To paraphrase a great book I once read: You may think you know Charli XCX, but you have no idea.
Wait, no -- that was MTV's "Diary."
Whatever, the point still stands. Over the past 18 months, MTV's latest Artist To Watch has broken into the mainstream thanks to features on Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" and Icona Pop's "I Love It" (which she co-wrote), followed by her own solo single on the "Fault In Our Stars" soundtrack, "Boom Clap."
Who She Is
Charli XCX was born Charlotte Emma Aitchison in the U.K. -- Stevenage in Hertfordshire, England to be exact.
She's 22 years old, and she's technically only released one album so far, 2013's True Romance. I say "technically" because her "real" first full length, 2008's 14, was a promotional LP recorded with the support of her parents in order to book gigs, and it was never officially made available anywhere. (Though you can definitely find the gnostic collection if you look in the right places...)
The point is that Charli was already recording albums and playing shows when she was only 14 years old, and what have I even done with my life yet even.
Ahem. Six years, one album, two mixtapes and three breakout hits later, Ms. XCX is readying Sucker, which is expected to drop on December 16.
Why You Should Listen To Her
Much like Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" video, Charli's "Break The Rules" combines a lot of teen-movie influences: "Carrie," "The Craft," "Jawbreaker." Rose McGowan, who played HBIC Courtney Shayne in the last of the three, even cameos. And much like McGowan's character, Charli XCX is here to kill the teen dream -- deal with it.
From her commanding onstage presence to her drunk-dialed voicemails left on a Complex writer's phone, she never comes off as some hyper-micromanaged pop star. Refreshing, right? Thank god her music is equally as awesome.
What You Should Listen To
Charli's real strength is in her versatility. She's at once a DGAF-attitude, bar-hopping rule-breaker and a pop-minded worshipper at the altar of Britney Spears (literally, more on that in a bit). And her songwriting reflects that.
In the mood for some anthemic '80s pop? Listen to "Boom Clap." Want some throwback '70s jam? "SuperLove" it is. Want something more in line with your punk sensibilities? Pick the Ramones-esque "London Queen." Want something harder? Charli's cover of Snuffed By The Yakuza's "Allergic To Love" then.
Rapid-fire Quick Facts OH MY GOD LET'S GO
Charli doesn't want to go to school. She just wants to break the rules. She did go to art school once: Slade School of Fine Art in London, where she reportedly built a shrine dedicated to Justin Bieber around which she performed Britney's "...Baby One More Time."
She left the next year.
She thinks Lorde is "highly intelligent" and "killing it." She really wants to braid Lorde's hair. She won't be told to brush her hair by some "30-year-old men who are bald." She thinks Britney Spears is punk. She thinks periods are punk. She wants to sell tampons that say "PERIODS ARE PUNK" as tour merch. Aaaaaaaand her fans call themselves "Charli's Angels."
Charli's got a lot of cool stuff happening on the horizon: On November 9, she'll return to the U.K. to perform live at the 2014 MTV EMA, and her new album, Sucker, will see release soon after on December 16. That means in approximately no time at all, you better be all caught up. You ready? GO.