Billboard Women in Music Honoree Charli XCX: ‘I'll Give Jay Z a Run for His Money’

Austin Hargrave
Charli XCX photographed on May 18, 2014 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The Billboard Women in Music Hitmaker honoree talks about building her own empire to rival the hip-hop star's and her hit-making streak.

"This time last year I just wanted to move on from 'I Love It,'" says Charli XCX, referring to the mega-smash she wrote and regifted to Swedish duo Icona Pop in 2012. "I had just begun to write for other people. I wanted to focus on that, and make a really great record in Sweden -- a punk record." Since then, the British 22-year-old has solidified her reputation as a glamorous and outspoken pop polymath, collaborating on another huge hit for another big star (Iggy Azalea's "Fancy"); securing her first Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 solo single with "Boom Clap," from the soundtrack to The Fault in Our Stars; and completing work on her riotous new album, Sucker, out this month.

Billboard Cover: Charli XCX on the Pop-Music ‘Machine,’ Girl Power and Her ‘Raw’ New Album

But already, Charli is on to the next thing. "I just really want to be in the studio and make the next record and listen to loads of J-pop and go to Japan."

Charli XCX: The Billboard Cover Shoot

THE YEAR IN BIG THINGS
"'Fancy' doing so well was a big thing. 'Boom Clap' was kind of a big thing. But my favorite thing was that I was stuck in a lightning storm in El Paso [Texas]. There were so many of us in this car that my friend actually sat in the trunk. It was just flat land everywhere, the sky was just huge, and the lightning was just happening all around us. It was really amazing."

Women in Music 2014: See All the Coverage

THE NEW FEMININE ARCHETYPE
"The idea of the female icon is diversifying so much. There are different types of heroines now, and that's really good. It shows people that there's not just one way to be a woman. And it's really important for young girls: It's not just about being a puppet -- it's about having an identity and a personality. If you don't have that, then what's the point?"

Hear Charli XCX's Ramones-Inspired New Song 'London Queen'

EMPIRE STATE OF MIND
"I want to have an empire, with a publishing company and a label, but not a bullshit one that just has a party every week. An actual one. A serious one. I'll give Jay Z a run for his money."

Charli XCX's 'Break the Rules' Video: Watch The 'Boom Clap' Star Defy Rose McGowan

2014 HIGHLIGHTS
Scored her first Hot 100 No. 1 as a solo artist with "Boom Clap."

Spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 with "Fancy."

Appeared on The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack.

Started watching Game of Thrones: "I just want to talk about dragons all the time."

This article first appeared in the Dec. 13 issue of Billboard.