Charli XCX On Guilty Pleasures & Taking Over The World
Charli XCX stars in our music issue shot by Chuck Grant, previous cover girl Lana Del Rey’s sister. Charli had a breakout moment last year, and she’s bringing that same momentum into 2015. A co-nominee for two awards at the Grammy’s this month, Charli’s unique style and even more incredible voice are forces to be reckoned with in music, pop and otherwise. She is an authentic spirit who is clear about one thing: she is not about the bullshit. After speaking with her about guilty pleasures, her favorite Spice Girl, and starting her own label, it became clear that Charli XCX wont settle for anything but world domination.
There are so many strong women in music today, what’s it like to join such an empowered community?
Obviously it’s amazing. There’s a real unity within women in music right now. You can see it by how many collaborations are happening. It’s cool.
Who do you look up to?
I’m not really sure. When I was younger it was like Shampoo and the Spice Girls and stuff. Now I don’t really have a role model or anything like that. I find it’s better to just walk your own path.
What spice girl did you identify with growing up?
Baby. In my mind she was my best friend. I loved everything she wore and I wanted to dye my hair so badly to look like her when I was younger. Now I feel like I identify more with Geri.
You wore Jeremy Scott to the MTV awards and took him as your date, would you say he is your favorite designer?
He’s definitely one of them. He’s just such a visionary. I really hate the phrase “puts the fun into fashion” but he really does, and in such a wild, punk way. He is wonderful. I never know what he’s going to do next.
How would you define your sense of style?
It’s definitely 90s inspired. Sexy and cute and bubblegum but evil at the same time.
Would you ever want to collab with a designer on a collection or start a brand like many musician have done in the past like Gwen Stefani LAMB ?
Yes I would love to do something like that. Starting a brand would be amazing. But right now I’m focusing on music. I’m managing artists and want to set up my publishing company and record label before I move into another realm like that. But yes eventually for sure.
What perfume do you wear?
This is like my favourite question ever. I have a lot of Justin Bieber perfume which my fans always give me. It’s super sweet smelling. My friend also bought me a perfume box set of Disney princess scents so sometimes I smell like Snow White, sometimes like Cinderella, sometimes like Ariel. But my favourite right now is Toy by Moschino.
What initiated your interest in music?
I think it was when I saw the video for “…Baby One More Time” and I freaked out. I was like “ahhhh Britney’s so cool!” But I really started making music when I was 14 and had gotten into Ed Banger and all their releases. I wanted to make French electro. I tried replicating it and totally failed but I guess that’s where I started figuring out my own sound instead.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I don’t think I have any. All the things that I love are technically “guilty pleasures” but I don’t see it that way. t.A.T.u. for example. They’re just incredible!
Lana Del Rey’s sister shot you for this Galore shoot. How was it working with her and are you a fan of Lana’s music as well?
Chuck was amazing. I really liked working with her. She was very soothing to be around which is always so nice in a photographer. And yes I think Lana is one of the greatest pop masterminds of my time.
Madonna or Beyonce?
Can you even compare?!
Do you ever get frustrated when people bring up your age, in terms of your ability and longevity?
I feel like that happened when I was younger but now I don’t think I’m even really considered that “young” by music industry standards even though I’m only 22. It used to annoy me when I was younger because I suppose it just felt like people were always doubting me or waiting for me to f*** up and kind of scared and intimidated by the ideas I have. That happens sometimes still – but I know how to get what I want and I love proving people wrong. So it’s something I can handle.
How has it been crossing over to US audiences? Was it easier or harder than you thought it would be?
It’s been easier. I genuinely love being in the US. I’ve always felt more accepted over here which is funny when I come from the UK. But the two places are so different. The UK is where my heart’s at for sure but I do love performing out here.
“Boom Clap” catapulted your career in the last year, when your worked on that song in the studio, did you know that this was THE song that would do that?
(laughs) I never know about things like that. I kind of think it’s impossible to. The music industry is all so ridiculous. There’s so much chance and luck and fate involved in creating a big song these days. I just make the music I want to make and see what happens you know. I can never recognize a hit because I’m not a psycho about it. I just know the songs I think sound cool.
What is one thing that has happened on the road that you wouldn’t want your parents to know about?
My parents love to read my press so I won’t say it here but it involved New York and a virtual trip to Jupiter.
What’s next for XCX?
New videos, new tours, world domination.