It’s Charlie, baby. While the British singer-songwriter is best known to the normies for bouncing in the chorus of Iggy Azalea’s 2014 hit “Fancy,” Charli XCX has morphed into one of pop’s most advanced secret weapons. Alongside writing hits for Selena Gomez and Camila Cabello, her own career veered in a more experimental direction, beginning with 2016’s EP ‘Vroom Vroom’. With her later work, Charli has explored a futuristic hyperpop sound that has appealed to her fan base continues to hold his breath.
Charli’s most recent album Crash was a return to her pre-Vroom Vroom accessibility, offering radio-friendly dance-pop like the lead single Good Ones. The album ended her deal with Atlantic Records, her label with which she has clashed over the years, and has taken a tongue-in-cheek, self-referential approach to sellout themes. With newfound freedom for upcoming releases, if she decides not to renew her contract, Charli is likely to resume her more experimental style after removing “Crash” from her system. Her stage name is much more appropriate for this, after all, having historically caused confusion in the mainstream. When she was supposed to be a musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” last season, A promo spot starring guest host Paul Rudd played him laughing.
Though Charli cleared up the pronunciation in the clip, many people may still not know the true origins of her unconventional stage name.
Charli XCX is a 2000s callback
In a 2015 interview for On Air with Ryan Seacrest, Charli XCX revealed the true meaning of her stage name — and no, it’s not Roman numerals. “‘XCX’ was my MSN username when I was younger, which is really nerdy of me. It stood for ‘Kiss Charli Kiss,'” the “Boom Clap” singer said. “When I started playing my first few shows, the promoters were like, ‘What should I write on the flyer?’ and I was like 14 or 15, and I was like, ‘Uh, just put Charli XCX,’ and it was just nice to get stuck from there.”
All these years later, Charli never thought to change it. Though she causes confusion among some people, her fans have embraced it as part of her quirky image. This not only fits with their popularity online, but also contributes to the Y2K aesthetic of their fashion and music. Charli has cited Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and the Spice Girls as some of her influences (per NPR), all of which were at their cultural peak around the same time as MSN Messenger. In fact, the music video for her song “1999,” which references Spears, includes an IM conversation screennamed “CharliXCX92,” which you’ll miss.
While it’s easy to think of Charli’s “XCX” as some kind of extraterrestrial surname from another planet, she for once walked past something fairly ordinary. Let’s get to the hyperpop star’s real name.
The real name of Charli XCX only tells half the story
Years before he flew from LA to Tokyo in the fast lane, Charli XCX was born Charlotte Emma Aitchison. While her real name has a surprisingly classy ring to it, it hardly hints at the hip, left-of-center music she would go on to make. It wouldn’t last too long as she was first spotted at the age of 14 by a promoter on MySpace on Complex. Charli performed at raves in East London to much older audiences and had the full support of her parents who drove her to concerts. They eventually met each other at a nightclub where Charli’s father, Jon, was a promoter. In 2020, she told The Guardian, “They started from scratch and worked so hard to be able to give themselves a life they loved. Growing up around that has an impact on you.”
Given her very English name, some may not know that Charli is a mixed race. Her mother, Shameera, is Indian and came to the UK as a refugee from Uganda. In 2019, Charli told The Feed, “You don’t care that much about your parents when you’re younger and now I realize that she’s a really powerful person… Her story is really inspiring and makes me realize how lucky she is.” is I am.” Though many are still hearing about it for the first time, Charli’s ethnicity has never been a secret. In 2016, she did tweeted“I am very proud of my Indian heritage. I love my roots and my family.”