Amelia Lily isn’t a household name here in America yet, but in her native UK, she’s managed to ascend to superstar status with remarkable speed. Since rising to fame on the merits of her gorgeously smoky pipes and irrepressible energy as a finalist on The X Factor in 2011 — she placed third — the teenage chanteuse went on to sign a three-album deal with iconic English hitmakers Xenomania (responsible for some of Girls Aloud and The Saturdays’ biggest hits) and immediately notched a smash single with her debut track “You Bring Me Joy,” which peaked at #2 in the UK and topped charts across Europe. Now, she’s supporting Girls Aloud on their arena tour while putting the finishing touches on her debut album, Be a Fighter, due in late April. Her sound is somewhere between the aggressive pop-rock of Pink and the frenetic pep of Cher Lloyd, with occasional shades of Kylie Minogue‘s dreamy disco, packaged in an 18-year-old blonde bombshell. (Basically, she’s the ultimate pop star.)
We caught up with Amelia over in London to talk about the shape of her upcoming LP, touring with the Almighty Aloud and growing up in the public eye.
Amelia Lily — “You Bring Me Joy”
Idolator: Tell us about the post-X Factor journey.
Amelia Lily: Since The X Factor, it’s really been straight ahead into the album. I met Xenomania, who are Girls Aloud’s hitmakers, and we kind of had this connection, and started getting in the studio, writing some tracks together, and I just really enjoyed myself. I felt really at home there. I really liked the people. And one thing led to another, and we just came up with these songs, and then all of a sudden the first single was yet to be released, so it was a bit of a whirlwind. Everything came really fast. It was kind of crazy.
What made you want to work with Xenomania, specifically?
I connected most with them because I felt like [the studio] was my second home. The people are so loving and welcoming and I felt like I had been there for years, even on my first day. It’s such a lovely location. It’s Brian’s house! It’s a big mansion and half of it is his house and half of it is a studio, and it’s great because you feel really at home there, you can just sit in the kitchen and be like, “So what are we gonna do next?” It’s pretty amazing.
What’s the process been like of putting together your debut album, Be a Fighter?
Be a Fighter is a very strong album for me. I feel so passionately about it is because I feel like I’ve grown up throughout recording it. I was 17 when I started; I’m now 18. People are going to hear the mature side of Amelia there, but also the fun teenage Amelia as well. It’s so diverse, and the whole process of making it — I didn’t really know what was going to happen because we were coming up with so many songs, and we struggled to fit them all on the album. We had to cut some off; maybe we’ll use them another time. But every song is completely different and that was the one thing I wanted to do: To make it as fun as possible, and unpredictable, and not boring.
Amelia Lily — “Shut Up (And Give Me Whatever You Got)”
You’ve been touring with Girls Aloud — how did that come about?
Oh, that came to me as such a surprise. I was in Norway when I found out, lying in my bed in my hotel room, and my manager was like, “Okay, I’ve got some big news — don’t freak out.” I didn’t know what to expect. And she said, “You’re supporting Girls Aloud on their arena tour.” I just started jumping up on the bed like a little kid. Wow — I am having the absolute time of my life. It’s amazing to be on the biggest stages in the country, and I’m so grateful that they asked me to be a part of this tour. Performing live is my favorite thing about this job.
What’s your favorite song on the album that fans have yet to hear?
My favorite song on Be a Fighter is “The Hills.” It describes the journey I’ve been through in my life to get to where I am now, so for em, it’s a very personal song. I remember when I finished recording it in the studio, I actually cried. It’s just really emotional. I feel like everybody has to climb to get to the top; that’s what that song is about for me. I just want people to hear it and be inspired by it. It means a lot to me.
Do you have any plans to launch with this album in America?
It’s definitely on my wish list. To go to America would be a massive dream of mine. But you know what, I think I’m really young and I feel like I’ve still got lots of time to grow. Maybe on the next album I do something completely different. I want to do a different kind of sound on every album. I just want to make people happy when they listen to my songs, so I would do my best to do killer songs for America. But a lot of the songs on this album are very country. There’s a song called “Walk In My Shoes” that’s very country, very acoustic-based. I have a passion for country music, so I’ll be excited to see what America thinks of it.