Charli XCX has always done things her own way. It's why we love her so much.
For many, lockdown and isolation conditions presented a challenge. But for this creator, the environment offered an opportunity. And opportunity to create a new album from beginning to end.
Of course, it's no ordinary album. Charli XCX documented the whole process on her Instagram, from pitching the idea of quarantine album to her label, to writing and even filming music videos in her LA home. From the highs to the lowest moments, she shared it all with her fans, wanting them to experience it all with her. She titled it how i'm feeling now and it really couldn't be anymore fitting.
As the new face of the latest Tommy Jeans campaign, we spoke to Charli XCX about her new album - how she made it, why she made it and the future for the music industry. She told us all about how she's staying creative, her favourite Tommy Jeans tracksuit and the importance of being an ally.
We’ve all read a lot about 'how i’m feeling now', but could you tell us a little about it?
how i'm feeling now is an album that I made within five weeks during lockdown. It’s an extremely personal album that’s of course DIY! I made it with my fans so its super cool and its all about my boyfriend.
Speaking of 'how i’m feeling now', how are you feeling right now? Are you still in LA, how is it?
The way I feel now is good! I am still in LA and feeling really positive…a bit hot as we are having a heatwave…but I feel good! I love the LA views especially!
What inspired you to make a quarantine album?
The reason I made a quarantine album is because I am a person that really needs to create. Creating makes me feel good and really positive and in a time such as this, I needed that type of outlet so it made perfect sense!
Although social media is a very personal space, we rarely get to see a true look inside day-to-day life. What made you want to document your process so honestly?
The reason I documented my process when recording my album with honesty and openness was because I know we are all going through the same thing right now. I knew there would be a large number of people that would be able to relate to the things that I was saying and my message. I am sure that we all had times of feeling lonely, uncertain of the future as well as just confused about what’s next. I just knew I had to document this and show everyone that we are all in it together.
Do you have a favourite lockdown outfit?
My favourite lock down outfit are pretty much the clothes that I wake up in! Tommy Jeans tracksuits and t-shirts are my go- to!
What's your approach to style? What makes you feel your best?
My approach to style is to dress the way I feel that day. I don’t ever dress for anyone else, only me. I learnt that when I do that, I feel most confident as I really feel like me.
Has living in LA changed the way you dress?
I think living in LA has definitely introduced me more to athleisure and I am for sure happy about that! I really have taken to loving that comfort life but have been able to intertwine my own style into that athleisure look!
How do you want this new album to make people feel?
I want people to feel connected by this new album. That was my starting goal, I wanted us all to connect together when being physically so far apart from each other.
It looks like you managed to come up with so many creative solutions - we loved the green screen you set up - but what were the biggest challenges in making an album in isolation?
When I made my album in isolation, the biggest challenge for me personally was doing it all myself and ensuring I kept up my momentum and my spirit. There were some days that I felt really good about creating music and other days not so much, I had off days like I am sure we all have during this unprecedented time. I think staying positive 24 hours a day and 7 days a week was hard but you have to find ways through it.
Your concerts are renowned for being totally vibrant and interactive experiences. But what do you think the future is for concerts? Will you eventually tour this album?
I honestly have no idea what the future holds for live concerts. I really miss going to shows and I am so excited to be back out there connecting with an audience. For now, its ZOOM baby! I think creatives channeling a new way of connecting is really interesting but, I am looking forward to getting back out there!
Why is it important to you to use your platform to amplify other voices in our community?
I really believe it’s important to amplify voices from many different communities so that we can all educate each other and learn from one another. That’s the way we will make the world a better place – I know this may sound cheesy but its necessary and the only way it will work. I really believe in that.
While we don’t all have the same platform as you, do you have any advice for your fans? What can the rest of us do to help keep positive change moving?
To help keep positive change moving, I think we all need to use our own platforms to share our voice. No matter how big or small your platform is, its so important to use it! Have real conversations with real people about progressive and important issues. Also, keep educating yourself as well as those around you.
A lot of artists have had to delay their albums due to COVID-19. Are there any you’re particularly looking forward to finally experiencing?
I am looking forward to all the pop albums! Especially all the really big pop albums that I now will be coming! I know that 2021 is going to be such a big year for Pop music and I am just so excited to see what it all brings!