Charli's birth name is Charlotte Aitchison. Regarding the 'XCX' part of her stage moniker, XCX was her screen name when she used the MSN chat service, and it stuck.
She began writing songs when she was 14, with her debut offering about going on a date to a fish and chip shop. "I just wanted to do something. The only thing prior to that, that I'd done and really enjoyed, was home chemistry sets. And I'd kind of outgrown them," she told Cosmopolitan. "It was getting to the point of, if you want to do chemistry, you've got to actually do it and be really good at it. And I was like, 'Eh, pass. Maybe I'll just try music.'"
A&R executive Ed Howard spotted Charli in 2008, during an impromptu performance in a pub at three in the morning. "She gets up on a chair in the middle of this crowded bar, wearing a crazy wig," he recalled to Billboard magazine. "Her look was incredible, but mental."
One of the songs Charli sung on the fateful day she was spotted by Ed Howard, "Valentine," she released for free on Valentine’s Day in 2012.
Charlie wrote "I Love It
" but felt it wasn't for her so gave the demo to her label mates, Icona Pop. It became a huge international hit for the Swedish duo.
Charli XCX has a form of the medical condition synaesthesia, where the senses mix. In Charli's case, she experiences music visually. "I haven't been diagnosed with it but people mention it to me a lot," she told the BBC. "I see music in colors. I love music that's black, pink, purple or red - but I hate music that's green, yellow or brown."
American singer-songwriter John Mayer has the same neurological condition.
She has an affinity for '90s culture, which she feels was a very eclectic and underrated decade. She cites The Craft as a favorite movie and The Spice Girls as one of her favorite artists.
Charli was brought up in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire by her Scottish concert promoter father and Indian mother, who was raised in Kampala, Uganda. According to Charli, her mom was "kicked out" of Uganda with her family by Idi Amin.