Music & Nightlife

Charli XCX on bikinis, and zombies, and boozing... oh, my!

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British pop star Charli XCX won’t be the oldest performer to take the Spectrum Center stage next Tuesday night during Kiss 95.1’s Kissmas Concert – that distinction will belong to DNCE drummer Jack Lawless, who is 29.

The “Boom Clap” singer-songwriter also isn’t the youngest act in the lineup, which is led by 18-year-old Shawn Mendes.

But it’s a pretty safe bet that XCX, 24, will be the Kissmas act wearing the least amount of clothes. And if an article of that clothing happens to, um, slip out of position, know this: It’ll be splashed all over British newspapers, because... well, we’ll let her explain.

“They’re always saying I’m having wardrobe malfunctions,” XCX told the Observer, referring to tabloid “stories” as recent as The Sun’s “Charli XCX ... flashes her bum on the red carpet” just two weeks ago. “They’re like, ‘Oh, she had another wardrobe malfunction because she wore a bikini.’ I’m like, No, obviously I’m wearing a f------ bikini because that’s my vibe, you know? Whatever. There’s a market for that s---, and they need to write about something. I really don’t care.”

(Cue Icona Pop’s 2012 hit featuring vocals by XCX: “I don’t care, I love it, I don’t care...”)

Of course, XCX has made news for more-traditional reasons, too: She was nominated for record of the year and best pop duo/group performance Grammys for “Fancy” (along with Iggy Azalea) in 2015; her sophomore album, “Sucker,” was named the best pop album of 2014 by Rolling Stone; and behind the scenes, she’s penned hits for artists like Selena Gomez (“Same Old Love”).

But in interviews, she’s so quotable because she’s so not traditional. And with that said, here are six other headlines from our recent conversation with XCX.

1. The music video for her sugary-sweet new single, “After the Afterparty,” features teen zombies in pink chomping on bubblegum flesh during a foam party... we’re not sure. Just because, apparently? “There are so many songs about partying,” said the noted (and unapologetic) lover of living it up. “I didn’t wanna make a party video with me in a club, because I’ve seen that so many times before, and they’re usually by people who do that better than I could do that anyway. So I wanted to make a party that only I could go to, you know? A very Charli XCX f----d-up party. So yeah, we just decided everybody had to be zombies.”

2. For a month leading up to the video shoot, she worked out regularly, avoided sugar and didn’t drink any alcohol. “That kind of ended the first night I was shooting the video,” she said, with a laugh. “We shot it over two nights, from 7 p.m. till 7 a.m... My call time wasn’t until 3 a.m., so I just sat in my trailer. There was a full rider of all of my favorite booze, and I just got really, really wasted. ... It was funny that I’d basically done this whole thing for the video, but then was really drunk at the video.”

3. But, like, did she learn anything from her monthlong wellness kick? “Just kind of the boring health stuff, really. I mean, it was fine,” XCX said. Oh, one benefit she hadn’t expected: “I had never really exercised before in my life, and now I own a bunch of pretty cool gym outfits, which is great.”

4. Speaking of fashion, she virtually never makes it onto anyone’s “best-dressed” list at awards shows. But – surprise! – she doesn’t care. “Sometimes I don’t think about it at all,” XCX said of her outfits. “I mean, if I’m doing a red carpet or something, I’ll kind of think about it a bit more. But I don’t take fashion too seriously, and I just think it’s funny and fun that people get so angry about what people wear sometimes. I like that aspect of fashion: You really have the potential to annoy people with fashion, which is one of my favorite hobbies.”

5. She tried to expand her repertoire in 2016 by voicing a character and performing a song on the soundtrack for Sony Pictures’ “The Angry Birds Movie,” but it didn’t go quite as expected. “I really enjoyed doing the voice-over thing. I left (the recording studio) that day being like, ‘Oh my God, this is something really cool, maybe I would do more of this.’ And then I never actually saw the movie. But some of my fans went, and they were like, ‘Hey, your character didn’t f------ speak the whole time.’ So I think they cut all of my lines. ... I don’t know. My song was in it, so I think they offered me like a pity part.”

6. And finally: Her highly anticipated new album – the follow-up to 2014’s full-length “Sucker” and February EP “Vroom Vroom” – will drop in May 2017. She won’t yet reveal the title, but she was very clear about what she wants her fans to get out of the record, which she hopes will be the best pop album of the coming year: “I would say this is a total departure (from “Sucker,” which) definitely had a lot of guitar influences. I feel like I was kind of more aggressive and angry around the time of recording that album, whereas this record is much more pure pop, with some club-orientated moments in there as well. And generally, I would just say this album is a party record. You know, that’s all I wanted it to be – I just wanted it to be about partying. I wanted people to wanna play it at parties and get kind of f----- up to this album.”

Janes: 704-358-5897;

Twitter: @theodenjanes

Kissmas Concert 2016

On the bill: Shawn Mendes, DNCE, Alessia Cara, Hailee Steinfeld, Charli XCX and JoJo.

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Spectrum Center, 333 E. Trade St.

Tickets: $45 and up ($199 for VIP packages).

Details: 800-745-3000;