
Congratulations on your two Grammy nominations!
Thank you! Boy, I’m not sick of hearing that today…
I’m sure! And this is your first time being nominated for a Grammy. Can you tell us how you found out and what was your reaction?
I was in shock. I woke up, me and my bassist watched Alicia Keys announcing the names [on Monday’s CBS This Morning], and I didn’t hear my name called in those four categories, and so I was devastated. And then my mom called and was like, “Baby, it’s OK, there’s going to be other Grammys.” And I was like, “Wait! I’m pretty sure there are other [categories]! I’m going to look at the website.” And I saw my name, and then my manager called and we started jumping up and down. My tour manager came and screamed. I’m pretty sure we woke up all of the Hilton. We popped some champagne. I stared at the ceiling for about an hour and a half in shock, and now I’m pacing back and forth with excitement.
Yes, your fans got to see you popping bubbly on Twitter.
Oh yeah, gotta celebrate right.
— Elle King (@ElleKingMusic) December 7, 2015
You’re nominated for best rock performance and best rock song for “Ex’s & Oh’s,” and since you’re the performer and the songwriter, it has to be pretty cool to get nominated on both sides.
Oh, it’s totally awesome. I’m really happy that I get to sing the songs that I write, and whether it’s co-written or whether I write them alone — this was co-written with my friend Dave Bassett, who’s a genius — and this is just a dream come true. It’s so crazy. I can’t even — I’m always so chatty, and I can’t even find my words. I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m just like, I don’t know, it’s insane! Who would have ever thought this? You dream about it when you’re a little kid, but I never thought that this would ever happen in a million years. I don’t know. It’s so crazy. It’s an honor.
We’ve watched this song totally take off this year, dominating the rock charts and dominating radio. Did you have any idea how special this song was when you wrote it?
I mean, I had no idea that it would do this. I had no idea that it would get nominated for two fucking Grammys — pardon my language! When we wrote it, we were just laughing and having fun — which is how I think a lot of good things come, unless they’re heartbreaking songs, and those come from tears and things; this was not one of them. It’s just one of those things that is a great surprise of life. I just, I don’t know what to say. This is just the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me. I probably won’t win, but I get to at least go and see my face up there on the screen and make a funny, nervous-looking face. It’s going to be awesome!
Have you been to the Grammys before or will this be your first time?
No! I never thought they’d let me in, let alone nominate me.
So what are you expecting from that very first time — not just being there as a musician, but being there as a nominee?
I have no idea! I’ll probably be frozen and looking around and seeing everyone that I love — I can’t even speak! I’m just tongue-tied. I don’t know, I’m just excited. I know I’m going to bring my mom, my sweet little mommy, so we’ll get dressed up, and it’s always been our dream to, she always said I would get nominated for a Grammy and that we would go together and have fun. It’s just the coolest thing that’s ever happened.
As a music fan, do you have a favorite Grammy moment from watching the show?
Last year’s Grammys were amazing. … The Annie Lennox and Hozier performance last year was insane. Also, AC/DC opening the show was incredible. I’m a huge AC/DC fan. I look forward to seeing what they put together for this year and having a seat and probably, hopefully close to the front ’cause I’m actually nominated for something — this is just so cool!
Your album came out in February and you’ve been promoting it all year, so what’s next? Are you going to stay on the road and tour some more, or are you going to get into the studio?
I’m pretty sure I’m going to be touring for the next, well, rest of my life. I have not made out with enough boys to even think about album two. There’s time.
There’s some life experiences you need to gather before the next one…
Definitely, maybe a couple of Vegas marriages. We’ll see.