Charli XCX bringing girl power to the Sheffield stage

Charli XCX plays Sheffield on Saturday.
Charli XCX plays Sheffield on Saturday.
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Pop’s latest princess Charli XCX is heading out on tour – and bringing attitude with her.

The 22-year-old, from Hertfordshire, has supported Coldplay and Katy Perry and is now heading out on her own headline tour, including a date in Sheffield.

Charli, real name Charlotte Aitchison, says her music has gone down well with Perry’s crowds this year, although she admits she’s more experienced now than when she supported Coldplay, somewhat less successfully, in 2012.

“I remember one night with them,” she says. “I did this terrible performance and got loads of abuse online. And I reacted to all of it because I was being a little horror.

“I had no idea what it was like to play in a stadium, I just played as if I was still in a club.”

“I’m getting better at that sort of thing now. I know how to win people over if things aren’t going my way.”

She started writing songs aged 14 - and soon after that, started being written about in the national press.

But despite the media buzz, by 2010 she was already taking a break from music, during what she has described as a ‘lost period’.

Behind the scenes, she was writing for other artists, most notably Icona Pop’s number one single I Love It.

“I’ve been doing other things,” she says.

Charli XCX performing.

Charli XCX performing.

“I’ve been busy, and I’m not constantly trying to make songs for the radio.

“Obviously my label would want me to be on the radio all the time, but that’s not my personal goal.”

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Charli XCX says she always wanted to make pop music – but on her terms.

She says: “If people like it then great, but if they don’t, then whatever, it doesn’t bother me. I’ve made a living from writing for people, if I want to get boring about it. So no, it’s not been a long, tough road, but it is nice people are more into my stuff now, on more a mass level.”

Despite playing to arenas and stadiums with other artists, she says she still loves playing small, dirty venues on her own.

“Obviously, I daydream about what I would do if I was headlining those stadiums on my own, but I prefer the smaller rooms,” she says.

“A sold-out crowd is better than a number one, but being in the studio is better than all of that.

“Obviously, getting a number in the charts is a nice thing, but the cherry on the cake, rather than the main cake.

“It’s not something I think about or aim for, or that you even can aim for.

“The main thing is that I like the music, and that’s why I make it.”

Her own album Sucker, her third, and second while signed to a major label, was released a few months ago.

Charli says she thinks it’s a great album - and many critics agreed - although she has already moved on to what she wants to do next.

“I’ve been living those songs so much longer than anyone else, so it feels a bit old to me and I’m glad it’s out,” she says.

“It was finished in October, but the songs were done ages before that. Boom Clap and Gold Coins were written in May 2013. Thankfully, playing them live gives it all a new lease of life.

“I want to do things my way. I’ve always been very stubborn, and it’s always been a fight.

“As a pop artist on a major label, it isn’t always the most creative environment, but there are people who were there when I was really young, and are really fighting for my ideas.

“They respect me and let me do my thing, and that’s really rare and awesome. If I wasn’t in that position I wouldn’t be doing this.”

“There’s no point if it’s not coming from me.”

Charli XCX plays Plug, Matilda Street, Sheffield city centre, on Saturday. For tickets, priced £14, see www.the-plug.com