Charli XCX

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Charli XCX
Charli XCX Live MTV Artist To Watch.JPG
Charli performing at the MTV Artist to Watch concert in August 2014
Background information
Birth name Charlotte Emma Aitchison
Born (1992-08-02) 2 August 1992 (age 22)
Stevenage, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active 2005–present

Charlotte Emma Aitchison[2][3] (born 2 August 1992),[4][5] better known by her stage name Charli XCX, is an English singer and songwriter.

She released two singles in 2008, "!Franchesckaar!", which is from her commercially unreleased debut album, 14; and "Emelline"/"Art Bitch". She was signed to This Is Music and IAMSOUND Records in 2010 before releasing three more singles, "Stay Away", "Nuclear Seasons" and "You're the One" from her debut EP, You're the One, which was released in June 2012. After a year-long delay, she released her debut major label studio album, True Romance, in April 2013.[6] She co-wrote and is featured on "I Love It" with Icona Pop and "Fancy" with Iggy Azalea, both of which achieved international success and brought her to international prominence. The release of "Boom Clap" gave Charli XCX her first top 10 hit as a solo artist on the Billboard Hot 100.

On 18 August 2014, Charli XCX announced the title of her upcoming second major-label studio album, Sucker, which would be released on 21 October. The second single was also premiered on her SoundCloud, titled "Break the Rules".[7]

Early life[edit]

Charli XCX was born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire to a Scottish father and Indian mother from Uganda.[8][9] She started writing songs when she was 14 years old.[3][10] She attended Bishop's Stortford College and left the school in 2010.[11] She has a form of synesthesia where she sees music in different colours. She states, "I see music in colours. I love music that's black, pink, purple or red - but I hate music that's green, yellow or brown."[12]


2008–11: Career beginnings; You're the One[edit]

Main article: You're the One (EP)

I started when I was 14 and I was putting my music online, and I was contacted by this guy Chaz in the UK, who was running a lot of illegal warehouse raves and shit like that. So I started playing at these raves and I became part of the scene, I suppose. I didn’t know whether I wanted to…well, actually, at the time when I was 14, I was like, “This is my life! This is all I want to do! I just want to play these raves and I want to take loads of drugs and get really fucked up and have no money and this be my life.” I came from a countryside town, where I’d never seen anything like that. I wasn’t living in London at that time and I was so in awe of this party scene. I was like, “I’m living in ‘Skins’! This is amazing!” I didn’t understand that it’s a very fickle world. So at the time, I just wanted to do that forever. I was like to my parents, “Mum, Dad, I’m going to live in a squat when I’m older and that’s going to be my life,” which is cool, you know. I was so sucked into that scene, though, when I was sixteen I thought, “OK, this is really bad for me, I need to take a step back and realise that it’s not actually that great.” It was once I stepped back, that’s when I realised I wanted to pursue music properly. Once I got out of that scene, I started writing proper songs instead of just gimmicky dance tracks. That’s when I started exploring different types of music and learning about the world, I guess.

— XCX on pursuing music.

At the age of 14, Charli began recording her debut album on a loan granted by her parents. In early 2008, she began posting songs from the album, as well as numerous other demos, on her official MySpace. This caught the attention of a man called Chaz, who was running numerous illegal warehouse raves in London, which became her first true gigs.[13] Despite the illicit nature of these gigs her parents were supportive of her career and attended several raves with her.[14] Two singles, "!Franchesckaar!" and double A-side "Emelline"/"Art Bitch", were released in late 2008 under Orgy Music. Charli's debut studio album, 14, featuring the former single, was never commercially released, although several promotional copies were issued and copies were given away at her earliest gigs.[15] After being signed to Asylum Records in 2010, she took a break from music in what she describes as a "lost" period.[16]

In May 2011, she released her first single in nearly three years, "Stay Away", followed by "Nuclear Seasons" in November, both produced by Ariel Rechtshaid and released exclusively in the United Kingdom. These singles gained attention from Pitchfork Media, where she gained Best New Track accolades for both tracks, with the former being ranked #35 on their Best Tracks of 2011 list.[17] In late 2011, a five-track promotional sampler of Aitchison's debut album surfaced. All tracks were early demos, including an early version of "You're the One", titled "In the Dark".[18] She also released two free mixtapes via SoundCloud, containing tracks by her female and male influences, the first titled Super Girls, SuperLove and the second titled I Like Boys Who Cry.[19] On 12 May 2012, she released her first original mixtape, titled Heartbreaks and Earthquakes, a one-track file consisting of eight songs, including "How Can I".[20] She supported Santigold and Coldplay on tour throughout summer.[21]

On 12 June 2012, Charli released her debut EP, entitled You're the One, which she worked with Patrik Berger, Ariel Rechtshaid and Todd Rundgren. The EP was released in the Australia under Warner Music,[22][23] United Kingdom under Asylum Records and Atlantic Records,[24] and United States under IAMSOUND Records, featuring "You're the One" and "Nuclear Seasons", as well as remixes of both tracks.[25] On 14 June, "You're the One" was released as her third single off the EP, along with the music video.[26] The song charted within the Billboard US Hot Singles Sales and Dance Singles Sales at number ten and five, respectively.[27] The EP was later released in September in the United Kingdom and Australia, the UK version featuring the title track and "So Far Away", as well as three remixes. The Australian version contained the title track, "Stay Away", and "Nuclear Seasons". The Australian edition was also the only version of the EP to be released physically on CD.[18] Her second original mixtape, Super Ultra was released exclusively through her website on 7 November 2012, featuring 8 separate tracks.[28]

2012–13: Breakthrough with True Romance[edit]

Charli toured and wrote a single with singer Marina and the Diamonds (pictured)

Charli co-wrote the song "I Love It", which would be later recorded by Icona Pop as well as becoming the breakthrough hit for the Swedish duo.[29] Member Caroline Hjelt described Charli XCX's original demo as "more cute, in a way…really cool and cocky".[30] It entered the Swedish Singles Chart the following month at number 48, and after two months on the chart, the song peaked at number two for three consecutive weeks. After its January 2013 appearance on an episode of Girls, the song performed better in digital downloads than it had upon initial release.[31] Ten days later it entered the Billboard Hot 100,[32] eventually climbing to number seven on the chart.[33] Charli performed the song for the first time with Icona Pop in April 2013, after seeing them back stage at a South by Southwest showcase where both acts were playing.[34]

Her second studio album and debut major label studio album, True Romance, was released on 12 April 2013. The album peaked at number eighty-five on the UK Albums Chart.[35] Charli XCX explained the meaning being the album's title: "Every corner of my own romantic history is explored on this record, so for me, it's very raw, it's very honest, and it's very true."[36] The album is named after Quentin Tarantino's 1993 film of the same name, which is sampled on "Velvet Dreaming" from the Super Ultra mixtape, also Charli revealed on her official Twitter account that there would be a deluxe edition of the album.[37] On 9 April, the standard edition of album became available to stream on Pitchfork Media in full.[38] The album failed to appear on any international main albums charts, but it did reach numbed five on the US Billboard Top Heatseekers and number eleven on the Australian Hitseekers Albums Chart, reaching the equivalent peak of number two hundred and five and number one hundred [and] eleven respectively.[39] The album was well received by music critics, with an average score of 76/100 on Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, indicating "generally favourable reviews".[40] As well as earning four of five stars from AllMusic.[41] In March 2013, Charli was named one of Fuse TV's 30 must-see artists at SXSW.[42] In support of the album's release, Charli embarked on a three-date UK promotional tour in April 2013.[36]

2013–present: International success and Sucker[edit]

Charli performing at Positivus Festival 2013

In June 2013, Charli confirmed she was working on her third album[43] and has worked with Weezer, John Hill, StarGate duo and Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend for her upcoming album.[44] In September 2013, Charli supported American rock band Paramore on the United Kingdom leg of their self-titled tour, spanning two dates at Wembley Arena. On December 2, the lead single of Charli's second major-label album, "SuperLove", was released with an accompanying music video.[45] Although the song was originally announced as the lead single from Charli's then-untitled second major-label studio album,[32] it will not be included on her upcoming album.[46] The single reached number sixty-two on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Charli's first solo entry on the chart.[47]

On February 17, 2014 (2014-02-17), Charli was featured with Australian recording artist Iggy Azalea in dance-pop and electro-hop number, "Fancy", which Charli co-wrote with Azalea.[48][49] On 4 March 2014, a music video was released for the song "Fancy," which Charli and Iggy Azalea worked on together.[50] In May 2014, "Fancy" hit the number one spot on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming both artists' first number one single on the chart.[51][52] The music video was heavily inspired by the film Clueless, with Azalea portraying Cher Horowitz (originally played by Alicia Silverstone) and Charli portraying Tai Frasier (originally played by Brittany Murphy).[53]

In May 2014, she contributed the song "Boom Clap" for the soundtrack to The Fault in Our Stars. The song was released as the album's first single and peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100,[54] it also charted within the UK Singles Chart at number 6,[47] as well as certifying Platinum in Australia.[55] In August 2014, Charli announced the title of her third studio album to be, Sucker, which would be released 21 October 2014.[56] The second single from the album, "Break The Rules", was released on August 18, with the music video featuring Rose McGowan was released on August 25.[57] In September 2014, Katy Perry announced that Charli will open the European shows on her "The Prismatic World Tour".[58]


Originally when I started, I was really influenced by the artists on Ed Banger like Justice, Uffie, Sebastian and people like that. Then I really got into hip-hop, original Eminem, and people like ASAP Rocky Micky Bianco. I’ve also always liked pop music like Britney and the Spice Girls. I kind of wanted to blend all of that together and have a prominent base through all of my songs because I came from the club scene, and even though I write pop music, I wanted that to be there and have these hip-hop beats but a Bjork-esque, ethereal magic over all of it. I feel like that’s what the record is like: magical, ethereal, gangsta pop.

— XCX, on her musical influences.[59]

Charli's music has been compared to the music of the 1980s with "the spookiness of Siouxsie Sioux" or "flawless early-Madonna".[60] Her influences include Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Spice Girls, Kate Bush, Uffie, Brooke Candy, Lil Wayne and Quentin Tarantino.[61][62][63] For her third solo album project, she listed The Hives, Weezer and Ramones as influences.[64] Various sources have listed her as goth pop or dark pop.[65]

According to Charli the XCX does not explicitly stand for anything and just represents everything she has done so far.[14] She chose the name because she thought "it looked cool and sounded catchy".[14] Upon signing to her label however she noted that it could stand for "X rated Content".[14]


Awards and nominations[edit]

As lead artist[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2014 Teen Choice Awards Choice Music: Love Song "Boom Clap" Nominated
Video Music Awards Artist to Watch

As featured artist[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2013 Teen Choice Awards Choice Single: Group "I Love It" (with Icona Pop) Nominated
2014 Billboard Music Awards Top Dance/Electronic Song
iHeartRadio Music Awards Best Lyrics
SESAC Pop Awards[66] Songwriter of the Year Won
Song of the Year
Much Music Video Awards International Video of the Year – Artist "Fancy" (with Iggy Azalea) Nominated
World Music Awards World's Best Song
World's Best Video
Billboard Mid-Year Music Award Favorite No. 1 Hot 100 Song Won
Best Music Video
We Love Pop Awards Best Summer Anthem Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Video of The Year
Best Female Video
Best Art Direction
Best Pop Video


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  58. ^ "💘EUROPE!💘 @charli_xcx is going to get prismatic with us next February & March! Excited to welcome her to #ThePrismaticWorldTour!". September 4, 2014. 
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  66. ^ SESAC Hosts 18th Annual Pop Awards, Charli XCX Named Songwriter of the Year

External links[edit]