Cover feature Charli XCX: “I feel like an ice cube floating around in a sea of chill”
Say hello to the UK’s best new pop star.
Ever spotted a pop star? They’re pretty unmissable. Entourage in tow or not, they carry an aura on their person at all times, with star-shaped sprinkles orbiting around the edges. The people turning round and double-taking might not quite recognise them yet, but in a few months’ time they’ll see them again on tube adverts and hear their songs on every radio station. Casually strolling down one of London’s grey streets of taxi ranks and takeaway sandwich bars in a fairly impractical feathered gown and sunglasses, surrounded by a small, important-looking team, Charli XCX has created a stir of this exact variety. A city worker freezes, and then remembers he’s half way through taking a bite out of a baguette. A pair of tourists are frantically taking photos of her crossing the road, and they don’t really know why. Disappearing through a door in a way that seems somehow business-like and razzmatazz, Charli XCX is a pop star, alright.
It hasn’t always been this way, but with Charli XCX it has never been a question of if, but rather when. Most 14-year-old girls circa 2006 were busy frittering their pocket money away in Tammy Girl on diamante slogan t-shirts and camouflage trousers; Charli XCX was far too busy convincing her parents to give her a loan so that she could make an album. She did just that, and made ‘14’, along with her own record label, which she called Orgy in typical haughty style. All of a sudden Atlantic snapped her up. There were two mixtapes in 2012, with a Brooke Candy writer credit, and enough buzzy sampling to short circuit a bumblebee. There was her first major label studio album, too, the highly-glossed alt-pop world of ‘True Romance’. Charli XCX wrote and featured on ‘I Love It’, and Icona Pop made it one of the biggest songs of last summer. She wasn’t a pop star at that point, though, not on your nelly. By her standards, Charli XCX was just getting started.