Elle King: 5 Things About Music's Rising Star
The bluesy rocker's debut album Love Stuff drops Tuesday
With a wail reminiscent of Janis Joplin, some bad tattoos (her words, not ours) and ample experience in both the brokenhearted and heartbreaking departments, Elle King roared onto the music scene three years ago.
She’s since performed on Letterman and toured with A-list acts. But up next? She’s releasing her debut LP, Love Stuff, on Tuesday.
The album’s a rowdy ride. And King, 25, owns the rocker chick image, attacking lyrics about everything from sex (on the lead single “Ex’s and Oh’s”) to vices (“Kocaine Karolina”) with a snarl in her voice.
Here’s five things to know about this star on the rise:
1. Shaggy played a small part in shaping her music career.
King grew up in rural Ohio and fell in with love retro rock and R&B because of her stepdad.
“He would show me these bands, and I would ask for a Shaggy CD. Don’t get me wrong, Shaggy is the jam. But my stepdad was like, ‘No, no, no, you’re not getting that. You’re going to listen to Blondie, you’re going to listen to the Runaways, you’re going to listen to Aretha Franklin,’ ” recalls King, who cites Otis Redding as a major influence on her own style. “Then I would listen to all the music he told me to, and I just felt it more.”
2. She’s got some famous friends and fans.
The singer is pals with rock royalty: Frances Bean Cobain, Hole frontwoman Courtney Love and Nirvana rocker Kurt Cobain’s daughter. The two met through mutual friends and support each other’s artistic endeavors.
“She’s such a good little soul. I love and adore her,” King says. “I have a really supportive, great group of friends, and we all push each other. They come to my shows, I go to their premieres, it’s wonderful.”
Cobain isn’t the only famous fan, though. Rapper Khia let King cover her hit “My Neck, My Back” on her 2012 EP.
“She reached out and told me I was a thug and that I was the only person she hadn’t sued for singing her song,” King says. “I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll take that as a compliment.’ ”
And she’s even wooed Adam Sandler‘s brood: “[He] has sent videos of his kids singing my songs. That’s pretty cute. Like, should you be letting your kids listen to my music?”
3. She’s Rob Schneider’s daughter!
The rocker happens to be the daughter of comedian Rob Schneider and even had a small role in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo – but she’s glad she grew up out of Hollywood’s spotlight.
“I’m really thankful because I saw a lot about this business, and I learned a lot of very important things by unfortunately watching my dad struggle with friends and people,” King says, noting she’s very careful of the company she keeps. “I don’t like people who are just takers.”
“I grew up barefoot, dirty, climbing trees. It made me appreciate things more,” she says. “I’m not doing this for money. Hell, I’m barely making any money. But it’s the most fun, and it’s what gives me joy in life.”
4. She’s toured with Ed Sheeran.
King says she learned two important lessons opening for the Grammy-nominated heartthrob: One being “that girls can fall in love with an English redhead,” and that “so long as you put on a good show, people will love you.”
5. She loves Dolly Parton.
Topping King’s list of prospective collaborators? None other than the Backwoods Barbie.
“My dream duet would be with Dolly Parton! She’s the queen, are you kidding me?” says King. “She wrote ‘9 to 5’ by smacking her nails back and forth and made a beat. And she wrote it in between takes of that movie.”
Not that Parton’s songwriting chops are the only thing King has her eye on.
“Have you seen her boobies?” she says. “I want Dolly Parton boobs!”
For more on King and her debut album, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday