A year ago, Charli XCX was best known as a songwriter, having co-penned Iggy Azalea's "Fancy," Icona Pop's "I Love It" and Detroit rapper Danny Brown's "Float On."
Now, however, the British singer us hip and hot in her own right thanks to her second album, "Sucker," which came out in December, and singles such as "Boom Clap," "Break the Rules" and the Rita Ora duet "Doing It." And that's just fine with her.
"I definitely say I'm more an artist than a songwriter, but songwriting is a very important part of my life and I do enjoy it," XCX, born Charlotte Atchison in Cambridge, England, says by phone. "I couldn't pick between being in the studio or being on stage. They're two very different things, but I'd definitely say I was more of an artist than a songwriter."
But, she adds, success in either venue "is pretty cool. I feel very honored and very excited that I have the opportunity to put my stamp on pop music right now, not only through my own songs but through other people. It's pretty cool."
Music was XCX's chosen career path since the 23-year-old saw Britney Spears' "Hit Me Baby One More Time" video when she was young. "That's when I was like, 'Wow, that looks fun. I want to be like Britney!'" She recalls. "I think that's when I knew I was interested." She did attend art college for a year but dropped out, mostly because "I was making a lot of music and just kind of skipping school all the time." Her first album, 2013's "True Romance," made only a modest impact, being involved with those other artists' hits and some improvement in her own craft but a decided buzz on "Sucker" even before its release.
"I feel like I was trying to be something I wasn't in some songs from ('True Romance')," XCX explains. "Even though it all came from me, I'm not sure it was totally honest form me, whereas with ('Sucker') I got to the point where I was like, 'I genuinely don't car what people think about me or say about me,' and it's a very refreshing realization.
"I think I've let that translate back to my music, so it's become more real and more honest. I've said things on this album I've been afraid to say before, but it just feels very naturally now."
XCX is currently working on her third album which she's described as more overtly pop and electronic in nature. And while she's focused on writing for herself these days, she promises that she's still open to being a go-to for other artists.
"It's all about a connection between me and the song," she explains. "If I'm writing a song and I see the music video while I'm writing it and I have a strong visual connection to the song, then it probably means I'm gonna end up keeping it if I can. If I don't feel that connection or see any kind of colors, then I'm gonna give it away.
"I can't say what, but there's some stuff that could be in the pipeline (for others) which I'm very excited about. You'll hear all about it when the time's right."
Charli XCX, Bleachers and Borns
Tuesday, Aug. 11. Doors open at 8 p.m.
Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.
Tickets are $45 and $30.
Call 313-961-5451 or visit www.livenation.com.
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