Cher Lloyd On Her “Sirens” Video, Those Pesky Leaks & New LP ‘Sorry I’m Late’: Idolator Interview

Cher Lloyd has come a long way since the release of Sticks + Stones in 2011. For starters, the 20-year-old dictated the musical direction of long-awaited sophomore set Sorry I’m Late (due May 27) — ditching the catchy (but forced) hip-hop/pop fusion of her debut LP in favor of a more personal and authentic sound.

And the ballsy change of pace paid immediate dividends. “Sirens” shows a whole new side of Cher. The lyrics are raw and vulnerable, and she delivers the best vocal of her career over subtle synths and strummed guitars courtesy of Swedish hitmakers Carl Falk and Rami Yacoub. As far as soaring mid-tempo ballads go, it’s really very hard to beat.

The fiery Brit dropped by the Idolator office yesterday (April 28) to discuss her surprising “Sirens” video and upcoming LP. She turned out to be a most welcome guest — cracking jokes and speaking her mind with no filter. Cher even spent some time replying to questions that fans submitted via Twitter. Find out exactly what’s on her mind after the jump.

What was the concept of your “Sirens” video?

The main thing for me with this video is that I wanted to keep it very vague because I feel like all of my previous videos have had such a solid story to them. Everything had to mean something, the viewers had to understand exactly what was going on… they were very predictable pop song videos.

I wanted to come up with something that would let my barriers down and let people into my world and have an understanding of what life used to be like for me. So it’s very personal. It’s taken me a long time to let anyone know anything about my life before.

Do you think it will surprise people?

Yes. People are going to be questioning a lot throughout the video because to look at me, I just look like a 20 year old that rose to fame on a TV show and life has been fantastic. Although I had a great upbringing, I hit many speed bumps along the way. I think it’s really important to let people know that to get a better understanding of exactly who I am.

Nothing is ever perfect. I have days where I sob. I cry about the most ridiculous things but I’m ok to talk about that. You might see me in a magazine looking all pretty on a red carpet but you don’t know what went on before that carpet and what went on after.

Is “Sirens” a good indication of Sorry, I’m Late?

Many of the tracks on Sorry, I’m Late are emotional and kind of vulnerable. For the first time in four years I’ve been able to do something myself without people pre-planning or organizing who I’m going to go into the studio with, what kind of sound I’m looking for. I was basically given full reign and I was allowed to roam LA and just work with people. And that’s why I feel this album is the best I’ve ever done.

What attracted you to the new collaborators?

Some of the people I worked with, I’d worked with previously but in saying that — those were the people that let me do as much as they could let me do. So to be able to go back in with them just recently and be able to say ‘no, actually this is what I’d like to do’ made it one thousand times better.

We got a better outcome. Sometimes when you listen to people’s music, you can tell when it’s manufactured or not. It’s fine to have a hip hop song but whether you believe in it or not is the main thing.

How did you feel about the album cover leaking early?

My album is being placed in multiple stores right now. Target is stocking it. Walmart is stocking it. All these different outlets are stocking my record and I am so grateful to have these big, massive department stores for stocking my CDs but the problem is they all get given the artwork to post on a specific date so that I could do my puzzle pieces campaign with my fans.

So Walmart accidentally released it too quickly and it kind of put a spanner in the works and I had to just release it myself. The explicit version. I felt like I wanted my fans to see the explicit version, I didn’t want them to necessarily see the toned down version first. That’s why I was a bit like ‘oh for god’s sake!’

It must have been frustrating.

Yeah it’s very frustrating and it’s the same with my music as well.

A lot of your music has leaked online…

I’m forever having leaks! It’s crazy. I work so hard to make it not happen that when it does, I am just so upset about it. I get straight on the phone to the people at the label and I’m like ‘what the fuck happened?’ Not because I don’t want anyone to hear it, it’s because I want my fans to hear it from me. It’s my work, it’s not their work. The people that are leaking it, they didn’t make that music. I did.

Let’s quickly go back to the cover. It’s very striking! 

It’s so me. On a regular day you’ll catch me like that. I’m such a chilled out person. I have learned to shrug off what people say about me and their opinions. Although I’ve learned to take people’s criticisms onboard and reevaluate the situation but I’m not going to say that I ever listen to them. (Laughs).

Your album title makes a statement. You were quite vocal when it got pushed back. 

Definitely.

Can you explain what happened?

The main thing for me, the thing I will never understand and be able to accept, is that anything that happens lands on me. So if you push my album back, the fans can’t get to you and be angry at you, they’re going to be angry at me. And that’s why it’s so frustrating for me with everything. There’s a guy in the suit making the decision but he’s not going to take the blame for it. I am.

The main thing for me is that I have got a line and if things take too long and I’m starting to get restless and my fans are getting restless then I take it upon myself to just do it anyway. And then I’ll deal with the consequences after. What’s the worst that can happen? It’s going to get leaked anyway!

Well, it’s all happening now. Are you relieved that it’s all coming together? 

It feels good because it’s been such a long time that I felt — to be completely honest — that I wasn’t doing anything and that for me is very frustrating. I am the type of person that wants to be out and about every day getting my work done and being able to reach out to all my fans. So if I’m not out doing stuff like this [interview] then my fans are not hearing from me. So now that we’ve got all this material that’s finally out there I can get back to doing what I do best.

How do you explain your huge (and growing) US fan base? 

The amount that it’s grown in the past couple of years has been crazy for me. What’s really funny for me coming from the UK is that the UK doesn’t really know what’s going on right now because I’ve been in the states for two years. They’re not really aware of what’s going on.

Recently there was an article put out by a UK publisher and I was on a red carpet and on a red carpet they will hold your name up on a board for everyone. They held my name up on a board and a photographer took the picture with my name in the background while I was posing for pictures and the article said people in America don’t know who she is because she has to have a name board. And when you read stuff like that you’re kind of like ‘really?’ I’ve been here for two years, I’ve got six million followers on Twitter. I would hope that people did know me!

Would you mind answering some questions submitted by fans?

Of course not. Let’s do it!

Unbelievably soon.

Emotional, vulnerable and sad.

Every year my parents and my grandparents would take us down to the beach and we would stay there for a weekend. I just remember having warm donuts and just having fun with my family.

I knit every day. I was at my mum and dad’s house and I found this suitcase and I opened it up and it was all this knitting equipment. I asked what all the knitting stuff was doing there and they said that it was my great gran’s. She left it to my parents when she died, so I said ‘how do you think she would feel if I took it up and I carried it on and kept using this stuff?’ So I’ve still got the knitting needles that used to belong to my great grandmother.

There will be Target bonus tracks.

My favorite thing about being married is that it’s just the same as having a boyfriend. It’s just the same but we’ve got a stronger bond and there’s commitment and all that nice stuff.

“Air Balloon”.

I should hope so! If not I’ll be mad!

It’s not released yet. Does the title not say it all?

Oh my god! Well my mum had four and Craig’s mum had four, so I would like four and I would like them close together.

[Laughs]. Slightly similar to living in a tent. Try it out.

Too hard to say but I remember the day I got number one in the UK. That was a pretty insane day. It was my birthday. I think it might have been my 18th birthday and I got number one and I just remember going out that night and celebrating my birthday and the fact that I had just got a number one. Me and my husband were jumping on the bed like children.

I wouldn’t say I’m angry. I’d say that these things happen. The one thing that makes me the most angry is that it’s not within my control. There’s nothing that I can do about it. Now they have it and they can now talk about it proudly instead of feeling guilty for having it when they’re not supposed to.

I don’t know because that’s her song. But if she was to say do you want to do a video to the song, I’d most definitely. It would be a pretty cool video.

I don’t have a favorite because it’s like picking a favorite child. You can’t do that. I feel like “Good Night” is one that sticks out. I think I’m most proud of that.

Are you excited to hear Sorry, I’m Late? Let us know in the comments below.

Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.