The Queen of Future Pop at Roxy

Jillian Garvey—Anglo American University

Taking over the stage at Roxy on Thursday, November 14, is the British musical artist Charlotte Aitchison, better known as Charli XCX.

Described as ahead of her time, Charli XCX has a sound unlike any other in the industry. Bordering experimental while pushing the limits of pop, it is a struggle to define her genre. Music critics have described her as dance-pop, electropop, pop punk, alternative pop, and even cyborg pop.

Though perhaps being ahead of one’s time is just the best way to describe music of the future. Basically, Charlie XCX plays a mix of conventional pop vocals laid over digital techno beats, making for an always fun, up-beat music perfect for all-night ragers.

Her unique style of music has led this 27-year-old to be stuck with a “rising star” status for the past decade. Nonetheless she has built a reputation as a triple threat in the music industry.

Not only is she a singer, but also a songwriter and producer, who has contributed to some of the most popular songs of the decade including Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy.” While her most recent collaboration as co-writer is with Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello on the hit “Senorita.” She has also managed to have ten hits on the UK top 40 charts over the years, since her first one, which was “I Love It” in 2013.

Charli XCX’s success hasn’t come easy though. She first entered the music industry at the age of 16 after getting noticed on MySpace by a promoter. Charli XCX was her MSN Messenger display name for her MySpace. Despite her age, she soon began to perform at illegal warehouse parties and raves in East London, taking any opportunity to get her name known. This eventually led to her getting signed by Asylum Records in 2010, who she has been with since.

However, making music for raves was not where Charli pictured her career going. When she left that scene, after getting signed to Asylum, she was confused as to which path she wanted to pursue. In a 2013 interview for The Guardian, she said “I was lost, you know? I was still in school, I’d just come out of this weird rave scene, and I wasn’t really sure what to make of that. And when I got signed I hated pop music; I wanted to make bad rap music. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know what I liked. Even though I was signed, I was still figuring it out.’”

Despite her initial dislike of pop, she found her voice and has become famous in the pop industry. Though, unlike today’s Queens of Pop, like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, or Miley Cyrus, Charli XCX’s sound has an edge to it, managing to make even her sad songs something you’d want to dance to.

With her incredible voice that’s been compared to Gwen Stefani or Marina and the Diamonds and her clear vision to create a new sound distinctly her own, she has rightly earned her own title as The Queen of Future Pop. Not on the same level as the Queens of (Mainstream) Pop, as Charli opened for Swift just last year on her 2018 Reputation Tour, but without a doubt Charli XCX is blazing her own trail to become a household name, herself.

Now on her 3rd solo album, self-titled “Charli,” this album has 15 songs with 14 guest artists. Some of the guests who collaborated with her include Troye Sivan, Lizzo, Kim Petras, Tommy Cash, and Clario.

As described by Charli in a Tweet to her fans, the album is emotional, club, tender and aggressive at the same time. Every song is different from the last in the best way possible and leaves the listener wondering how she is going to push the boundaries of pop on the next track, or even on her next album.

So, if you like to discover new music and have a great time (at the same time), you should see Charli XCX. It’s likely that after hearing only a few of Charli’s songs you’ll be counting down the days till she’s back in Prague, and surely next time performing at the O2 Arena, where the likes of Ariana Grande performed just a few months ago, in September.

Tickets for Charli XCX can be purchased at The Roxy website

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