Charli XCX, between underground delusions and commercial ambition

After having found her vocation by discovering, as a child, the hits of Britney Spears and the Spice Girls, the Englishwoman Charlotte Aitchison has become, under the name of Charli XCX, one of the singers symbols of the possible crossovers between pop obsessions and music sounds. ‘avant-garde. Although his fifth album, Crashreleased on March 18, moves away a little from hyperpop experiments to deploy a more heavily commercial artillery, the Londoner continues to distill what is needed of audacity in her tubesque frenzy.

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The profile that does not date from yesterday. “I became a singer for the love of pop, but I gave my first shows at raves when I was barely 15,” reminded us of the almost thirty-year-old, reached by telephone, on March 11, in Los Angeles. “This very liberated culture of club kids, electro DJs and the queer community made me want to connect the world of song to the creative energy of this environment. »

Child of the Internet generation, this daughter of a Scotsman and an Indian, who grew up in Uganda, weaved her first networks by posting her songs on Myspace. The one who takes as her artist name her MSN messaging nickname – Charli XCX – is noticed by production pygmalions for her early gift of “hook” and “topline”, these catchy refrains and melodies intended for hit factories. An efficiency that is first revealed in the service of a Swedish duo, Icona Pop, with the euphoric I Love It (189 million views on YouTube since 2012), then an Australian rapper, Iggy Azalea, whose phenomenal Fancy (over a billion views since 2014).

Intense quest for experiences

Despite some hit singles – boom clap, Break the Rules, Doing It –, his personal career struggled to stand out until his meeting with the English producer AG Cook, architect of a futuristic pop within his label PC Music. “When I first listened to these artists, I felt like I was hearing the sounds I had been trying to create since I was 15-16remembers the singer. I was finally finding people who understood that part of my brain. »

Then begins an intense quest for experiences alongside AG Cook, who has become its artistic director, and a hyperpop clique (Sophie, EasyFun, Troye Sivan, 100 Gecs, etc.) invited to stir up underground delusions and commercial ambition with her, in a series of cheeky albums: Charlie (2019), the mixtape Pop 2 (2017), How I’m Feeling Now (2020). The French musician, Nicolas Petitfrère, accomplice of PC Music under the name of Nömak, participated in several of these sessions. “Charli is a hyperactive hard workerhe testifies. If in her clips, she likes to play the pop star, she is above all an Englishwoman passionate about music, open to all proposals, even the most perched. »

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Charli XCX, between underground delusions and commercial ambition


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