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Spiritual, forthright and gritty, Elle King is the uncut version of a pop-star. A belter, expert writer, and multi-instrumentalist, King’s soul has wrangled itself free through her musical body and mind. She’s an electric performer, showing every melody on her face and tracing the lines with her fingers. In her newest deliverance, Elle King: In Isolation, King is in her natural state: acoustic.


Elle King: In Isolation is a mysterious walk through the woods of fear, isolation, and hope. It begs the listener to dig deeper, as she has, and to replace the old with the new. Choosing songs that began as incomplete thoughts or starting from scratch, the EP features a new King without the flair of mainstream production.

“There have been times where I’ve started a song and I forget about it…then I have to go through a situation and the thought is complete. I went back and listened to all the songs I recorded on my cell phone in a closet or a bathroom. In that rawness and in that vulnerability, it’s me going back to my roots.”

King got her start playing on the streets of Philadelphia and New York City, which ultimately landed her a pub deal. After earning billions of streams for her breakout single ‘Ex’s & Oh’s’ and releasing two full lengths, her three song EP comes as a river to wipe the slate clean. ‘The Let Go’ was co-written by Elle King with Daniel Omelio and Nick Long, ‘Over Easy’ was produced by Elle and co-written over Zoom with Madi Diaz and Jessica Maros, and ‘The Only One’, a gorgeous piano ballad, was written and produced by King herself.

King describes the trilogy of her releases, and why it’s culminated in a charged restart. “My first record [Love Stuff] was everything up to that point. Shake The Spirit, I was like losing my mind…’I gotta make rock and roll because I have all this shit in me, I gotta release it!’ Now, I feel very new…and I tried to push myself creatively. I’ve got two nieces and a nephew here, and I tell them this is the summer of pushing ourselves so we can be the best versions of ourselves. I’m still really proud of Shake The Spirit. All these experiences have shoved me into who I am. I really wouldn’t change a thing.”

‘The Let Go’ is King’s favorite on the album, and shows a composed, matured side of the singer. It stands out on the EP in that it’s both introspective and colossal. The verses take you to those woods of stillness where you might just listen for a moment, to yourself or whatever is coming your way. But King’s chorus is like thunder; it wakes you up in the middle of the night with a mantra that drums the message in over and over again.

Whatever it is in your life that you don’t want to carry with you, you can’t just drop it…you have to work through it. We have to let go of these ideas, the things that are ingrained in us, we have to embrace something new; when we let go of something, what newness are we going to fill it with, what goodness, what light are we gonna put back in that hole?”

King’s EP serves as a direct metaphor on both a personal and global level. When the world was forced inside to shelter in place, it was as if someone hit the breaks and all the junk in the backseat came flying into the windshield. We’ve been given a remarkable opportunity to rid ourselves of any blockages and reframe our ways of thinking. For many of us, it’s caused a major earthquake in how we see ourselves as well as the world.

“I don’t want to think just about me anymore. I want to think globally, and universally. That’s why all this change happening in the world…it’s a lot but I’m fucking here for it. I want to see change in the world. Everyone has this opportunity right now to learn. I can only speak for myself but I see change in motion.”

King continues: “I am here for the movement, I wanna be a part of it. I wanna be super open to learning, and I wanna change. I think for us to change is to give those voices a bigger platform and to put the fucking megaphone in front of their mouths for them to teach us how we can be different.”

“My sister and her kids had a really incredible moment. She took a wrong turn, and [drove] through a massive mob of peaceful protesters. She rolled down the windows and they were high fiving the kids, they were explaining to the kids what they were fighting for. My niece who is nine, was crying and was like ‘I love you, I believe in what you’re fighting for.’ For my sister to have that incredible moment as a mother, to share that experience of such a huge, massive change of what’s happening in our country, for them to have that is so so so beautiful because this is very impactful, because it is changing things.”

At the end of our conversation, we both had tears in our eyes and felt refreshed. I asked her what I’ve been asking everyone lately, to complete this sentence: “What the world needs now is…?”

“Love, sweet motherfucking love baby. Rue Paul says it the best – if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you possibly gonna love somebody else? And so the whole journey really does have to begin within yourself. It takes a lot of bravery to push forward through that. What is the new normal? What is it? How are you gonna love yourself? How are you gonna get things out of your system and shake it off of your fucking spirit? And everyone has a choice. So I hope people are feeling. Because I’d rather feel something than feel nothing. Even if it’s pain because that’s beautiful too.”



photo / Corey Bost

story / Ariana Tibi

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