Kaotican Alphabet

Interview: Charli XCX

Fresh from Coldplay's North American tour, the cinematic popster tells us more about herself

For the final leg of the North American tour, Coldplay were supported by rising UK singer Charli XCX. We dropped her a line to find out a bit more about her.

Hi Charli, how are you?
Good thanks.

How have your shows with Coldplay been?
They’ve been totally amazing. It’s such an honour to open for them and play in such huge venues. I’m loving it!

For fans who haven’t heard your music yet, please could you give us an idea of what you sound like?
Yes it’s like dark, magical, cinematic pop music! Like a glass of Cherry Coke stained with black lipstick!

Is it the first time you’ve played to venues as big as these?
Yes. They’re huge! It’s super amazing. The first band I went to see in arenas this sort of size was the Spice Girls… It’s amazing to actually be on the stage instead of just watching !

Have you adjusted your performance because they’re support shows in arenas rather than headline dates in clubs?
At first I was really stubborn and was like no way am I gonna change the way I perform but after the first show I did. I feel like you need to communicate more through the way you move and what you say – it’s so weird when I’m usually playing to 500 people all dancing in a room and then going to huge rooms like the Coldplay ones where everyone is staring at your face on a screen for half an hour. I like it though, it’s raised the bar for me. Now I wanna sell out stadiums like that too!

Do you think there’s an art to playing a good support show?
Yes. I think if you’re playing to thousands of people or just 10 there’s still an art to it. I guess with these shows I just had to drill into my head that people weren’t actually there to see me. So you just have to do your best to win them over.. I think on the whole I’m pretty good at that.

Have the Coldplay crowds been good listeners?
Definitely. I always get a really good response on twitter which is nice. Montreal was particularly good. I guess their audience knows what a hit sounds like for sure – so it’s nice when they recognise that in one of my songs.

If you had to pick one show which was a highlight for you, which would it be?
Definitely Montreal. The crowd were so up for it and I began to feel really comfortable on stage, which was super nice.

Have you been doing your own shows around the Coldplay ones?
Yes I’ve been doing my first headline tour in America. It’s pretty insane and I’m having the best time. I did a wicked show in New York which is probably my favourite show I’ve ever done. I love being on the road and playing my shows – I know it sounds so cheesy but I just get so lost in the performance and the magic.

Have you toured North America much before?
I was doing a tour with Santigold the other month which was super fun. Her dancers are so freakin bad ass. It was really cool – and we got to party a lot which was fun. I really admire her as an artist and it was really great to go on tour with another strong female. It was a real girl power tour!

How are you getting around? How is it?
In a van. There’s no classy shit with me just yet, but it’s definitely fun!

Have you had some long journeys?
Haha yes!! We had one which was 12 hours! We’ve been listening to lots of Hole.. But then also a lot of Mel C… Our van is pretty banging.

What’s the best way to kill time on a long road trip?
Make up dance move to all of Mel C’s songs…

Have you been keeping up with the Olympics back home in the UK?
When I left London I really wasn’t that interested at all but then I started watching some gymnastics on TV and I just thought it was amazing. Everything those girls do is so beautiful. They must be so strong to be able to flip an turn in the air. It’s incredible.

Have you been able to check out some of the cities you’ve performed in?
Not really – I’ve just been so busy.the only thing I got to check out was a hair salon in Chicago… I hadn’t washed my hair in like 2 weeks so I spent my free time there getting it all done. I’m not really a girly girl haha!

Any idea how you came to be on the tour?
It’s always difficult with stuff like this ‘cos I heard loads of different stuff, but the one I like to believe the most is that Chris Martin heard my stuff and liked it. When we met he did say he had my songs Stay Away and Nuclear Seasons – so that’s pretty cool!

Were you a fan of Coldplay?
Yes definitely. They write incredible worldwide hits. Even if you hate them (which I don’t) you can’t help but know all their songs anyway just because they’re so massive.

Had you seen them live before?
Before this tour I hadn’t.

What do you think of their show?
It was definitely one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. Everything is just so interlinked. It’s amazing, the whole experience was really magical- and yes- I did cry.

Have you had a chance to hang out with the band at all?
I met Chris, he was super nice. We chatted for a bit and then I got really flustered and basically invited him to his own after party, as if it were my party – that was kind of embarrassing… Haha!

What have you got coming up for the rest of 2012?
I have my single You’re The One coming out in the UK in September and then a load more free mixtapes.

Finally, what’s your favourite Coldplay song (and why)?
Definitely The Scientist, because it always makes me cry. Without fail.

For more info about Charli XCX, head to