Charli XCX, real name Charlotte Emma Aitchison, is a rarity in the music industry.
Unlike other Brit hopefuls (the beauty was born and lives in Hertfordshire) she cracked the US market well before becoming a force to be reckoned with in the UK.
Charli (the XCX stands for “Kiss Charli Kiss” – her old MSN Messenger username) wrote and sang on the smash electropop hit ‘I Love It’ for the Scandinavian duo Icona Pop. The track sold more than 2.5 million copies in the US and was such an edgy and catchy song it became known as “the US soundtrack to summer.”
She also co-wrote and provided vocals for the Iggy Azalea track, ‘Fancy’ which sold 7 million copies worldwide and became 2014’s most streamed track on Spotify in the States.
Americans definitely got Charli XCX first. In May 2015, her breakthrough single ‘Boom Clap’ featured on the soundtrack to the US box office film ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ catapulted her to further superstardom. As a result she toured the US with her own headline show, “Girl Power”, and was awarded “Hit Maker of the Year” at the 9th Annual Billboard Women in Music Awards.
Not that the Brits and Europeans missed a trick here…they were soon to follow. Charli had a few years out partying in Brazil and dating a producer 11 years her senior. It was her time to “grow up” away from the media spotlight. It wasn’t until 2015 that the singer acknowledged her real calling.
“I realised that I just wanted to be a f***ing boss. I decided I didn’t have to choose between being an artist and being a songwriter and just started to do both. I felt ready to go and make songs and not feel worried about making a cool record or getting a hit. I just wanted to make songs that I really like.
“I figured out who I was; it took me ages but was so liberating and amazing. I think it’d be cool for young girls, especially, not to worry about what people think of them and not try to replicate what they think is the right thing to do.”
Despite being only the tender age of 25 now, Charli XCX has 4 albums under her well styled belt. Charli made her first album aged only 14, back in 2007, with money she was loaned from her parents – which she was quick to dismiss as an “experiment!”
To this day, she is slightly annoyed that her early tracks, including the strangely titled ‘I Wanna Be Darth Vadar’ and ‘Dinosaur Sex’ are still easily found online.
“I don’t count that as the beginning of my career. But whatever. Everyone did embarrassing s**t when they were 14. My mistakes are just live online for everyone to hear!” she admits.
However it was exactly this – and her successful My Space page – which alerted industry music moguls to the young, raw talent. Charli also interestingly used to perform at Warehouse raves in London when she was too young to even have a drink at them! She was briefly signed by Asylum Records in 2010 but Warner Music was the label that catapulted her to success.
Her second album, her first proper studio album signed as an artist, entitled ‘True Romance’ was released in 2013 and the third, ‘Sucker’ released the following year to critical acclain.
Charli XCX’s stock was starting to rise at home. She opened for Katy Perry on the European leg of her Prismatic World Tour and later headlined her own UK tour. She also featured alongside R&B artist Tinashe on rapper Ty Dolla Sign’s single ‘Drop That Kitty.’
So far this year she has launched her mixtape ‘Number 1 Angel’ in March to rave reviews but has said her new (as yet untitled) album originally scheduled for 2017 will not be out till early 2018. She has been working on her video for the first single ‘Boys’ which she also directed and stars a parade of preening male celebrities.
Whether you’re a fan of Charli XCX or not you have to admit she is a true all rounder; writer, lyricist, singer, dancer, director and she knows the direction she wants to head in. Whilst she was embarrassed about her pop heritage she has now firmly embraced it – and blends a perfect mix of electropop, breathy singing and clever lyrics to provide mass appeal in the US, Europe and now finally the UK.
You can catch Charli XCX on the Main Stage at MTV Gibraltar Calling on Saturday 2 September. Get your tickets for the event at www.gibraltarcalling.com