Cher Revealed

The thing that struck me most about chatting with Cher Lloyd was her age—it was completely unapparent. The 20-year-old singer-songwriter-rapper says “don’t ‘Want U Back’” to her bubblegum pop image, speaking with an easy maturity that comes with years of experience. Though the English beauty is perhaps best known for her appearance on the seventh series of The X Factor, finishing just behind boy-band wonder One Direction, she’s making a name for herself. At her ripe age, Lloyd has matched the likes of Rihanna’s “Only Girl (in the World)” on the singles chart, broken into the Top 5 on the U.S. iTunes chart, and worked with industry giant L.A. Reid, among other music power players. But despite all this—perhaps because of all this—she’s hungry. With Lloyd’s second album, Sorry I’m Late, dropping May 27th, she proves herself fearless and ambitious. From reality shows and Demi Lovato to pop music and bullying, Lloyd tells all.

By Caroline A. Wong

w-letter-cher-lloydhen I ask Lloyd about what influenced her upcoming album, she is more than ready with an answer. “The inspiration behind this album was to basically do exactly what I wanted to do. I mean, the last album was pretty much me coming into the industry not knowing anything about it. And I think that showed,” she says in her accented voice. “With this album in particular, this is like me from the beginning. This is me starting all over again, and it screams out to my fans and to my listeners that this is exactly who I am.” The album, which follows her debut Sticks + Stones, is titled Sorry I’m Late “purely for that reason,” insists Lloyd. “I feel like I’ve finally found who I am and exactly the message that I want to give out to my fans. This album’s very special to me. I’ve never felt like this before about any of my music, so it’s a big deal.”

Although Lloyd may have gotten a fast start thanks to her appearance on Simon Cowell’s reality competition show, she’s not necessarily singing its praises. “I was doing things before I even contemplated applying to The X Factor.” Lloyd says, “I used that show as a platform. That show didn’t shape me.” What does she say to critics that think she rose to fame too quickly? “It took me over three years to get to this point where I can be like, okay, this is what I want to achieve [and] these are the goals I want to set [for] myself. You know, it took me a long time. It hasn’t been quick at all.”

Despite some skepticism from people about the longevity of a reality star’s career, Lloyd is refreshingly candid. “My barriers are down. You know, I’m not a bubblegum pop princess. There’s gonna be times [when] people are shocked by what I have to say [or when] people don’t approve of what I’m doing.” After completing two headliner tours and wrapping two albums, Lloyd is sure of herself. “I don’t have to ask anyone before I can do something. And this is what it’s all about…having that freedom and self-belief to just go through it. And I want to pass that on to my fans as well. That’s a big thing for me, is to have self-belief and just say, you know what, I’m gonna take this risk because I know it’s gonna pay off. And I know the consequences of it, but I’m just gonna go for it.”

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