The star of Charli XCX has been rocketing steadily upward ever since she released her breakthrough, first singles in 2011. In the time since, she has released two full-lengths, a mixtape, several EP’s and a plethora of singles which have dominated charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet 2017 is shaping up to be her biggest year yet, with the aforementioned mixtape – Number 1 Angel, a favorite of ours – and her viral smash of a music video “Boys” being among the year’s most-talked about releases.
And as her bubbly personality might indicate, Charli just cannot be slowed down. She is gearing up for the release of her third album proper, out either this year or early next, and is keeping herself busy with a variety of high-profile gigs. We caught up with Charli at one such event in London – at the adidas EQT Creator Studio – to discuss her roller coaster of a year, the genesis of her hugely successful collaboration with the label PC Music and her mum’s best advice.
So we’re here at the EQT Creator Studio, and you seem to wear a lot of adidas gear on your Instagram. Do you have a particular or favorite memory with adidas?
My favorite adidas memory… the first time I got my two-piece track suit and my slides and my adidas hat. I remember wearing it and being like, “This is the coolest I’ve ever looked in life.” You know? It’s the slides that do it, it’s the cherry on the cake. I remember feeling ‘okay, I’m at my ultimate comfortable cool and I can go into the studio and crush it and I’ll look cool no matter what I do.’ That’s my favorite adidas memory.
The “Boys” video has been a viral smash. Have you been surprised by its reception?
You know what, I knew that it was going to be quite a big thing just because there are so many guys in that video who people really love, and who people really warm to and are fans of. But I was surprised at how quickly it blew up. I guess I wasn’t expecting it to be on that kind of a scale. I worked really hard on it and I directed it all myself, I’m really proud of it. I’m happy that people are into it.
You and PC Music have developed one of the most exciting collaborations in pop music. How did you first cross paths?
I was actually on a Yung Lean forum. And he… someone on there, posted about Hannah Diamond and her song “Pink and Blue.” I got really into the song and I got really into her and realized that she’s actually a really good photographer. And we worked together a couple of times, she was photographing me for certain things. That’s how I got to know her, and through her I got to know AG [Cook]. We were messaging on Twitter and I called/emailed SOPHIE who came to a writing camp that I was doing in Sweden. Then we would all meet together and work together or go to parties and that’s kind of how I met those guys.
Is the song “Bounce” going to be on your album? I keep watching your performance on Kimmel on YouTube, praying that the studio version will come out soon!
The studio version will be out soon I think, yes. I don’t know if it’s going to be on my album or if it will be released in another kind of way, I’m unsure.
What’s essential to you?
Best friends, parties, and writing music.
Any nonessential stuff you would like to strip out of your life?
Just all the really, kind of obvious things. Bad people, although I don’t really think I have any bad people around. All the work shit that I don’t want to do. Really long plane journeys, but honestly I’m generally really happy with everything that’s going on in my world.
What has been one of the most unexpected things to happen to you this year?
Unexpected… I mean I expected it, but I turned 25. And I don’t feel like… whatever, age is just a number. I still feel very young and excited about life and everything. For the first time ever I began to take a look at life and really value it, and realize that there are so many things that I want to do; travel, I want to see the world. I travel for my job, but it’s really just travelling to a hotel room, sitting in the hotel room, doing press, and then you go somewhere else. Or you do a show and you go somewhere else. I realized that I want to take more time for myself and take more time to see the world and spend time with friends. That sounds so basic but I never really realized that before.
What’s an issue you think that not enough people are talking about or paying attention to? And what can be done about it?
The great thing about 2017 is that, because of the terrible political state that we’re in and that America is in, young people are so vocal at the moment about so many issues, from racism to LGBT rights to beyond. I feel like – especially when I look at my fan-base – people are so vocal about their opinions and so vocal about spreading love. That’s really important, and I think it’s really amazing that people are talking about that. I just want that to keep happening.
What’s the last good piece of advice that you’ve heard?
Well, I was just recently ill. I had tonsillitis. I’m better now, so don’t worry. And I spent a lot of time with my mom, which is really sweet, because I don’t really get to see her, but I just felt like a kid. She was like, ‘I think you need to take a week off every three months. You need to look after yourself, you need to slow down, you can’t just work and then burnout and then start again. You’ve got to look after yourself.’ That’s my good advice from her.
If you could take anyone in the world out for ice cream right now, who would it be and why?
I’m going to say, just because they’re here tonight, Mura Masa and Stefflon Don. They would be a good gang to have ice cream with, and I’d be interested to know their favorite flavors.
What’s your favorite flavor?
For more of our interviews, take a look at our chat and editorial with Junglepussy.
- Photography & Interview: Ravi Sidhu