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Charli XCX on the success of ‘Crash’: ‘What do I do now?’

"To achieve these things feels really special and unique, and it's something I feel like I've achieved with my fans"

By Hollie Geraghty

Charli XCX looks to the right in a close up shot
Charli XCX for Rolling Stone UK (Picture: Jack Bridgland)

Charli XCX has spoken about the success of her most recent albums How I’m Feeling Now and Crash, asking what the future might hold for her as an artist.

Speaking in a new interview with the BBC, the singer was asked how she felt about the acclaim of her last two projects – her Mercury Prize nominated fourth studio album How I’m Feeling Now, and this year’s Crash, the pop singer’s highest-charting record and final under her Atlantic Records deal.

“It’s still a shock to me – and it’s quite stressful because I’m like, ‘Oh crap, what do I do now?” she said.

“I feel like the narrative around my work has often been, ‘She’s one step ahead’ or, ‘She’s pushing the boundaries and no one ever quite gets her.’”

She continued: “So to achieve these things feels really special and unique, and it’s something I feel like I’ve achieved with my fans. 

“But at the same time, what does it mean for me?”

The singer joked that maybe she would have to “pursue soup more seriously”, a reference to her lockdown hobby, which coincided with the six-week process of making How I’m Feeling Now.

In a recent digital cover interview with Rolling Stone UK, the singer – real name Charlotte Emma Aitchison – spoke about recording Crash and the process of navigating a major record label.

“I’d never actually made a major label album in the way that it’s actually done,” she explained. “It felt interesting to me to use moments of that process to make this final album as somebody who has really navigated the major label record system since I was 16 in completely on my own terms.”

Charli XCX
Charli XCX poses for Rolling Stone UK (Picture: Jack Bridgland)

Charli XCX, who has performed at Reading, Leeds and Glastonbury this year, also spoke to the BBC the importance of supporting smaller venues, ahead of a show at Brighton’s Concorde venue Wednesday (31 August) as part of the Music Venue Trust’s Revive Live, which hopes to encourage audiences to return to grassroots venues post-pandemic.

“Those smaller spaces were really important to me,” she says of the venues she played earlier in her career. “Those were the places where I first met people at similar stages of their career, exploring their musical identity and figuring things out, much like I was.

“Each of us would bring maybe 20 people into a really tiny venue and it was so important in honing our craft. 

“That’s making sure we can keep these spaces open is really important to younger artists.”

Rolling Stone UK gave Charli XCX’s May 2022 show at Alexandra Palace five stars, writing that “an artist this in command of the stage should be headlining festivals”.