Charli XCX: ‘I don’t think I could have made this album at any other point in time’ – Music News

Charli XCX joins Zane Lowe in the studio on Apple Music 1 to discuss her new album ‘CRASH’. She tells Zane why she couldn’t have made the album at any other point in her life, how her full catalogue embodies all the things that pop music can be, why she feels the music industry has finally caught up with her, and feeling proud of her journey as she prepares to embark upon a new era. She also discusses struggling with her mental health at the beginning of the year, exploring life outside of music, the genius of Lady Gaga, the power and legacy of her late friend SOPHIE, and more.

Charli XCX Tells Apple Music Why She Couldn’t Make ‘CRASH’ At Any Other Point In Her Life…
it feels really good to be doing this album now. I don’t think I could have made this album at any other point in time, because I think I needed all of the running, numbing, experiencing the different sides of the music that I can create and the industry to arrive at this album. I don’t think I could have made it if I’d been completely looking after myself all the time. Because it’s a very destructive album. It is. People do fall out of relationships, people do lose friends, et cetera. And that’s really happened on many levels for me doing this album. And it’s like… Yeah, it’s crazy. Because I think, as you say, like whilst you make music, you are kind of just making it and life is happening parallel and sometimes you are not aware… Because it’s just happening. But when I now listen back to this album, I’m like, oh my God, all of this stuff happened. I like that with pop music the listener can apply the meaning to their own life and experience grief or a breakup or love in their own way and apply it to their personal situation. When I listen to this album back, I’m like, oh my God, this is so specific to me.

Charli XCX Tells Apple Music About The Music Industry Catching Up With Her and Why Releasing Her New Album Feels Full Circle…
I don’t want to say this and sound arrogant, but I feel there has been this narrative around me of progressive, future of pop. I’ve also used that but it also is really interesting that I’m on my fifth album in my five album deal. I’ve arrived at this place where I’m incorporating all of the different things that I’ve done in the past into one body of work and I also feel like, and this might sound like a negative but I actually think it’s a positive, I also feel like we’re at a time in the music industry where the music industry is beginning to catch up with me a little bit and we’re at this time now where being an artist like me is actually quite common and the norm and with things like hyper pop existing. It’s like that is now a tangible genre that not only weird kids who have great taste can understand but playlisters can understand or whatever. This album feels very cyclical in many ways… People can understand who I am now.

Charli XCX Tells Apple Music How All The Music She’s Released To Date Encapsulates All The Things That Pop Music Can Be…
I feel like with all my albums, well, five albums, well four albums prior and two mix tapes that I’ve done, those six bodies of work encapsulate all the different things that I think pop music could be, from things like boom clap and big classic shouty pop songs to the kind of more avant garde world of pop too or rave tracks like Visions. All of those things feel like the little puzzle pieces that make up what I want pop music to be and on this final album, I feel like I’ve used all of the different puzzle pieces-to make the album.

Charli XCX Tells Apple Music About Feeling Proud of Her Journey As She Prepares To Embark On A New Era…
I’m so proud of this album and I’m proud of the journey that I’ve been on to get to this album because I do think it’s a very unique journey. I was just talking about this in the car on the way over here with my managers. It’s very like, “Whoa, what’s next?” You know? In such a massive way for me right now and I’m sure all artists go through these phases in their life where a lot of things are coming to an end at the same time. It’s more just… I think I love it. Not to quote myself, but I do. I’m really enjoying where I’m at and I really deserve the things that I’m getting but I suppose it’s coupled with a point in time where I’m about to make many business decisions that will possibly go on to affect the next era, not just of music, but of my life. You know?

Charli XCX Tells Apple Music About Exploring Life Outside of Music…
Obviously age is just a number, but I’m going to be 30 in August and that does feel like this sort of societal age of, “Now you’re an adult. Do adult things.””Twenties are over. What’s happening with your life?” and that’s about to happen for me as well and I am actually for the first time in my life thinking about things outside of music. If music was stripped away from me, what would make me happy? My relationship, my friends, my free time. Do I have hobbies? No.

Charli XCC Tells Apple Music About Struggling With Her Mental Health At The Beginning of the Year…
I think the beginning of this year, I was having a really tough time with my mental health. I was just feeling very under pressure from work, from literally everything. It was really, really heavy and I was really struggling and it kind of began because at that point in time, I felt the album was done. The album’s done. It’s going to come out. The photo shoots, the video, it’s all done and I’m like, “Okay. So what am I inspired by right now?” I felt very uninspired by music and really was struggling with that because generally at the point where I’ve made an album and it’s going to come out in four months time, I’m already onto the next one. I’m like, “I can’t wait to write it. I know what it looks like. I know this. This is who I’m working with. Da da da da.” I’m there. I’m way wheeling ahead to the point where my team are always, “Yeah but you need to focus on the current album. You need to do it justice,” and for the first time I didn’t have that feeling and that really freaked me out. And normally if I ever feel creatively stifled or blocked, I know it will come back in a couple of months after I take some time out but this time, I really had this feeling of, “I don’t know if this is going to come back. I feel very flat right now,” and I think it’s because I’ve done this professionally since I was 16 years old and in that time, I’ve taken a break here and there whilst working but I’ve never actually stopped and absorbed life.

Charli XCX Tells Apple Music About Lady Gaga’s Genius…
I actually always remember when Lady Gaga first came out with ‘Just Dance’. I remember. And she’s amazing but I always remember thinking, “This girl is playing the game. This is smart.” I remember when ‘Just Dance’ came out I was like, “This is a really cool pop song and the video’s really weird.” But I was like, “This is just the beginning. I know this girl is trying to do something more.” And she did. She made ‘Bad Romance’. She made ‘Telephone’, ‘Alejandro’. She played the game to give herself the platform to be able to do whatever the f**k she wanted on this insane, crazy level. And I always really respected that because I think it’s genius. It’s genius. She had the vision to play that game and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it because I think I was so scared of rejection and so scared of failure.

Charli XCX Tells Apple Music About The Power, Legacy, and Influence of SOPHIE…
SOPHIE was one of my biggest champions when it came to me doing things on my own, me being a pop star, me being fierce. SOPHIE was always pushing me to do that. SOPHIE was always pushing me to not record with auto tune, which I think people would find quite interesting. But she was, she was always like, “Just sing with your voice. You sound great. Let’s do this like that.” SOPHIE was just a champion of people that she believed in. And no matter what level you were as an artist, if you were a big artist or if you were her friend who was making music with her in her studio and no one else had heard any of the songs at all. She believed in those people. She thinks people are stars. And when she thinks you’re a star, she’s not going to let you do yourself an injustice by not going for it. So there have been a few times in this album process where I have thought, “Oh, what would SOPHIE think about this?” Or “What would SOPHIE tell me to do right now?” And the answer always is, SOPHIE would just always be like, “Do your thing. Go for it, push yourself. And so yeah, I think SOPHIE would’ve really backed me on it. And that’s really cool, because she obviously was so… She changed my life, you know? And she changed all of our lives. Not just because of her music, which obviously is so incredible. But because of the person that she was as a person, she championed us, she has this incredible energy. And when she wants to converse with you or have a moment with you, it’s so special because she’s so inspiring. And so… I’ve never met anyone like her and I don’t think I ever will. She really is just like… She can really give you confidence and power. She can give you power. But SOPHIE held a lot of power just in the person that she was, let alone the music.

Charli XCX Tells Apple Music About Titling Her Album ‘CRASH’…
The word just came into my head and I was like, “Why is my album not called Crash?” Crash means so much to me in that it’s related to vehicles, which so many of my songs have referenced driving or cars or racing or things like that. It’s also onomatopoeic, which things like boom clap have been. It’s also self referential, which I feel like is such a part of my culture as an artist and my fans culture as a fan base. There’s a lot of in jokes within my community and calling my album ‘Crash’ when I’ve referenced cars so much, when I’ve said “I crashed my car into a bridge, I don’t care, I love it.” It’s very, again, cyclical to come back to that sort of reference. My first album was called ‘True Romance’. This album is called ‘Crash’. Both of them are movies. Obviously ‘Crash’ also from the book. It’s sexy, fast, dangerous.

Charli XCX Tells Apple Music About The Trend of Songs Becoming Shorter…
Songs will be 15 seconds long by the time I die…I do feel like songs are getting shorter though, which I do actually quite like, to be honest. I was reading about myself on Twitter, which is something I really need to stop doing. But everyone was kind of like, “The songs on this album are so short.” And I was like, “Yeah, it’s 2022.” But I do quite like this short song thing that’s happening right now. And I don’t really know why it’s happening. I just feel like, well, I suppose it’s because of that disposable sort of culture and TikTok, et cetera. I think it’s just permeating the minds of creative people in a very subconscious way. I’m not going to the studio thinking this song needs to be two minutes. It just happens.

Charli XCX Tells Apple Music “Constant Repeat” Is Her Favourite Track on ‘CRASH’…
I think it’s my favourite. I think this was the last song that we wrote for the record. It was one of those where the album was done. I was sort of done with doing sessions. I was feeling quite creatively spent. And then there was the flare of emotion where I was like, “Oh, I have to write this song,” and it kind of came out and just felt like something that had been missing from the album and it felt really important for this song to go on the album.

Charli XCX Tells Apple Music How She Feels About Working With Songwriters…
It’s so frowned upon for an artist to take a pitched song. It’s deemed as so uncool… And you know, I don’t care if an artist writes their own song or doesn’t. I just don’t care. If they sell me it in the performance, it’s your song. No one else can do it. But there is that thing now of artists who don’t write sort of denying that they don’t write because they need to be authentic to be deemed as “good”, which I just don’t see the logic in that.

Charli XCX Tells Apple Music About Feeling Most At Home In The Studio…
Honestly, I don’t feel fear when I’m making the music. I’ve never felt fear when I’m in that room with three people making the song. That’s my happiest place. I feel anything can happen in that room. It could be the worst song ever or something completely amazing or nonsensical. It feels so good. I don’t feel fear then. And I think that feeling drives me to continue to create. I love it so much. I know some artists who love making music videos and hate recording. And I know some artists who love being on tour and hate music videos. And I love being in the studio. I love it so much. I would do it every day until a point if I could. If I’m feeling inspired, there’s nowhere else I would rather be.

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