AAbout a year ago, Cher Lloyd was shopping at the Disney store on Oxford Street when a new fan approached her: a middle-aged man who told her she had seen her recent appearance in Loose Women. “He said,” I just want to say that you are not as I thought you were going to be, you are not horrible at all, “Lloyd recalls.” My heart sank. “
Experience has remained with her as an example of her “heartbreaking” perception in the United Kingdom, not that she has ever been allowed to forget it. It has been almost a decade since his audition of X Factor by Soulja Boy and Turn My Swag On by Keri Hilson, still acclaimed by many as a milestone in the history of the program.
At that time, Simon Cowell’s eyes lit up before his potential: a promising singer, with an unexcused presence that made reality TV not lost. Neither the judges nor the public could believe the bronze of this Cher from Malvern, Worcestershire, who seemed convincingly older than 16, “with a pair of homemade torn jeans, hair in a crazy bun, crazy eyebrows,” as he recalls. Is now.
Perched on the couch of her PR’s house in North London, swimming in an orange hoodie and Doc Martens with jeans, Lloyd looks younger than her at that moment, softer, defenses not exactly low, but softened For a disarming humor.
The eyebrows look great, I say. “Thank you,” he says impassively. “My eyebrows and I have undertaken a journey, a transformation. We are better now. The steel returns to his voice. “But really, if you can imagine the shit I got, just for my eyebrows. Would you go to a 16-year-old girl on the street and say, “I don’t know you, but you look disgusting, with your disgusting eyebrows”? That’s what people did to me. “
Lloyd is now 26 years old, with a young family and a third album, finally on the way, however, even so, he is asked to explain his teenage identity. As of 2010, she was portrayed, obliquely in The X Factor and explicitly by the media, either as a naked diva and a desperate imitation of her mentor Cheryl Cole, or as a fragile girl, fighting with the spotlight.
“I will not lie; at that time I was very hormonal, a mischievous teenager,” says Lloyd now. “I desperately wanted them to hear me for who I was, and I didn’t understand why now a million people had something to say about me.”
He had not yet learned to express himself, he says. And it was as if only the footage in which he found himself wrong, inarticulate or frustrated, was the footage that was used. He felt his walls rise. “I had no control over how it was being edited. I think that affects me to this day, as, I am always a bit delicate with what I say. “Look at my voice recorder.” Is it going to turn a certain way to make me sound like a douchebag? “
To revisit the footage and coverage of X Factor today, it seems to show an unhappy girl, trapped in a losing situation. Just a few weeks after the competition, tonsillitis ended its performance of Cooler Than Me by Mike Posner, twice, before a waterproof will.
“Oh, that fiasco, ”she says, rolling her eyes. She has learned to laugh at it, she says, as well as the dress she was wearing: a short, frilly red number. “Horrible! I took it out of Asos for sale for six pounds. I remember thinking,” I look crazy. “
After a series of idiosyncratic mixes, influenced by hip-hop and powerful vocal performances, Lloyd was a favorite of bookmakers to win the competition, but the audience turned to her when she progressed at the expense of Gamu Nhengu and Mary Byrne At a press conference shortly before the final, he was asked about the “growing hateful online campaign” against him. “I didn’t know there was a hate campaign,” she replied, tearful and bewildered.
Despite the arrogance of her audition, she says she was a “naive young woman” who had never been to London before. “On Friday, I was a normal 16 year old girl. On Saturday, I just woke up and, apparently, I am now a celebrity? I don’t think anything could have prepared a 16-year-old to cope with those pressures. “
Malvern, where Lloyd grew up and spends much of his time, is the kind of small town where the local merchant knows everyone’s usual purchases, says Lloyd (Cherry Coke and a Doritos package where appropriate). She was the oldest of four, a protective older sister who “would have something to say” about any intimidation of her brothers. His mother is a Roma gypsy, and Lloyd’s first year of life was spent traveling in a caravan; He later lived on a council estate. Her family “went through certain times when there was a trial,” she says. “For the gypsy community, there is definitely still a stigma.”
That was perhaps even more pronounced 10 years ago, when the term “chavs” was in common language and there was little positive representation of the working class in the media. A popular Facebook page called Lloyd “the Primark Cheryl Cole”; When My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding was aired on Channel 4, it was the subject of jokes on social networks.
His family’s scrutiny peaked at half of Factor X, when his uncle died of an overdose of methadone. (The coroner accepted that Edward Smith had been “tricked” into taking the drug, filing an open verdict). Lloyd did not attend the funeral for fear of attracting paparazzi, and gave a tearful performance in the Stay by Shakespears Sister program. considered as one of its best. “I love that song, and that performance was great, but I was distressed and didn’t know how to cope,” she says.
Lloyd remembers having been taken before in the competition, along with the other contestants, to talk with two mental health professionals about how he was dealing, but he still felt unsupported and sometimes exploited. “I remember and think, God, that put me in that position.” Even now he feels guilty of losing his service. “The headlines would have been:” Big Fat Gypsy Funeral. “I know I’m right, I’ve been around long enough. I know what people want from me.”
When Lloyd finally ranked fourth with the least amount of public votes, the Post described it as the “ungrateful failure of the X Factor.”
Far from making his career as a musician, the “reality television luggage” almost ruined him. “What puzzles me is that they created a character, but then, after the show, they expected him to be a respected and full-fledged artist. I had to do damage control. And yet, at 26, I have to do damage control. Years later, I have some anger towards people for doing that to me. She laughs. “I definitely don’t say hello and I shake hands with certain people.” He even refuses to play Swagger Jagger, his first single after the X Factor and a UK number one, because it reminds him of his teenage “angry and scared” self. : “I look back and I think it’s a sad song.”
However, he hopes that the public will now be more aware of how reality shows can turn participants into cartoons and, after the suicide of a former guest of Jeremy Kyle, of what is at stake. “That awareness will continue, hopefully, where people think:” You know what? I don’t want to have any participation in this process of destroying another person. “
Lloyd herself could start over in the US. UU., Where he moved in 2012 after Want U Back reached number 9 on the Billboard pop list. That December, he performed at Madison Square Garden, at the time he says he felt further away from the property of the council where he grew up: “like being on another planet,” he says, dreamily.
It was the best moment of his life to date. In the United States, “it was not” Cher Lloyd, the gypsy boy, blah, blah, blah. “It is literally ‘Singer and songwriter Cher Lloyd goes to the Today Show.'” The news of her success also returned to the other Atlantic side: “There is definitely a lot of pride when your own country supports you to do well elsewhere.”
By then, Lloyd had begun to see Craig Monk, a hairdresser whom he had seen for the first time in an “elegant” Mayfair salon; they married in 2013. She attributes it to keeping her humble at the height of her success, despite being a wife at age 20 (not unusual for traveling families, she says) excluded her from some professional opportunities. “There was this question of” if she’s married, she’s out of the market, “and that angle doesn’t allow me to sell my music.”
There have been other comments. “‘If you wore a little more elegant clothes, if you wore your skirt a little shorter, maybe you would get a little more recognition,’ yes, that happened.” It was even suggested that being romantically linked with another celebrity help his career “‘If you go to this club, you bump into someone and get hooked on it, that would be a great way to start the next single.’ I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen a connection for the impulse of a single. Lloyd makes fun of me for being surprised. “It’s the joys of being a woman in the music industry,” he says dryly. When his second album, Sorry I’m Late, He reached number 12 on the Billboard 200 in 2014, Lloyd felt that Epic Records had not pressed him enough and left the seal.It was another daunting new start.But this time, she felt in charge.
Lloyd spent his break from the industry in the studio, trying to land on a new sound; making a house in Essex to sell (“Very funny. Very stressful”); and become a mother. His daughter was born in May 2018.
That October he released his return single, None of My Business, with positive reviews, and a year later came M.I.A. – An elegant and intelligent pop song and the main single from his third album. Lloyd was determined, she says, not to give in to fear that motherhood would stop her career. “Two weeks after having the baby, I went back to the meetings and took the baby.” Six weeks later, he had a photo shoot.
On his recent regional radio tour, a “recurring theme” was the false concern about “balancing” motherhood and music. “From course I can do both, ”he says with disdain. “There are thousands of women across the country who do really difficult jobs, and also balance motherhood.” Monk and his family in Malvern (where he intends to buy a house) make it possible. When I ask Lloyd if she is a feminist, she looks at me and pampers “duh.” A lot of celebrities shy away from etiquette, I say, properly punished.
“If I were a guy, do you think they would have asked me if I could go on tour? Hmm? Can my husband not take care of the baby?” Lloyd is so focused on his interrogation that all I can say, meekly, is: ” Yes, Cher, I agree. “
Before he had his baby, he says, he was in talks for a great promotional opportunity that didn’t materialize. “The comment I received was: ‘You could see it negatively, she was coming back so soon after having a baby.’ I remember thinking: ‘Wow, it’s fine, so I can’t decide when my body is ready, when my baby is Are you ready? ‘I remember that I was impressed by that … a career opportunity that I didn’t have for being a mother. But it hasn’t stopped me, “he adds.
It’s hard to know what I would do. While embarking on this last stage of his career, he hopes to move on with his past. A recent interview referred to her as “the most hated teenager in Britain,” he says, with something between disbelief and frustration. “I’m the mother of a little girl. I released two albums and got a top 10 hit in the United States. I’m not the” most hated teenager, “I’m 26 years old! We’ve advanced!”
The interviewers will still post their comments that she made then, “hoping to trigger a certain reaction,” she says. What comment is that they keep trying to hug her? “I can’t even mention it, because you know what would happen, that will be the headline.” She raises those perfect eyebrows, hits her temple. “Nine years later, I have become smarter.”