Charlotte Emma Aitchison is born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, to Shameera and Jon Aitchison. Her mother is Ugandan Indian and her father is of Scottish origin. Her father is a club promoter and books acts like Bob Marley and the Wailers, and Siouxsie Sioux. She attends Bishop’s Strotford College.
My dad always encouraged me to be weird. I never really knew what that meant, but I think he meant, be yourself rather than follow a trend.
Charli performs at warehouse raves, wearing dayglo and pigtails and rapping about about dinosaur sex, liking chocolate mousse, and telling lies. Her parents attend the first party dressed as the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat:
That scene helped me become who I am today. But everybody in it is playing a game. It’s all about great outfits and glitter, being a name for a week and dropping off the face of the earth because you tragically died of a ketamine overdose in the bath.
Charli releases the album 14 after borrowing money from her parents for studio time. She distributes several copies to friends and fans but it is never released commercially.
I’m aware that when I talk about this in interviews I could come across as some spoiled rich kid who had Daddy’s money … My family is average. I didn’t have a crazy life as a kid.
She promotes the music off the album at warehouse parties:
My mum was, like, standing next to people taking f-ckloads of ketamine. Someone vomited on her shoes one time because they were in such a massive k-hole. And my mom looked after them.
Charli XCX signs with Atlantic Records.
When I got signed to my label, I suggested that maybe I should change my name to Charli X-rated C*** X-rated: they were freaking out, like, who did we sign?
XCX releases music on MySpace, including the tracks I Want To Be Darth Vader and !Francescka!:
(I) would write music in my bedroom, putting stuff up on MySpace under the Charli XCX name.
Aitchison attends University College of London’s Slade School of Fine Arts.
Charli releases the single Stay Away. On working with Rechtshaid on the track:
Ariel is a Napoleon Dynamite kind of figure. I’m kind of all over the place like, “We have to make it this! We have to make it that!,” getting all freaky weird excited. We’re quite chill in the studio.
I Love It by Icona Pop featuring Charli is released. Charli on giving the song to the Swedish duo:
I knew it might go to number one, and I didn’t want to know, so I went to the cinema with my mum to see World War Z.
Charli releases the EP You’re The One.
I was like, “No, this is who I want to be. I don’t want to be a pop star. I want to be a nursery-rhyme star!” … When I first started I was just listening to Ed Banger stuff [French Electro Record Label]: Uffie, Justice, Feadz. I wanted to white rap like Uffie. I still love Uffie. Then I started listening to other girls who rap like when Blondie raps in “Rapture.” I was like “Wow, this is pretty cool, too,” because they are basically pop songs, so I thought, “Cool, maybe I can do it a different way.”
Charli releases the Heartbreaks and Earthquakes mixtape featuring Blood Orange, Blood Diamonds, Paul White, Drake, Jai Paul, and Rudimental.
Charli releases the single You’re The One.
I like the whole laid-back rapping. I wish I could rap! I wish I could rap like Azealia Banks or Lil Wayne or someone like that… Twista. He’s super fast.
Charli confirms she has a form of synesthesia. For example, she can see music as colors.
For me, I’m not a very technical person. I can’t sit at Logic and make a track and I don’t know the terminology to do that. So, when I’m in the studio, I’ll be like, “Make it sound more like an ocean. Make it sound like blue with sparkles and dolphins” … I feel like to me, dubstep is like, the colours green and yellow and brown.
Charli releases the single Nuclear Seasons.
I don’t really know where our heads were at while we writing, kind of all over the place.
Charli releases the single You (Ha Ha Ha). On the 80s and 90s influences in the sound:
I’ve never been a person who has trolled through new music to find new shit. I’m not that person
Charli gives an interview to Pitchfork about movies, her favorite cereal and opening for Coldplay:
I actually gave my lucky My Little Pony to Chris Martin when we finished touring together, which I regret.
Charli releases the album True Romance.
I feel like throughout True Romance I was unsure of myself in terms of songwriting. Even though it was my voice, I feel there were a lot of other voices on that record, too. When I was growing up I was really worried about being cool. … Now I really don’t care what people think — I’ve made this album because it’s what comes naturally to me. I feel less afraid to say that now.
Charli releases the single Superlove:
It’s about running away and falling in love, basically. It’s seen as a bit cheesy to celebrate love but I just wanted to do that with this song.
Charli releases the Super Ultra mixtape featuring Brooke Candy, J£zus Million, Art of Noise, Giraffage, Sinjin Hawke, Baths, Jackson, How To Dress Well, and Jakwob.
Charli performs an acoustic version of the track for Perez Hilton:
Charli says she allowed Icona Pop to release the song I Love It because she saw the song as a color she disliked. On synesthesia (a condition where some people can experience one sense as another, such as seeing sounds):
I haven’t been diagnosed with it but people mention it to me a lot.
Island Records releases the single Fancy by Azalea featuring Charli. On the Clueless-inspired video:
When Iggy asked me to play Tai, I was like wow, that’s awesome … that video was crazy.
Charli and Iggy perform Fancy at the awards ceremony:
Charli and Iggy perform the single on Late Night:
Charli and Azalea perform the single for Good Morning America.
Charli and Iggy perform the track for Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Charli performs the track at the live stream event for The Fault In Our Stars.
Charli releases the single Boom Clap. The song is featured on the soundtrack for the film The Fault in Our Stars.
I’ve had that song for about a year, I wrote it with Patrick Berger
Charli releases the ASTR remix for the single from Sucker and The Fault In Our Stars soundtrack.
Charli gives an interview for New York Times T Magazine and talks about being compared to a young Madonna:
Madonna was someone who didn’t get put in a box. She changed and evolved. The second someone tries to put me in a box, I will do everything to rebel against that. One thing I don’t understand is how people want you to replicate your past successes. Being an artist should be about freedom and not just becoming one thing, because I think that’s terrible and boring.
Charli performs the single on Late Night With Seth Myers.
Charli performs a set at Sonos Studio that includes You’re The One, Take My Hand, Boom Clap and a cover of I Want Candy.
Charli and Azalea perform their song Fancy at Wembley Stadium for the Capital FM Summertime Ball.
Dates are announced for a 20-show Sucker tour, starting Sept. 26 in Orlando at The Social and finishing up in San Francisco at Slim’s on Oct. 25 after taking in New York, Montreal and Toronto, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, and other cities.
Oldman records a cover of the track for Capital FM.
Charli performs a live version for Transmitter.
Seacrest interviews Charli XCX during On Air With Ryan Seacrest and questions her on why she almost put ghost sounds on her album Sucker.
I was in Sweden in the countryside doing some recording for my record. There was this weird vibe in this house. It was actually this huge hotel we were staying in, kind of like The Shining. We had done some research and found out that there was a woman who had drowned herself in the lake outside the house when her husband had died in the 1900s. In this documentary, it said that she still lived in the house as a ghost. So we set up a microphone and left it recording all night and at about 5 or 6 a.m., we picked up this noise that was like, ‘Oooohhhhh.’ We pitched it up three octaves and it was a woman’s voice talking it was cool!
Charli performs the track at the MTV Awards event.
Rolling Stone spends time with Charli as she prepares for the MTV Video Music Awards performance, including being made up and preparing for the 40-minute set where she will walk off the stage, down a red carpet and onto a podium where drummers are playing. Charli:
I think it’s going to be fine. All the girls I’m performing with look so dope. It’s going to be cool. I’m just worried about if I’m going to fall.
Aeroplane adds a nu disco effect to the single.
Charli releases the single Break The Rules:
(It’s a) badass anthem for all the naughty people in the world.
Charli talks about her growing mainstream appeal, creating a Justin Bieber shrine at art school, eating fried chicken for breakfast and making the new album.
Part of the stuff that I do, the V.M.A.s and the events, is definitely a circus. I don’t care about belonging to it, not at all.
Club Killers remix the single, adding a synth line, trap bassline and staccato high hat.
Charli appears on the September cover and talks about writing Sucker in a hotel in Sweden, working with Rivers Cuomo and Rostam Batmanglij and whether she thinks the days are gone when sexism dictated the media profile of female pop stars:
I wish I could say yes, but I don’t think so. Maybe it is just a pop music thing, but I don’t feel like it’s changed. Now, more than ever, I get songs sent to me by people who think they should be writing my songs for me. In interviews, people are surprised when I say I wrote something myself. That is frustrating. They automatically assume I didn’t in the first place.
BBC Radio 1 selects Break The Rules as its track of the day:
Charli is nominated for Best New Artist and Best Push. MTV:
She’s fiercely committed to constantly evolving her sound so her music is never boring and predictable.
Charli announces that the release has been pushed back to Dec. 16 in the U.S. and Jan. 26 in the UK and Europe.
‘Boom Clap’ is still getting so much love all over the world, which is crazy, and it just makes sense, so I have proper time to focus on the album launch. The support I’ve received this year has been mind-blowing. As you know, I’ll also be supporting Katy Perry on her European arena tour in February!
Charli announces she is beginning the U.S. tour for the album. The tour is delayed from its original schedule so Charli could focus more on her album.
Boom Clap is still getting so much love all over the world, which is crazy, and it just makes sense, so I have proper time to focus on the album launch.
Charli debuts six new tracks at her show in Orlando, titled Sucker, Famous, Caught In The Middle, I Need Your Love, Money and Gold Coins.
Charli talks about Sucker in the magazine’s October ‘It Girl’ issue:
It’s punk-inspired. It’s definitely still a pop album, but there are moments where it is raw and wild. I’m commenting on the music industry, the female body, and money, whereas before I mainly spoke about love. This record definitely feels better informed.
Charli features on the October issue’s cover and talks about private jets, VMA parties and top 10 singles:
I feel like an ice cube floating around in a sea of chill. It’s not something that interests me. I really do just want to be in the studio or on tour all the time, and everything else is just beginning to freak me out. I guess that’s what being a pop star is, you know?