With a pair of magazine covers dropping the month, Charli XCX is blossoming into an undisputed pop star, and it’s like, what took so long? Her two monster hits–Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”–weren’t really hers, and ended up overshadowing True Romance, her stellar major label debut that was packed with dangerously addictive electro pop. But with her follow up, Sucker, set to drop next month, the 22 year old is finally set to break big. And if her stadium-sized new single “Gold Coins” is any indication, she’s about to make radio airwaves her utter and complete bitch. We caught up with the refreshing Ms. XCX to talk about the new album, her dream collaboration, and all sorts of other pop star-related goodies.
What’s the one thing no one really knows about living on a tour bus?
It’s like being on a rollercoaster. Literally, sometimes you get thrown out of bed. There’s also a constant flow of champagne but maybe that’s just on my tour bus.
When we met at the dinner to announce your TIGI partnership, you mentioned that you like your hair to look a little messy and disheveled. What are you into now?
Right now I’m actually really into finger curls and having it all over one shoulder in a very old school, Hollywood kind of way. It feels very glamorous.
What’s your favorite product from the line?
Definitely TIGI Bed Head After Party. It’s so easy to use and the bottle is super cool. I put it in my hair after washing to smooth down flyaways and then on next day hair for a little boost of shine and texture.
How would you describe your style now?
Half ’90s Barbie, half woke-up-in-a-wardrobe-at- a-house-party-the-next-day kind of vibe.
What’s your favorite way to get amped before a show?
Just to be with my band listening to T.A.T.U or Blink 182 or something.
The hooks for “I Love It” and “Fancy” were really how U.S. and international audiences got to know you. What was your reaction to it all? When did you first understand the amount of people playing those songs on repeat?
I first kind of noticed the songs were everywhere when I was travelling around a lot — that’s when I noticed the songs were all over the radio. And it was cool. My reaction was just like, ‘Oh, right, this is weird but I guess it means I get to do cool weird, stuff now — like play at the VMAs and dress up as a cheerleader with Iggy [Azalea], so I was definitely into it.
What was the hardest part about releasing your first album?
Working for like five years on it and then having not many people hear it because “I Love It” kind of dwarfed it and people only really wanted to ask me about that or get me to write songs that sounded like that. I really love True Romance. I’m so proud of that body of work.
What are you doing differently for the Sucker album?
I’ve really begun to not worry about what people think about me. I feel free with this album. I recorded it in a year. The whole thing was very quick and kind of just flowed of my tongue. I’m not trying to impress anyone with this record. I’m just doing my thing.
What influences you besides music when making a record?
For this record I was initially listening to a lot of ’60s YeYe pop to become inspired. I also listened to the Flying Lizards and The Ramones and Weezer, too. But mainly it’s music videos and movies that inspire my writing. For this record it was Robert Palmer music videos and movies like Josie and the Pussycats, Jawbreaker and Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains.
Your fan base is very varied, but you have a lot of young fans and you’re given letters, stuffed animals and the like at shows. Do you read them?
Yes, I read the letters. It’s so nice and inspiring that they write all of their feelings and dreams down and that they want to share this stuff with me. It’s really cool of them. I just want them to know it’s cool for them to be whoever the f*** they want to be. And they should live their lives the way they want to.
Who’s been the coolest person you’ve met or worked with thus far?
Eeeeee! There’s been a few people I can’t mention because I’m not allowed to. It’s obviously been amazing working with Iggy though. She’s so funny. And gracious. She reminds me of a ’50s Hollywood starlet. She has such class with everything she does. I respect her for that.
What’s next for you? What are your projects coming up?
I’m putting my album Sucker out in December in the US and then I’m opening for Katy Perry in Europe next year, which will be cool. There’s also a load of projects I’m working on behind the scenes, which I’m excited about.
Who would you love to work with that you haven’t yet?
Marc Bolan. But he’s dead.