Elle King, who was born Tanner Elle Schneider, is a singer/songwriter who has scored hits with “Ex’s & Oh’s” and “America’s Sweetheart” off of her first album, 2015’s Love Stuff. She is also the daughter of former Saturday Night Live star Rob Schneider and his first wife, former model London King.
The 27-year-old King has a song featured on the new Ghostbusters movie soundtrack called “Good Girls.” She also teamed up with country singer Dierks Bentley for the hit “Different For Girls.” She was picked to perform at the 2016 County Music Association Awards.
Here’s a look at King’s life and career.
1. She Dropped ‘Schneider’ From Her Name to be Her Own Person
Rather than try to cash-in on her father’s fame, King said she wanted to be a musician because of her own hard work. So, she took her mother’s last name as a performer.
“It’s not that I wanted to be a famous person. I wanted to be a performer,” King explained to ABC News in November 2015. “But I worked really hard and I did everything myself and I took a name that … is my mother’s name … I took that name because I wanted to be myself.”
Schneider and London King divorced shortly after King was born, so it was her stepfather, Justin Tesa, who was a major influence in her life.
“I am only a musician because of him,” she told ABC News. “I think that it was something that was inside of me, but he saw that and he definitely nurtured it and pushed me to, you know, dig deeper into music and step outside of things that were beyond just pop culture and, uh, learn about good rock and roll.”
King did appear in a trio of Schneider’s movies as a kid, including The Benchwarmers and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.
2. She Sang the Theme Song for ‘Mob Wives of Chicago’
The first time many people heard King’s voice was thanks to Mob Wives of Chicago. Her song “Playing For Keeps” (hear above) was picked for the show’s theme song. It can be heard on her appropriately-titled debut EP The Elle King EP, which was released in 2012.
In an interview with Vanity Fair that year, King said she loves shows like those.
“I love the other Mob Wives. I’m obsessed with trash TV,” she said. “I love horrible TV shows. It’s the white trash in me, you know?”
When asked what her other favorite shows are, she said Steve Wilkos. “It’s horrible! But I love it. I think it makes me feel normal, honestly, watching those shows,” she said.
Her song “What Do I Know” also appeared in This Is 40 in 2012.
3. She Thought She Wasn’t Nominated for a Grammy at First
“Ex’s and Oh’s” earned King two Grammy nominations – Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song, since she co-wrote the song with producer Dave Bassett. In a Billboard interview, King said she almost didn’t think she earned a Grammy nomination at all since the two categories weren’t announced on CBS This Morning.
“…My mom called and was like, ‘Baby, it’s OK, there’s going to be other Grammys,'” King recalled. “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.”
King is still touring to promote Love Stuff. In September and October, she will be hitting the road with The Dixie Chicks.
4. It Took Her ‘Ages’ to Learn How to Play the Banjo, but it was Worth it
King can play the banjo, which isn’t a very common skill for musicians her age. She initially thought that it would be easy to learn since she knows how to play guitar, but it wasn’t easy at all.
The singer told the Official Charts Company that she got interested in the instrument after spotting a “cute boy playing one in Philadelphia.
The banjo is a beautiful instrument. I know it’s not the sort of instrument many people my age pick up, but I thought, I’ve played the guitar for eight years – I can do that! Turns out it’s a completely different instrument and it took me ages. I don’t like not being able to do things, so I obsessed over it until I learnt to play it. I then wrote a song on it – the first real song I ever wrote – and it got me signed.
5. It Took King Three Years to Make ‘Love Stuff’
In her Official Charts Company interview, King said that it took her three years to complete Love Stuff.
“I learnt a lot while making it and I’m very proud of it. I’ll always love it – it’s my first album and I worked my ass off on it,” King said. She did say that there is one song on the record that she doesn’t like and never performs it. “I’m not saying what it is… come to every live show and you’ll figure it out. In fact, listen to the album and you can tell which I don’t want to play,” she said.
When she spoke with Idolator in March 2016, King said that she isn’t sure of where she fits in today’s music world since she doesn’t listen to her contemporaries.
“If you listen to my album, it has a lot of different sounds and textures to it, because those are all different things that I want to do, and all different sounds that I want to make,” she said. “The common thread through all my different songs is me. I don’t know if a lot of people are doing that.”