A true pop star is a master of reinvention. Being able to ride the waves of hyper-trends and shifting cultural moods requires intense self-security. Charli XCX is a connoisseur of pop in this way, always in tune with herself and doing the unexpected, as she says: “Playing into the contrast is so much more interesting to me than doing what people expect from me, or the same thing over and over again.” Staying light on her toes and uniquely Charli is what sets her apart, and this comes through in her edit for the Pandora ME re-launch.
Pandora’s ME collection champions personal freedom and choice, with endless possibilities and combinations to create jewelry that is uniquely you, through and through. Chain bracelets and necklaces can be easily layered, and adorable charms amplify just about any look. Custom engravable links are also available for optimal you-ness. The collection roots itself in simplicity and adaptability to the wearer’s mood and unique personality. Charli’s laser focus on creating the best pop music possible makes her a true individual, which Pandora honors and uplifts through the collab. This unique synergy between Charli XCX and Pandora culminates in the singer’s new song snippet, “SWEAT,” and accompanying visual for the campaign, starring the other artists who make up Pandora’s latest collective. As she begins to release new music after her quarantine-made record how i’m feeling now, Charli XCX caught up with ELLE.com to talk all things jewelry, pop music, and what the future may hold.
You always seem to layer jewelry when you perform on stage. Do you do the same when you’re just chilling at home?
Kind of. I am really a fan of layering jewelry and I’ll always wear a couple of necklaces: maybe five, maybe two. I’m more maximalist with it, which I think is why I really like the Pandora ME collection, because there are a lot of options for how you can wear the jewelry: you can layer it, and it looks really good together. You can customize it, there’s a chunkiness to it which I really like… and you can add charms, or take them away. I can go from daily life to a show and customize the jewelry to fit my mood, which is what I really like about the collection.
You recently started working with stylist Chris Horan. How are you creating looks with him? Is there a new style direction you plan to go in?
Chris and I just clicked immediately. I think he was a fan of my music, and I was a fan of his work, so it was just a match made in heaven. I wanted to explore something a little more elevated. I’m a messy girl; I like to party and go out and have fun. Sometimes I need to rein it in a bit with my style as well because it can be a little hectic, but it’s just who I am and it’s what I like. Chris can enhance that part of me and also show me more chic things that I love. But, essentially, the reason that I think we work well together is he gets that I’m an individual and I have my own vibe. He doesn’t treat me like a cookie-cutter version of someone to dress, and that is really important to who I am—self-expression and individuality. That goes across all the things that I do, whether it’s my music, partnering with Pandora, or my relationship with my friends. It’s all about being true to yourself and unique and individual.
Your music video for “Good Ones” is indicative of a new era. How did you come up with it?
I suppose I just wanted to completely transform myself into the most pop version of who I am, which is very much inside of me. Also, I have this desire to always do completely contrasting things. The previous album, how i’m feeling now, was way more lo-fi—the way that I made it through the quarantine with fans, connecting with them and being very open… it’s completely polar opposite to my new music and how I feel about it. [The music has] very much been made behind closed doors; it’s very much the opposite of the DIY feeling of how i’m feeling now, and I think that’s just because I love drastic jumps. Playing into the contrast is so much more interesting to me than doing what people expect from me, or the same thing over and over again. On the video itself, I just have a fascination with funerals, and I’ve always thought that a funeral video would be really right. Also, for me, at this point in time, I feel a little bit dead inside, so I think a funeral offers the perfect setting. I feel dead inside, but alive. It’s a combo of both. I wanted to work with Hannah Lux Davis as well, because I knew that she would bring out the pop demon inside of me. It was a match made in heaven, or hell, I suppose. Everything clicked, and I felt more myself than ever on the set of that music video, so I loved it.
Now that you’ve proclaimed hyper pop is dead, where do you see pop music heading in the next five years?
I think pop music is constantly evolving and growing and becoming more and more diluted, in a good way, by the inclusion of other genres and the influence of other genres. So it’s really hard to tell. Pop music, to me, has always been led by personality, so I think the personality of the artists will really determine the direction in which pop music goes. I think more than ever before, personality is key in making brilliant artistry. That’s always been the case, but I think more than ever now, musicians are brands, which is amazing to me, because I just want to go shopping. The future of pop just depends on who’s making it, what they have to say, and what they want to use. But sonically, it could go anywhere, which is extremely exciting. I think post-pandemic, everybody’s craving some dancing anthems. Hopefully I can provide a few of them.
“Good Ones” is already on heavy rotation among my friends. Is there anyone you haven’t already collaborated with that you’d like to team up with?
I think that Pink Pantheress and I would make a really good song together. I think she’s a really smart and interesting artist. I think her music is really, really good. Even if we don’t collaborate, I’m a fan and I really like what she’s doing, so I’m excited to see what happens next for her.
What’s next for you?
First is the launch of the Pandora ME campaign, which will be coming with a song that I made for the campaign. That will be another little snippet of music. And then the music, I suppose… it’s just high-octane pop; it’s everything that you want from the best pop star ever—that’s how I’m seeing it. How I would describe the sound or the future is: dangerous, volatile, sexy, empowering.
Partnering with Pandora is something a true pop star would do.
Oh, yes. Pandora is pop, 100 percent.
It’s very “pop” jewelry, right?
Yeah. And they’re not afraid to be who they really are, which is the most important thing.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
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