Charli XCX

  • English dance-pop singer and songwriter born Charlotte Aitchison in 1992 in Cambridge England.
  • Aitchison enjoyed following the women pop stars of the 00s, and at the age of 14, she was writing her own music. In 2007, she asked her parents to loan her the money to record her first album, titled 14. The album was never released commercially, but in 2008 she began to post songs from the album onto her Myspace page. A promoter in London who was arranging rave dance parties discovered her and he invited her to perform at shows. She was billed as Charli XCX, as that was her name on MSN Messenger when she was younger. The XCX stood for Kiss Charli Kiss. In late 2008, she released two singles through an indie label – !Franchesckaar! and Emelline/Art Bitch. She commented afterward that this early music was awful.
  • In 2010, she was signed to a recording contract. Initially, she did not know what path to take – she claimed to hate pop music, she felt rave music was weird, and she wanted to make bad rap music. After meeting with an American record producer that worked with her label, she began to have a vision of her future, developing a electro-pop sound. In 2011, she released two singles – Stay Away and Nuclear Seasons – and she was the featured artist on a track by German DJ Alex Metric. While nothing charted, the music media began to notice her, earning her “Best New Track” status from the music website Pitchfork.
  • Now growing in confidence in her songwriting, she wrote a song titled I Love It, but she could not get the sound she wanted when she attempted to record it. Instead, the song was given to Swedish pop duo Icona Pop, who recorded it with Charli XCX as the featured artist. It was released in 2012, and it was the first hit for both artists, peaking at #7 on the Hot 100. A year after its release, it reached #1 on the UK chart.
  • The debut album for Charli XCX was released in 2013. Titled True Romance, it was comprised of songs that she had recorded over the previous two years. Nothing reached the charts, though it was well received by critics, who noted its catchy but dark songs. Her breakthrough came with the release of her Sucker album in late 2014. The song Boom Clap on the album also was featured in the soundtrack for the film The Fault In Our Stars – the song was a hit, reaching #8 on the Hot 100 and topping the Dance Airplay and Mainstream Top 40 charts in the U.S.
  • Also in 2014, she was the featured artist on Iggy Azalea’s breakthrough hit Fancy. Co-written by Charli XCX, it topped the Hot 100 chart for seven weeks, and it was ranked #4 for the year by Billboard. That year, she was the musical artist on an episode of Saturday Night Live. 
  • Between 2015 and 2017, she released two mixtapes and an EP titled Vroom Vroom. Music from these releases was described as “avant-pop” – dance pop songs that included experimental new sounds. In 2019, she released an album titled Charli and the following year she released How I’m Feeling Now. These albums expanded her development of electro-pop that became her signature sound when Vroom Vroom was released. Critics applauded her progression into these new styles, though there was not commercial success with these efforts.
  • Charli XCX is an artist who totally understands how to make a pop record, but lately she would rather push the boundaries of sound rather than deliver hit pop songs. We will see if that continues – in March 2021 she posted that she is working on her next album, and that it would be “POPTASTIC.” Here’s the video to her biggest hit as a lead artist, Boom Clap.

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