Music

Billboard Explains: The Steady Success of Charli XCX

Charli XCX occupies a very special and very rare spot in the pop music ecosystem. On the one hand, she’s the mainstream entry point into the underground, with projects such as Vroom Vroom introducing PC music to top 40 audiences back in 2016. On the other hand, she’s also known to deliver a smash single or two for the biggest films of the year and craft chart-topping collaborations with era-defining artists.

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As the 2024 Billboard Women in Music Powerhouse honoree, Charli XCX stands as one of the most exciting figures in contemporary pop music. To contextualize her decade-long career, a trip through the Grammy nominee’s chart history is in order.

Charli XCX made her Billboard Hot 100 debut back in 2013 with “I Love It,” a boisterous synth-pop team-up with Icona Pop that reached No. 7 on the chart. The following year, Charli doubled up with two additional Hot 100 top 10 hits: “Boom Clap” (No. 8), the breakout song from The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack, and “Fancy” (No. 1), a monsterous smash collaboration with Iggy Azalea that spent seven weeks atop the ranking.

“Boom Clap,” in addition to fellow single “Break the Rules” (No. 91), appeared on 2014’s Sucker, which hit No. 28 on the Billboard 200, marking her first entry on the chart. She followed that up with four more entries, including 2022’s Crash (No. 7), her first Billboard 200 top 10 title. The following year, Charli revisited her soundtrack roots and cooked up “Speed Drive,” a single from Barbie the Album that hit No. 73 on the Hot 100 — her first entry on the chart in nine years.

With a catalog and career as kaleidoscopic as hers, Charli XCX is a Powerhouse through and through.

After the video, catch up on more Billboard Explains videos and learn about Peso Pluma and the Mexican music boomthe role record labels playorigins of hip-hop, how Beyoncé arrived at Renaissance, the evolution of girl groupsBBMAsNFTsSXSW, the magic of boy bandsAmerican Music Awards, the Billboard Latin Music Awards, the Hot 100 charthow R&B/hip-hop became the biggest genre in the U.S.how festivals book their lineupsBillie Eilish’s formula for success, the history of rap battlesnonbinary awareness in musicthe Billboard Music Awardsthe Free Britney movementrise of K-pop in the U.S.why Taylor Swift is re-recording her first six albumsthe boom of hit all-female collaborationshow Grammy nominees and winners are chosenwhy songwriters are selling their publishing catalogshow the Super Bowl halftime show is booked and more.

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