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Questions With A Visitor: Charli XCX

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Charli XCX sits on a white leather couch. There’s a white iPhone in a neon pink bunny eared case a touch away from her and she’s toying with a small ring in her fingers. There’s a table in front of her with all the necessary pre-show requirements–crushed lemons, hot water, tea, bottles and bottles of water–and she has a simultaneously laid back yet anxious air about her likely because she’ll be performing in a few minutes. She has big black hair that acts like a sort of gothic lioness mane, which is swept to her right side (and she is keen to keep sweeping it to her right whenever it creeps its way over her eyes). She’s dressed like a Spice Girl styled by Fairuza Balk in The Craft: she has on black platform sneakers, a short black school girl skirt, a black half t-shirt, and a blue denim jacket, which–if you look closely–has brightly colored little flowers inside of it.

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Those flowers are important: they are a pattern created by Liberty of London that is being used exclusively by Levi’s for a little collaboration between the two brands. You notice that Charli’s room is fashioned around this theme outside of her pre-show necessities: there is an arrangement of brightly colored hydrangeas on the table and a small display of Levi’s X Liberty of London jackets, dresses, bags, etc. just stage right of where she is sitting. Charli is actually in town to perform for an intimate celebration of the collaboration, one that in a way speaks directly to her own girl power by way of dark shades aesthetic through its florals and navy denims.

She has a subtle, polite, and honest way about her in private. She’s known for making big, synth driven pop anthems crafted for the counter cultural music fan. She even refers to herself as being a “Nineties Bitch.” She gives a lot of “yeahs” and “cools,” “likes” and “totallys” all in a quaint accent. Right as we before we begin speaking, she drops the ring she was playing with. There is a moment of silence as she and I gaze down at it to see she’ll pick it up. “Cool,” she says, looking back up and we begin our conversation.

“What brings you to Los Angeles?”

“Well, I’m here today for the Levi’s X Liberty of London collection launch and playing a show,” she says with a nod. “But, apart from that, I’m touring at the moment with Marina & The Diamonds. This is kind of my day off, I guess. We’ve been on tour for about two weeks and then I have a headline tour in June. It’s cool. It’s pretty exciting.”

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“How long are you in town for, in LA?”

“We were here last week actually,” she notes. “We rented a house and I came back for one day a couple of days ago and then I was in Denver yesterday and then I came back today and I leave tomorrow morning at four in the morning. So, I’m here for a day. It’s crazy but, yeah, it’s fun.”

“What neighborhood are you staying in? What are your thoughts on that part of town? Or is there a place you usually stay?”

“Today I’m staying just across the street at The Grafton. But, we just rented a place [last week] in Silver Lake on AirBNB. It was fucking amazing. It was really, really cool. It was on Micheltorena: it was really amazing. The house was fucking cool. That was really great and we had breakfast every morning. Silver Lake is cool: it’s kind of like the Shoreditch of LA, that little hipster area of the city. It’s really nice–and you guys have really good breakfast. We went to Cafe Stella and Millie’s and both were really good.”

“Those places are good: you did a good job.”

“Well, I’m glad,” she says with a tiny smile.

“How many times have you be to the city? What are your thoughts on the city in general?”

“I’ve been here a lot. I’ve been coming here since I was fifteen, sixteen and I actually really like it here. I want to move out here! It’s funny because everyone that I meet from Los Angeles who is of the same age as me and is doing the same thing wants to move to New York or London and I’m like, ‘Woah: I’m moving out here.’ I feel like New York and London are on the same wavelength. They’re really different to here. I’ve lived in London for about three years: I need a change.”

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She takes a beat: “And it rains like six times a year or something? Less than that?

“Oh, yes, less than that.”

“It’s amazing.”

“Have you been to Palm Springs.”

“Never,” she replies in a drawn out English way.

“That’s the next place you need to visit: stay at The Parker, chill by the pool, hang out–you’ll love it.”

“Okay.”

“We can kind of extend this to last week but what’s the best part of your trip so far?”

“We had a house party that was really good. I don’t really remember much from it,” she laughs. “I couldn’t stop laughing all night. I did have a massive freak out because the sprinklers went on in the garden and I was like, ‘Oh my god! Everyone leave the house! Everyone leave the house! Someone’s broken the garden! Someone’s broken the garden! The sprinkler is on and the house is going to flood and everyone’s going to drown and I’m going to lose my deposit!’ Everyone was like, ‘Are you okay?’ And then I calmed down and realized we were in LA and everyone has sprinklers. It was fun. But those sprinklers: weird.”

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We laugh.

“The last question–and you kind of already mentioned it–is do you see yourself living here?”

“Yeah,” she interjects with an exasperated giggle.

“What’s the draw? Is it the weather like you mentioned or is there something more?”

“I don’t know. Especially doing what I do, I get a lot of work done out here. I feel like everyone is always working. Especially for writing with other people, which is definitely something I want to pursue more since the ‘I Love It’ thing kind of took off. I feel like here is the perfect place to do that, you know?”

“Totally. Well, that’s it!”

“Really?” she asks. “That was painless.” She takes a beat and throws hear main to her right side and extends a hand: “Well, thank you!”

With an hour until it was time for her to make the stage, we leave her to prepare. She then returned an hour later to the small stage and a large group of roaring fans and more literally spilling out of the house to see her. She put on a fabulous show, too. We will all have to keep our eyes out: England’s latest pop starlet may be making her way to Los Angeles very soon–and for good.

For more on Charli, be sure to check out more of her work here, specifically favorites of ours “Stay Away” and “Nuclear Seasons.” Her debut LP True Romance is available now on iTunes.

For more on the Levi’s X Liberty of London collaboration, be sure to check out the collection here. You can also catch a little promotional video on the subject here and you can see more images from the event here.

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