The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — Music
March 26, 2014
By Lily Tolchin
Lily Tolchin, 12, a seventh-grader at St. Bede School in Point
Breeze, is a contributor to the My Generation pages and also has her own blog:
Cher Lloyd, 20, is an English singer, rapper and songwriter who
became famous after she appeared on Britain’s version of “The
X-Factor” when she was 16. After seeing her perform, judge Simon Cowell
signed her to his Syco Music label, where she released the hit song “Want
U Back.” Ms. Lloyd will perform Tuesday at the Carnegie Library Music Hall
Where: Carnegie Library
Music Hall of Homestead in Munhall.
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Tickets: $24-$40; 412-368-5225 or www.librarymusichall.com
You were very shy as a child. How were you able to audition for
“The X-Factor” at such a young age?
I auditioned when I was 14, but I didn’t make it, unfortunately,
and then I went back when I was 16, and that’s when they had me on the TV. I
wasn’t too shy as a child, but it’s very nerve-racking for anyone to go and
audition for a TV show — and especially when you have to sing, too. But I
think I was just so passionate about what I was doing that I just went for it.
And I think that — as soon as I got on the stage — I was fine.
On “The X-Factor” Simon Cowell called you a brat, and
now your fans are called Brats. Why did he call you that?
The thing about Simon is that he appears to be a meanie, but
he’s really a nice guy — a really nice guy — and he is amazing at what he
does. And he called me a brat because he knew that he could call me a brat. And
it was just something fun that he used to call me, and it kind of just stuck
with my fans. So that’s how that really came about.
I read that you were bullied as a kid because you come from a
family of Gypsies. How did that affect you?
I think that bullying affects many people in different ways. I
wouldn’t say that it affected the way I felt about performing or about music in
general, but it was definitely a bit of a knock-back for me, and as I’ve always
said, if there is anyone out there that is being bullied, then my advice would
be to speak to someone, maybe a parent or a friend. It’s always better when you
can talk about it and kind of just let go of it for a second and then seek help
from whoever you’re talking to.
Did bullying help you learn to stand up for yourself more?
I wouldn’t say stand up for myself more. I’d say that it was not
a very nice time, but, you know, I’m out of that phase now. I think it’s very
difficult for anyone who’s in school — because bullying can affect your
schoolwork, too, as well as your personal life. But I think I’m definitely a
strong person now.
You write a lot of your songs. What do you enjoy more — singing
Well, songwriting is just part of what I do as an artist. But I
definitely enjoy singing a lot more than I do songwriting. Because I feel like
if I just enjoyed the songwriting then I’d just want to be a songwriter. But
the experience I have on stage — it just makes me want to do what I do.
Is it hard to make the music you want when you’re working with
so many other people?
That’s a good question. It used to be difficult for me because I
had a vision of exactly what I wanted to do. And I think many other people had
their own visions. And they visualized who they wanted me to look like and
sound like. And that was very difficult for me. But I kept fighting, and I
fought against it, and — finally now — I have this amazing opportunity where
I get to make the music that I want to, and I get to dress the way that I want
to and really let my fans know who I am, as a person and as an artist as well.
So it was difficult, but I’m now past that stage.
When you started out on “The X-Factor,” did you think
you would become as big as you are now?
No, not at all. All that I knew was that I was going to work
really hard. And I was going to make the most out of the opportunity that
“The X-Factor” gave me. You know, “The X-Factor” gave me a
really solid platform, but I felt that it’s up to you to carry on from that,
it’s up to you to make the next big steps. And that’s what I did.
What other artists have inspired you, and who would you most
like to work with in the future?
I’d say that the artist that I look up to the most is probably,
definitely, Dolly Parton, And I’ve watched Beyonce perform live — it’s
incredible. And she’s someone that I can really look up to, too.
You recently got married to your boyfriend, hairdresser Craig
Monk. Has being married changed you in any way?
No, I don’t think it’s changed me in any way; it’s exactly the
same really, you know. I’ve had that question quite a lot, and, yeah, I haven’t
Is it true that you have 21 tattoos? Are you planning on getting
I don’t know how many I’ve got — I think it’s around 20, 21.
But, yeah, if I feel like it in the future, I may get more. I’m definitely not
going to say no to that.
“Want U Back” has made you famous in the U.S. Is there
any difference between being famous in the U.K.
and in America?
No, there’s not really much difference, apart from the fact that
is a much larger place. So I’d say it’s much more difficult to reach out to a
larger audience. You know — back home, it’s very small. But, yeah, there’s no
difference for me. I mean, anyplace that I release my music, I treat it exactly
the same — whether it’s large or small.
What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next
The next project is finished, and it will be released on May 27,
called “Sorry I’m Late,” and I’m extremely excited about it. Between
now and then, I’ve teamed up with MTV, and every two weeks a random fan will be
picked and they will have the opportunity to release my songs. So every two
weeks, a fan will release a new track. And this is something that no other
artist has ever done.
That sounds great. Finally, do you have any advice for kids who
are talented but are afraid to show it?
My advice to kids is to get comfortable with yourself first.
There is absolutely no rush whatsoever. I think it’s really important for you
to feel comfortable and ready before you go and do something. But that’s not to
say that you can’t go try something small. If there’s a small talent contest
within your area, go do it for the experience.
Don’t do it to put pressure
on yourself to win it — just do it for the experience. It really helps — and
that’s what I did, growing up as a young kid, too.