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Charlotte Emma Aitchison
2 August 1992
Charlotte Emma Aitchison was born on 2 August 1992, in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, to a Scottish father, Jon Aitchison, and a Gujarati Indian mother, Shameera, who is originally from Uganda. Her father is an entrepreneur and former show-booker and her mother is a former nurse and flight attendant. Aitchison grew up in Start Hill, near Bishop's Stortford, and attended Bishop's Stortford College, though she left the school in 2010. She also studied at UCL's Slade School of Fine Art in London, but left during the second year of her degree course.
Aitchison started writing songs when she was 14 years old and began recording an album on a loan granted by her parents. In early 2008, she began posting songs from the album, as well as numerous other demos, on her official MySpace page. This caught the attention of a promoter running numerous illegal warehouse raves and parties in east London, who invited her to perform. Aitchison was billed on flyers under the stage name Charli XCX, her MSN Messenger display name when she was younger. Despite the illicit nature of the gigs, her parents were supportive of her career and attended several raves with her. She released two singles, "!Franchesckaar!" and double A-side "Emelline"/"Art Bitch", in late 2008 under Orgy Music. The album she recorded at this time, 14 (which features the former single), was never commercially released, although several promotional copies were issued and copies were given away at her earliest gigs. After being signed to Asylum Records in 2010, she took a break from music in what she describes as a "lost" period.
Early in 2011, Alex Metric released the single "End of the World" which featured her vocals. When the song appeared on BBC's Radio One, her age, success and relative obscurity were regularly marveled. In May 2011, she released the single "Stay Away", followed by "Nuclear Seasons" in November. Both tracks were produced by Ariel Rechtshaid and released exclusively in the United Kingdom. The singles gained attention from music website Pitchfork Media, where she earned "Best New Track" accolades for both; the former was eventually named to the site's Best Tracks of 2011 list. In May 2012, XCX released her first mixtape, Heartbreaks and Earthquakes, a one-track file consisting of eight songs. She supported Santigold and Coldplay on tour during that year. Her second original mixtape, Super Ultra, was released exclusively through her website in November 2012.
XCX co-wrote and contributed vocals to the 2012 single "I Love It", which was recorded by Swedish pop duo Icona Pop and became a breakthrough hit for both acts in 2013 after her newfound relationship with Joey Tuzak. The song entered the US Billboard Hot 100 chart after its appearance in an early 2013 episode of the television show Girls, eventually climbing to number seven on the chart. It reached number one on the UK Singles Chart. XCX's own single "You're the One" was released in mid 2012 and was named among the 20 Best Songs of 2012 by Billboard. The succeeding single, "You (Ha Ha Ha)", was listed in Spin magazine and in Consequence of Sound as one of the best songs of 2013.
XCX's debut studio album, True Romance, was released in April 2013, following the single, "What I Like". This is what she said of the album: "Every corner of my own romantic history is explored on this record, so for me, it's very raw, it's very honest, and it's very true." It peaked at number 85 on the UK Albums Chart, at number five on the US Billboard Top Heatseekers, and at number 11 on the Australian Hitseekers Albums Chart. True Romance was received well by music critics, earning a 76/100 on Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
XCX began work on her second album in mid-2013. Later that year she released the single "SuperLove", which became her first solo chart entry on the UK Singles Chart, at number 62.
In early 2014, she was featured on Australian rapper Iggy Azalea's single "Fancy"; the track topped the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming both artists' first number-one single on the chart. XCX expanded her portfolio of songwriting for other artists during this period, with credits on Azalea's 2014 single "Beg for It", Ryn Weaver's debut single "OctaHate", and material for acts including Sky Ferreira, Neon Jungle, Rihanna, and Gwen Stefani. In mid-2014, XCX contributed the song "Boom Clap" to the soundtrack of the film The Fault in Our Stars. "Boom Clap" peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number six in the UK, and was certified platinum in Australia. "Boom Clap" was included on XCX's second album, Sucker, which was released in December 2014 in North America and February 2015 in Europe.
The subsequent single, "Break the Rules", charted within the top 10 in Australia and Germany, and "Doing It" (featuring fellow British singer Rita Ora) peaked at number 8 on the UK Singles Chart. XCX opened for Katy Perry on the European leg of her Prismatic World Tour in early 2015, headlined her own UK tour, and featured alongside R&B artist Tinashe on rapper Ty Dolla Sign's single "Drop That Kitty". In May 2015, XCX released "Famous" as the fourth single taken from Sucker; months later, Time ranked "Famous" the 5th best pop music video of the year. In July and August 2015, XCX co-headlined a US tour with Jack Antonoff. She announced on 21 August that, for "personal reasons", a planned second leg of the tour would not go ahead.
In a July 2015 interview, XCX said that she was working on her third album and described it as "the most pop thing, and the most electronic thing" she had ever done. British producer Sophie was confirmed to be involved in the album's production, along with other producers, BloodPop and Stargate. In February 2016, XCX released an extended play titled Vroom Vroom in collaboration with Sophie as a teaser for her third studio album. XCX also hosted her own radio show on Beats 1 that premiered fortnightly. She wrote the songs "Gravity" and "Tonight", which appeared on Blondie's Pollinator album (released in 2017).
On 28 October 2016, "After the Afterparty" was released as the lead single from her third album but the song didn't made the final cut . On 10 March 2017, XCX released a mixtape, Number 1 Angel, which featured a line-up of all female guest appearances from MØ, Raye, Starrah, Uffie, Abra, and Cupcakke. The mixtape was largely a collaboration with producer A. G. Cook. On 17 March 2017, Mura Masa released his single "1 Night", which featured vocals from XCX.
On 26 July 2017, XCX released "Boys" as the official lead single from her upcoming album, along with a self-directed music video featuring an ensemble cast of male celebrities, including Joe Jonas and Brendon Urie from Panic! at the Disco among others; it peaked at number 2 on the Top 25 YouTube list on 27 July, receiving almost two millions views in under 24 hours. On 6 August, XCX performed at Lollapalooza music festival 2017.
Her fourth mixtape, Pop 2 (2017) will be released on 16 December 2017, featuring collaborations with cupcakke, Brooke Candy and more.