The first thing most people want to know about Cher Lloyd is, ‘What does the music sound like?’ Then it’s ‘What’s she really like?’ To kill the proverbial bird with the proverbial stone, it/ she is dynamic, determined, funny, outspoken, totally inimitable, incredibly astute and really very enjoyable to spend time with. Creating an album that quite brilliantly yet succinctly defines her multi-faceted personality; the debut album ‘Sticks & Stones’ delivers on both upbeat pop smashes and punchy urban panache.
After coming fourth on the most talked about TV talent show of all time, Cher was soon snapped up by Simon Cowell’s record label, Syco. But rather than propel her down an obvious pop route, they encouraged Cher to follow her musical instincts. This was, after all, the girl who performed Keri Hilson’s version of Soulja Boy’s “Turn My Swag On” for her initial audition, before bringing down the house later in the series with “Stay” by Shakespeare’s Sister. Far from obvious choices. To date, Cher’s version of “Swag” has had over 50 million views on Youtube. Indeed, she already has a huge following; following X Factor, Cher has become one of, if not the most talked about people from the show. With over 600,000 followers on Twitter, around 100 million views on Youtube, the cover of RWD magazine and features in fashion bible Wonderland, Cher is undoubtedly the poster child for alternative urban pop this year. Balancing the fine line between commercial and credible, the genre-baiting, tempo-twisting first single, No.1 hit “Swagger Jagger”, with its nagging nursery rhyme motif, euphoric airhorns and playfully assertive wordplay, introduces Cher as someone who might have one eye on the charts but who is also unafraid to experiment.
It was a fascination with discovering new music that led Cher Lloyd to her career path of choice. Tuning into stations like 1Xtra and Youtube phenomenon SB:TV, the Worcester born singer was instinctively interested in seeking out new sounds. “Because I’m competitive with my music, I wanted to know about new stuff first. I just always wanted to be the one to say to my friends ‘Have you heard this?’ and be the first out of everyone to find new music,” she remembers. After surfing the net for hours checking out blogs, digital radio and Youtube, she stumbled across people doing their own versions of songs, which sparked her own innate interest in performing. Inspired by UK underground acts like JME, Wiley and Bashy as well as established Americans artists like Nicki Minaj, Gwen Stefani, Fergie and Lil Wayne, Cher decided that she wanted to be singer who also rapped and began practicing relentlessly at home in her bedroom. Her debut album will reflect her multi-talented approach; as well as uptempo club tracks, you can also expect sung-through power pop ballads that perfectly showcase Cher’s vocal ability.
With references to Mr. Bean and her broad British accent, the album is distinctly and proudly UK-centric, while reggae, dubstep and rap beats open Cher to a wider audience. With the 18 year-old already on the US radar thanks to her association with Will.I.Am, her album asserts her global appeal by offering inventive production and a range of rhymes that are in turn frank and funny. The diverse and imaginative album features collaborations with Busta Rhymes, Mike Posner and new British rapper Dot Rotten. Cher’s debut features the touch of some of music’s most illustrious producers and writers. Max Martin (Britney, Katy Perry, Usher), Red One (Lady Gaga, J-Lo), Shellback (Pink, Maroon 5,), Savan Kotecha (Britney, Usher), Kevin Rudolph (Lil Wayne) and TMS (Dappy, Professor Green, Lily Allen) have all collaborated with Cher to create a collection of contemporary, street-wise pop treasures, with the lady herself co-writing a number of the songs.
“Each and every track is different; it’s just a massive amount of variety,” Cher decides. “It’s like I’ve got a music box and there’s wild things popping out all over the place. You could describe it as ‘Swag Pop’, but I’d also describe it as ‘Grit-Ya-Teeth’ as well,” she laughs.
‘Grow up’ is a song Cher wrote for her generation, which sees her collaborate with legendary rapper Busta Rhymes. This reggae influenced track has an infectious chorus that won’t leave your head. However it is Cher’s second single release ‘With Ur Love’, which features US singer / songwriter Mike Posner that has been causing the hype with over 9 million views on YouTube in two weeks.
Another standout track ‘Superhero,’ produced by Jukebox (Willow Smith - Whip My Hair) laments the end of a relationship over a rapturous 'throw back' beat, with Cher left tormented by love's anguish. Demonstrating a diverse sound, Cher partners with American indie rock band Carolina Liar for the emotional ‘Beautiful People,’ a powerful heart wrenching ballad. Elsewhere on the album Cher hooks up with Red One and samples the legendary Neneh Cherry on ‘Player Boi,’ reworking the lyrics of the classic ‘Buffalo Stance’ and incorporating that unmistakeable hook.
Cher has been involved in the creative behind the album, co-writing on a number of tracks and attending sessions in the US, UK and Sweden. Despite working with huge hitmakers, she refused to be intimated, and was keen to ensure her ideas were put across. “At first I was scared by all these big producers, and going on my own to America was quite daunting. But now it’s like ‘Actually, I’ve got the chance to be here, so why be so afraid?’
For Cher Lloyd, it is quite genuinely all about the music; her biggest ambition is to carve herself a niche within the overpopulated pop-esphere and judging by reactions to "Swagger Jagger" and “ With Ur Love” she's more than achieved that. “I just wanted to make sure my music was completely different to everyone else’s. It’s sort of simple really; I had a vision and that vision has become reality now.”
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