Elle King On How Country Music Allowed Her To Reconnect With Her Roots In Latest Album, ‘Come Get Your Wife’
This project features fan-favorites like “Try Jesus,” “Tulsa,” “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home,” and more.
Elle King; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Before Elle King was collaborating with some of the biggest names in country music and letting her true self shine, she was working as an artist in the pop and rock side of the industry. However, this was leading her down a path to great unhappiness. After a series of successful duets with Miranda Lambert on “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home),” and Dierks Bentley on “Different For Girls,” King’s spark was rekindled and she was propelled towards a new journey in Nashville.
With her latest full-length album titled, Come Get Your Wife, King is leaning heavily into her country music influences and putting a whole new side of her life on display.
Returning To Her Roots
She starts the project off by re-introducing herself to her audience with a trip back to her home state, “Ohio.” This is a major step for King because of the fact that this is a story she felt she couldn’t tell in the past.
“In the pop and in the rock world, if your family is from Southern Ohio, you kind of get judged. And I had my own things that I was dealing with, and it wasn’t until I started making country music that it actually made me closer to my family in Ohio,” King told Country Now. “It made me understand people in Ohio because I was connecting with the fans, and the fans reminded me of my brother, my sister, and my uncle, you know, my niece and nephews.”
The “Ex’s & Oh’s” singer is the daughter of her famous actor and comedian dad, Rob Schneider, and her mother, London King, who worked as a model for companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Victoria’s Secret. King was born in California but spent the majority of her childhood in southern Ohio.
While opening up about her upbringing, the singer/songwriter explained that until she branched out into country music, she felt as though she had to keep a tight lip about the truth behind her life.
A Love Letter To Country Music
“If anybody was wondering, ‘why would Elle King make a country record?’ Well, I said, ‘okay, I’ll tell you. Just start with the first song.’ So that’s why I wrote ‘Ohio,’ because I’m sharing where I come from, what I love about country music and it’s also my love letter.”
This project as a whole has given King the opportunity to embrace a newfound freedom through the natural rasp of her diverse vocals that is responsible for pulling in more and more listeners over the years. The difference with this set of music is the direct connection she makes with the twang of a banjo and the raw storytelling that makes up country music.
“Country Music Changed Me”
“I’ve been hearing other artists say, ‘country music changed my life,’ and like, country music changed me. What happened when I started singing in these country arenas or small clubs or singing for country radio, is I felt comfortable. And that’s something that I’ve never felt. So when I went into the record-making process, I was like, my walls are just already down. Let me share why I connect with you and because you guys have given me this openness, let me then open myself up more and share about myself.”
“So that’s why I wanted to start the record off with that because it’s the first time I’m really sharing about a part of me that I’ve kept kind of really private, just out of deep protection,” she said in reference to the leading track. “You know, in the pop in the rock world, people could be mean. Now, I’m at a place where I say on stage, ‘I’m from Ohio,’ and people go, ‘yeah!’ It’s just a different experience.”
So far, the response to Come Get Your Wife has far exceeded King’s expectations. She went into the process with confidence, and the fans have only continued to prove that she deserves a spot in this genre.
“It’s pretty cool. They’re listening to it from start to finish, and I didn’t always feel that in the pop and the rock world. That’s why I say that country fans are really like in a league of their own. They’re just very loyal.”
Instead of holding her breath and counting her blessings that listeners would connect with even just a few songs, she felt a weight lifted off her shoulders. The songs she had been working so hard on and the stories she had been waiting to share have finally come to light through tracks like “Bonafide,” “Try Jesus,” “Lucky,” and more.
“This was also the first record that I wasn’t like pacing back and forth like, ‘are they gonna like it? What’s the world gonna think of it? They’re gonna hate me. They’re gonna see the real me and they’re gonna know that I’m a sensitive loser.’ And this country record, I felt like I was geared up and ready to go. Like I couldn’t wait to put it out.”
In support of the album, King is currently in the midst of her headlining A-Freakin-Men Tour.
“What’s so incredible is this tour is absolutely blowing my mind because every night, you know, I never know really what I’m walking out into,” she said before adding, “I feel the response has been really fun and awesome and even though I’m much more tired and road worn at this age, it’s definitely some of the most fun and most memorable shows that I’ve ever played.”
This stint of shows, while challenging at times, has become a dream come true because of the fans she’s encountered, and the close-knit family life she’s able to have on the road.
“I actually have never had as much fun as I do on the road than having with my baby because this is what I’ve always dreamt of having and something that I never thought that I could achieve,” she shared.
Feeling At Home In Country Music
Bentley has actually played a major role in showing King that being a successful artist doesn’t mean having to give up her family. Instead of being gone for months at a time, she gets to bring along her son, Lucky Levi, who she welcomed into the world with her with her partner Dan Tooker on September 1, 2021.
“That’s what country is and that’s what country showed me when Dierks first started bringing me back around. I saw that, and it was this thing that I didn’t understand. I said, ‘what is that?’ I said, ‘f**k, they’re happy,” she explained. “They have families, and their families are around, and that’s what I wanted and I said, ‘I’ll do anything to get that.’”
Even when there are a few bumps along the way, King knows that she has her bandmates, her family and her supportive listeners to help her get through any obstacles that may come their way.
“We get sick on tour, every once in a while, we have a show that’s kind of rough or something goes wrong, but it’s a really happy time and I wouldn’t have this kind of joy if it weren’t for country music. I know other people are saying it too, there’s a reason why everybody wants to come to country. It’s cause they see behind this curtain and I’m like, ‘what is that? Oh my gosh, people are rooting for each other.’ It’s beautiful and I just love it. So the album has changed my life and this tour is like just so insane.”
King x Bentley
Once Elle King wraps up this tour on March 25, she will join Bentley out on the road in support of his Gravel & Gold Tour. This stint of shows is another dream come true for King, as she has looked up to her friend Bentley since they first got to collaborate on their chart-topping single, “Different For Girls.” This 2016 tune went on to be nominated for a GRAMMY award and earned the title of CMA Best Vocal Event of the Year.
Recently, they got back into the studio together to record “Worth A Shot,” which now lives as a track on King’s new album.
Dierks Bentley’s upcoming trek will kick off on June 1 in Toronto, ON and will include stops in Illinois, Florida, California, and more before coming to a close on August 26 in Auburn, WA. Elle King is slated to open for Bentley on June 16-17 in North Carolina.
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.