Rocking women will step to the front on May 30 when Elle King headlines a show at The Granada Theatre in partnership with Girls Rock S.B. Joining King will be not only opener Barns Courtney but also some of the area’s best Girls Rock–grown musical talent, including Sofia Schuster, Jazara Hutton, Katy Caballero, Gianna Macioce, and Sophie Rose. The show coincides with King’s announcement that she will be joining the advisory board of Girls Rock S.B., the largest of the world’s Girls Rock networks.
King comes to town just months after the release of her most recent album, Shake the Spirit, a pop powerhouse written in the aftermath of a divorce. “It was the best therapy I could have ever had,” King said of her new album. Shake the Spirit carries on King’s rocking ways, with an air that’s both assured and reflective. “It’s very, very freeing; I really released a lot of darkness I was holding onto,” she said. “The beauty of it is people have felt a connection to it. Whether they’re going through a divorce, or mental health, or just anything that someone could be going through, that there’s someone out there singing about struggles, to understand people aren’t alone.”
King is a natural choice as an ambassador and advisor for the program, having experienced firsthand the importance of arts education as a teen. “I think young girls should see someone perform that maybe doesn’t look or sound like what society thinks people should sound like,” the famously rebellious King said. “Believe it or not, at one time in my life, I was a young teenage girl, and I started playing music when I went to a performing arts camp. It really shaped me, really sharpened a lot of my creativity skills.” The Granada show, she said, “is a cool way for me to get in touch with young girls and show them that it’s totally possible.”
A few of the performers, such as 2019 Teen Star Sofia Schuster, have grown to defy and redefine what is considered possible. Born with an umbilical cord strangulation, doctors predicted Schuster would never have a speaking, let alone singing, voice; now she can move audiences to tears with her singing and musicianship abilities. She credits Girls Rock as being instrumental to her growth. “I’ve grown vocally, and I’ve become a much stronger performer,” she said. “It’s taught me so much about learning to accept yourself for your flaws. Raising your self-esteem through music is one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned.”
Other performers, like her co-songwriter and performer Jazara Hutton, have learned through Girls Rock to shed the comparatively restrictive pains of fear and hesitation. “When I was younger, I had massive stage fright — it really hurt when I would sing,” she said. “This has made me more confident in who I am and what I sing and how I sing. It’s been a great opportunity and a great stepping stone for me.”
Hutton and Schuster will be performing an original song together, along with a lineup of Girls Rockers who will showcase their talents. Schuster lauded the choice for King as a Girls Rock advisor. “Elle is all about female empowerment and lifting girls up. The whole mission of Girls Rock is about building self-esteem, encouraging girls to be brave, not perfect.”
For performers new and veteran, it’s a night about hearing and raising women’s voices in a world that often orders them silent. “Find out what makes you you; take your individuality and let it shine,” King said as advice to young women performers. “The kinder, more loving, and more honest you are to yourself, the louder you can hear your own voice and the more your voice can be heard. It took me a long time, and if I could somehow get through to these young girls, maybe they could figure it sooner that I had to figure it out.”
4•1•1 | Goldenvoice presents Elle King Thursday, May 30, 7:30 p.m., at The Granada Theatre. Call (805) 899-2222 or see granadasb.org.