Elle King has already earned chart-topping hits including her Grammy-nominated breakthrough “Ex’s and Oh’s,” and her Billboard Country Airplay chart-topping collaborations including “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” with Miranda Lambert and “Different for Girls” with Dierks Bentley.
On Jan. 27, King will bring her roots-rock swagger to her first full-fledged country album, Come Get Your Wife.
Prior to the album’s release, King sat down with Billboard at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium to discuss the new album, her approach to crafting her vivid, hilarious music videos, her foray into country music, her fashion evolution and reuniting with Bentley for their most recent collab, “Worth a Shot,” a song King says her collaborator had initially considered for his own album.
“I would never want to give anything less than 110% to making music, let alone country music that I care so much about and that has brought so much great joy to my life,” King says. “I asked my team to send me some songs, and a bunch of stuff got sent to me that was written for women and I didn’t necessarily connect with it. I said, ‘Send me songs written for men … send me songs Dierks didn’t cut,’ just kind of jokingly.
“I was working with [the album’s co-producer] Ross Copperman, [he] said, ‘Well, Dierks just finished his album and ‘Worth a Shot’ didn’t make the record.’ I said, ‘Great, ‘cause it’s for me!’” she says with a laugh. “I couldn’t put out a country album and not at least have something on there that is a nod to Dierks or to give respect to the person who changed my life and who showed me the most rock n’ roll I’ve ever seen in my life, which is country music. Country music has given me these incredible opportunities.”
The Ryman Auditorium proved an ideal setting to discuss the new project, which melds elements of country, folk, bluegrass, soul and rock. Country music’s “Mother Church” currently has an exhibit spotlighting the venue’s abundant rock n’ roll history.
“I came from the rock and the pop and alternative world and I was brought into country when I started singing with Dierks,” King says. “I was like, ‘This is more Rock n’ roll than rock n’ roll!’ Even the way I dress, it’s like ’50s western, kind of rockabilly, but it seems rock n’ roll to me. I love the rock exhibit–it’s cool because it’s not only Elvis and James Brown, but also Clapton, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash.”
Watch Billboard‘s chat with Elle King about her upcoming album above.