Charli xcx

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About Charli xcx

Charli xcx’s creative drive and willingness to take risks has made her one of the most enthralling pop artists of her era. Whether she’s penning defiantly joyous singles like “Boom Clap” or exploring her glitchier, chaotic side on “Vroom Vroom,” Charli’s success comes from her work both in and out of pop music’s formulaic lane. Born Charlotte Aitchison in 1992 in Cambridge, England, to Scottish and Gujarati Indian parents, she took up songwriting at 14, lifting her stage name from her instant messenger handle. On the strength of her MySpace uploads and performances at London raves, she landed a record deal at 18, released the modestly successful darkwave cuts “Stay Away” and “Nuclear Seasons,” and then hit the big time with 2012’s kiss-off anthem “I Love It.” Originally scrapped from her own album for being too poppy, the beat-pounding re-recording by Swedish duo Icona Pop quickly became a worldwide dance-floor favorite. Her goth-tinged debut album, 2013’s True Romance, and tracks like the psychedelic, Gold Panda-sampling “You (Ha Ha Ha)” soon positioned Charli as the missing link between Grimes’ freak scene, Lorde’s dark melodies, and Carly Rae Jepsen’s sweetness. But while that album and its follow-up, 2014’s synth-poppy Sucker, brought Charli a few steps closer to mainstream approval, she found more creative freedom among the esoteric, hyperpop wilds of 2016’s Vroom Vroom EP and 2017’s twin mixtapes, Number 1 Angel and Pop 2. While stardom eluded her, Charli built a track record as a prolific songwriter and collaborator, penning standard pop hits for Iggy Azalea (“Fancy”) and Selena Gomez (“Same Old Love”), and working with the likes of Lil Yachty, David Guetta, and BTS. Yet Charli shines brightest when she’s illuminating, breaking down, and even critiquing the industry that gives her acclaim. In 2020, a year after the release of her eclectic, star-studded third album, Charli, she released the intimate how i’m feeling now, an album written in six weeks during the pandemic with input from fans alongside extensive, real-time video diaries and notes. Two years later, she experimented with the act of selling out on her fourth album, CRASH, using her major record label’s A&R expertise to write the mainstream pop record she’d always been afraid to release. That album’s success, coupled with a prominent feature (“Speed Drive”) on 2023’s blockbuster Barbie soundtrack, brought Charli closer than ever to worldwide appeal. But her response was to turn back to the sounds that inspired her to make music in the first place. Her 2024 album, BRAT, is a homage to those riotous, sweaty London clubs of her youth, and an introspective—if not slightly ironic—look at her pop music journey, one riddled with head-empty euphoria (“Club classics”), dominating swagger (“Von dutch”), and somber sentimentality (“I think about it all the time”).

Great Britain
August 2, 1992
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