If the past two years have established anything about chart rebel Charli XCX, it's that she's the number one port of call when you want to throw a last-minute pop rave. Tomorrow night in LA, however, is no ordinary XCX extravaganza. Taking place at The Globe theatre in Downtown, XCX together with her friends Allie X and Dorian Electra are hosting a star-studded lineup in aid of Billy Clayton, a young British artist and musician who has been battling a rare form of cancer for the past three years. Clayton is from Norwich, England and was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, in August 2015. At the age of 21, he has exhausted treatments in the UK and is now seeking help to attempt a breakthrough treatment in Germany to save his life.
XCX first met Clayton online and she had no idea he was suffering any health issues. “I knew of Billy as a fan of my music and I followed him back, saw that he had started making his own music, and thought he had a lot of potential,” she tells Noisey. Suitably impressed with his talent and ideas, XCX reached out to Clayton. “He's always so positive and focused on his creativity that I didn't know about his cancer. It had been going on for quite some time before I realized. He was sick, got better and was re-diagnosed.”
Upon learning of his resilience, XCX was even more inspired by Clayton's artistry and humanity. Clayton writes, performs, and produces his own beats-heavy synthpop. Last year he self-released an EP titled Bloom via Soundcloud. “He's so focused on his music and doesn't let his illness deter his confidence or stop him following his dream,” she says. A few years ago on a trip to London, she extended an invite to Clayton to come and hang out with her in the studio. “He played me stuff, I played him demos, we listened to music together. I think he's very talented and I know that a lot of people are aware of his situation. People really see his potential as an artist. I'd love to help him however I can.”
Aptly titled "The Billy Ball", tomorrow's event was initiated by LA-based alt pop star Allie X. XCX had just released her latest earworm "1999" with Aussie breakout phenomenon Troye Sivan, and was in New York for his Radio City Music Hall gig in October to perform it as a duet. Allie—one of Sivan's oldest collaborator's—was there to support. Allie had also met Clayton via the internet. “I saw that he was out of conventional methods of treatments at the hospital,” she notes. “His GoFundMe page broke my heart. I don't have tons of money, but I do know people who have high profiles. I thought of Charli because they had a history together and I thought, 'What if we just do one of Charli's parties but all of the proceeds go to Billy?'”
Immediately struck by the idea, XCX called in the cavalry, starting with performance artist Dorian Electra, who is an integral cog in all of her one-off shows (Electra was a featured artist on the track "Femmebot" from XCX's Pop 2 mixtape last year). “She's gone over and above for this particular event,” says XCX of Electra. “We've got as many of our friends as possible to perform.” The glut of performers is extensive. Alongside Allie, XCX, and Electra are Leland, Vincint, Daya, Chester Lockhart, Jesse Saint John, Jarina De Marco, Phoebe Ryan, LIZ, Powers, Carlie Hanson, and many more. “The list is endless,” XCX says, running out of breath. Tickets for the event are on sale in the link below, with all proceeds going to Clayton's gofundme page.
“Ewing's Sarcoma mainly attacks young people, which is horribly unfair,” adds Allie. “Billy's got so much potential and everyone is eager to help. ”