Bonnaroo 2013: Charli XCX Talks Songwriting Superstardom & Stateside Success

On her song of the summer:  “My song of the summer is probably [Justin Timberlake‘s] ‘Mirrors’. We play it all the time in the car — like when we leave a hotel we put it on. It’s the ultimate cinematic song — when it’s like [sings bit of instrumental] it’s like the end of any film. So, playing JT at the moment. I’ve also been obsessed with Tegan And Sara. That album is so good. It’s probably one of my favorite albums of the past five years. Every song is fucking amazing.”

On hitting the studio with Greg Kurstin:

“We worked together when I was 16, but I’m going back in with him to do some sessions for other artists. He is a genius, so I’m excited. He’s great. He’s brilliant.”

On collaborating with producers beyond her core team:  “To be honest, I’m very closed off when it comes to working with producers. I don’t really like experimenting with new people just because I’m very shy when it comes to sessions. I like keeping my ideas to myself. I wanna work with Ariel [Rechtshaid] on the next record. I’ve been working with Andrew Wyatt from Miike Snow recently, and he’s great, and we might do some stuff for the new album. But apart from that, I like keeping it small unless it’s features and stuff. I don’t really like expanding my field. I like to keep it small.”

On writing more songs for other artists:  “Yeah — since ‘I Love It,’ that’s been a real opportunity for me. I can’t say with whom, though. But I just signed a publishing deal with Tim Blacksmith, Stargate‘s manager. Their schedule is crazy. It’s not for myself — I don’t see myself making a record with Stargate — maybe we could with other artists. But I’m writing for some people that I’ve always wanted to write for. I’m really new to this world of writing for other artists. Like one day it’s like, ‘You’re getting the next single!’ and the next day you’re not even getting on the album. But it’s crazy and it’s cool and the shit that’s happening right now behind the scenes is really great. Hopefully by the end of this year I’ll have some hits with, like, three other artists. I can’t say who. I really want to tell everyone, but I can’t!”

On being a pop artist while maintaining her credibility:  “I think I can. With this album — I never wanted to write a hipster record. I’m grateful that Pitchfork liked what I do, but it’s a pop album. Even though it’s not a Top 40 pop album, I feel like maybe four years down the line this could be a Top 40 album. It’s just not where Top 40 music is at the moment. The aim is to write pop songs. I don’t want to compromise my artistry or my dignity: I’m gonna write pop music because the music that I write has a pop melody, but I’m not gonna do ito fucking Pitbull bullshit just to get a hit. But I feel like can do that for other people easily while I focus on making my weird pop record that might do something in a couple years’ time.”

On evolving as an artist:  “I feel like I evolved very naturally as a person. I feel like I’ve grown up while writing this album. Like when I was releasing stuff at the beginning I was 14, 15 — and now I’m 20, and I feel like I’ve just gone with it and grown as a person as well as an artist. It’s been very organic — and I hate when people say that because it makes it sound really unorganic. But it really has been that. Like, my label would be like, ‘Take some time out, finish school, finish whatever you wanna do, and just like grow up as a person.’ And that’s exactly what I’ve done.”

On the critical reception to her album, True Romance:  “I know like I shouldn’t care, but it’s my first album — it’s like my baby. I fucking cared. If I had read loads of terrible reviews, I probably would’ve locked myself in a room and cried and put a gun to my head. But luckily, that didn’t have to happen. I’ve read so many great reviews. I’m obviously really happy about that because I worked really hard on this album. It’s not something that I just fucking churned out with 50 different producers in 5 minutes. It’s something I’ve worked for 5 years on with a very select group of people. I’m really proud, actually. I feel like I deserve it as well, because I’ve worked really hard and a lot of people have doubted me, which I don’t really give a fuck about, but I’m happy and I really think it’s a great record.”

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