Rising pop star has worked with producers like Ariel Rechtshaid and Clams Casino.
Charlotte Aitchison didn't listen to Top 40 when she was first exploring her musical interests in her early teens. Instead, the Hertfordshire, England native better known as Charli XCX was rummaging through CD crates for punk CDs and wearing defiant outfits to school -- "five belts instead of one," she recalls -- in order to demonstrate her overall rebelliousness.
"I was a massive fan of Siouxsie and the Banshees, and I also bought loads of like really rubbish punk compilation CDs, and [albums] from bands like Sham 69 and the Vibrators," the U.K. singer tells Billboard. "I was really into that for a period of time because I loved that whole spirit that punk was about… I've just always liked that 'break free' kind of thing."
Fast forward a half-decade, and the 20-year-old Charli XCX has morphed into one of the most promising new talents in pop music, all while maintaining a decidedly punk attitude. For instance, "You (Ha Ha Ha)," her latest single released earlier this month, is a deliriously catchy piece of bubblegum, but with a music video that features the singer wearing a spiked collar and traipsing around a weapons factory. After months of blog hype due to killer solo singles like "Nuclear Seasons," "Stay Away" and "You're The One," as well as a featured spot on Icona Pop's single "I Love It" (which has sold 71,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan), Charli XCX will release her debut album in "April or May," and hopes to breach the mainstream pop scene in the States -- while still frequenting punk shows in Chinatown, as she did during her last visit to New York City.