“I’m quite an honest person,” 20-year-old pop singer Cher Lloyd tells Billboard at Manhattan’s Mophonics Studio, after performing a trio of songs for a Billboard Tastemakers session. “I’ve had one kind-of hit, right? I’ve had ‘Want U Back.’ No, come on, let’s not beat around the bush.”
|PHOTOS: Cher Lloyd’s Tastemakers Session|
It’s true that “Want U Back,” from Lloyd’s debut album “Sticks + Stones,” is her biggest hit to date, selling 2.2 million downloads according to Nielsen SoundScan and peaking at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s also true that a handful of Lloyd’s other singles, despite being equally punchy and intriguingly sassy, failed to overwhelm mainstream audiences, at least in the States.
The U.K. “X Factor” finalist describes the chart success of “Want U Back” as a “double-edged sword” — although Lloyd is associated most strongly with a single, three-and-a-half-minute track, she has also accrued a loyal following that packs her headline shows, such as on her recently wrapped I Wish tour. “That really says something,” says Lloyd, “and that makes me think, ‘You know what, I can keep going, and I can come back even stronger, because the fans are always gonna be there for me.'”
Indeed, Lloyd is returning with a purpose two years after releasing “Sticks + Stones” overseas (the album hit U.S. retailers last October). Her sophomore album, “Sorry I’m Late,” will offer more personal, mature songwriting upon its release on Epic Records, and will include uptempo tracks like lead single “I Wish” (featuring T.I.) as well as affecting ballads like new track “Goodnight.” Watch Lloyd perform “Goodnight” below:
Following her I Wish trek with Fifth Harmony and the release of the official “I Wish” music video last month (the clip has earned 6.4 million YouTube views to date), Lloyd has a handful of performances planned before the end of 2013, and next year, she’ll join Demi Lovato for an opening stint on her Neon Lights tour. “Sorry I’m Late” does not yet have an official release date, but whenever it drops, expect to hear a version of Cher Lloyd with a more firm artistic vision and less concern about if her song’s a “hit” or not.
“I would love to have people’s respect — that’s the one thing I work for,” she says. “It’s not to get a No. 1. It’s not to have the best music video. It’s more about having people randomly say, ‘Hey, did you hear that Cher Lloyd chick’s new song? I think it’s really cool.’ That’s what I really want. Just that, and I will be very, very happy.”
Watch a bonus Cher Lloyd performance — this time covering La Roux’s “In For The Kill” — below: