Charlie XCX at the House of Blues in San Diego over the summer. Issa Lozano, City Times.
Charlie XCX at the House of Blues in San Diego over the summer. Issa Lozano, City Times.

A pop star with substance

You’ve probably heard singer-songwriter Charli XCX’s Billboard number-one single “I Love It” with Icona Pop playing non-stop on major radio stations. With its catchy lyrics and infectious hook, it’s no wonder why it’s become a huge hit worldwide, also topping charts in the U.K.

“It’s kind of got this riot girl feel to it and it’s kind of blown up because it’s like shouting into a wall being completely crazy and craving for something else,” she said.

Charli isn’t just about catchy pop songs though and she’s strive to make a record with substance. Her new album “True Romance” is now out on IAMSOUND Records.

Her album is unlike any other pop record on the radio. There is no Dr. Lucas production or dubstep infused tracks like those that rule the charts today. It’s all real and emotional.

“I wanted to make a pop record with substance. You know?” she said. “An emotional pop album that will make people dance and cry. That is how I feel when I listen to it.”

She’s responding to the need for music that conveys true artistry and songwriting. She said “Fans are tired of being treated like idiots. They want more emotions in their songs, more than just ‘I’m in a club, I have a drink … strippers.’ People are crying out for that realness or some kind of emotion.”

Charli XCX is doing just that. She began writing songs and uploading them to her personal Myspace page at the age of 14 and the response was almost instant.

“I got a call from a guy running a lot of parties in London, a lot of club kid raves and he asked me if I wanted to play his events so I would drive up on the weekends or after school. It was kind of crazy but that’s how I started.” She signed to a label and dropped out of music school to produce her album.

Her decision paid off and we are left with an emotional album with lush undertones and dance pop production.

The album’s beats and danceable hits make their way through Charli’s work of heartbreak and exploration of romance.

“I was exploring what romance and love was and I feel like that’s why some of the songs are so pop but they have this lush, rich, darker production and some switch into an industrial feel and that’s because I was trying to figure out romance as I was growing up,” she said.

The album’s songs are full of love, hate, tragedy and longing. She claims it’s because of her ever changing idea on love itself and what really defines it.

“I think my conclusion was that true romance was like the moments when you feel super beautiful and you’re walking on clouds and you’re daydreaming and feeling so romantic and amazing but it’s also there when you’re crying and you’re alone and depressed and I think you can’t have one without the other. If it’s true romance, you have both.”

The 20-year-old shows no sign of stopping. From performing in an opening slot for Elie Goulding, Coldplay and most recently Marina & The Diamonds, her electrifying shows are not something to miss.

For more information on her U.S tour and “True Romance” visit

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A pop star with substance