Charli XCX is the new princess of pop. She caught fire about two years ago when, aged 20, she wrote the megahit “I Love It” for Swedish duo Icona Pop while also releasing her major-label debut, True Romance. Then last summer, she stormed the charts with the catchy single “Boom Clap,” which has sold a million copies in the U.S. alone.
Charli’s recipe for a hit is an electronic track with elements of punk and pop and lyrics bursting with youthful exuberance. It’s a mix that captured the imagination of disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder and led the 74-year-old musician to use Charli’s vocals on his comeback album. Charli’s own new album, Sucker, is out now. She tells us which songs inspired her as she was writing it.
1 Britney Spears: “Baby One More Time”
“This was the first Britney song I heard, the first music video I really connected with and felt totally mind- blown by. I was 7 and it was her vocal, her outfit, the video, the track … all of it. I wanted to be her. It was then that I decided I wanted to be in the music industry. Then I discovered the Spice Girls soon after and it was settled.”
2 Weezer: “Beverly Hills”
“This feels like a bad-ass rap song. The lyrics are so boozy, the tempo’s great, the video was shot at the Playboy Mansion—everything about it is cool. I wanted some of that on Sucker so I invited Weezer vocalist Rivers Cuomo to join me in the studio. His knowledge is phenomenal; I love the track ‘Hanging Around,’ which we wrote together.”
3 The Flying Lizards: “Money”
“I’m such a big fan of this track I actually play it live in my set. It’s been part of my repertoire for years. The original ‘Money’ is an old blues track, but the electronic version this experimental rock outfit came up with in 1979 sounds like future robots performing. It sounds so futuristic, but so old at the same time. I really love it.”
4 Sophie: “Hard”
“Sophie is incredible. He’s a next- level producer. His tracks sound super futuristic to me, especially this one—it’s like pop music straight from Mars. Not only is he very talented musically, but he’s an amazing visionary. He lives behind this Sophie pseudonym and no one knows who he is. That anonymity intrigues me. I’d love to work with him.”
5 Dizzee Rascal: “I Luv U”
“This classic came out 12 years ago but still sounds so relevant. I was a big fan of Boy in da Corner, the album this is taken from, but then I forgot about it until someone on the tour bus put it on recently and I got completely into it again. I love the way Dizzee raps. It’s raw, quick and witty. This record has serious longevity.”