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International Star You Should Know: Allie X

Katy Perry tweet helps propel Canadian singer-songwriter's 'Catch' to Billboard heights

TORONTO ROOTS: Born Alexandra Hughes, the singer toiled away in numerous Toronto bands before moving to Los Angeles for a songwriter gig last summer. While writing tracks with fellow Canadians Cirkut and Billboard, partners of Dr. Luke, who have crafted tracks for Kesha, Britney Spears and the Weeknd, she developed the Allie X identity, which she said thrives on her anxiety and “a dark black hole of ambition.”

BIG BREAK: Since unleashing her debut single “Catch” online in February, the Canadian singer has catapulted from relative obscurity and grabbed the attention of radio programmers in Canada, thanks to a tweet from Katy Perry, who professed her love for the synth-pop song to her more than 50 million Twitter followers.

BUILDING A MYSTERY: Bloggers were the first to embrace the cryptic metaphors layered throughout “Catch,” and the singer continues to linger in the shadows of social media, posting only cryptic images on Instagram and Tumblr. She says she hopes to build “the world of X,” encouraging listeners to tap into social-media tools to create art projects around her music.

UNDER THE RADAR: “Catch” shot onto the Billboard Hot 100 in Canada, and has climbed as high as No. 55 without the help of digital sales, a musicvideo or live appearances. To keep the momentum going, two other Allie X tracks, “Prime” and “Bitch,” have been released online.

GOING GLOBAL:This summer, she’ll make her first live performances (typically, she won’t say where), and promises that her approach to self-promotion will remain unpredictable. “I’m looking to be one of the leaders of a greater movement that people will look back on in 10 years and say, ‘That’s the time when everything changed.’ ”

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