Can't wait for the return ofThe X Factor?: Check out Cher Lloyd, the pop singer/rapper who finished fourth on the seventh edition of the British X Factor. The 19-year-old from Malvern released her first U.S. single, Want U Back, in May, which went No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, has sold almost 1 million downloads in the USA and generated 42 million views on Vevo. Debut album Sticks + Stones arrives Stateside Oct. 2. Her goal: "The one thing I've always wanted is a No. 1 in America," Lloyd says. "That would just top everything off. And I'd feel like I had reached the point in my career that I could be very proud."
Adjusting to fame: A recent radio tour and performances on America's Got Talent and at Teen Vogue's Back to School Saturday event kept Lloyd on her bus for 20-hour drives. "But that means I get to go see all my fans in all different places." Her craziest fan experience so far? "A lot of people tend to cry and I find that very crazy. Because it's strange to think that I've actually moved someone like that."
Fans flock for "Brat Attack": While visiting L.A., Lloyd created her own signature shake at Millions of Milkshakes, a star-studded shake bar in West Hollywood. The "Brat Attack" (a tribute to her "brats," the name of her fan base) consists of Oreos, bananas, marshmallows, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry on top. A sizable crowd greeted Lloyd, causing the Los Angeles Police Department to shut down the event. "It kind of caused a big scene," she says. "I'm a bit sad, because I didn't get to take pictures with everybody. They just wouldn't let me."
Cher mania: She's attracted the attention of British paparazzi with her engagement to hairdresser Craig Monk, but she isn't wild about the focus on her personal life. ("I like people to know I'm engaged, but I feel like it's unfair to bring Craig up all the time.") She'd rather talk about her career. What are Lloyd's hopes for her album release this fall? "I'd like an older group of people to appreciate it. I feel like some people look at a pop artist and think, 'I don't want to be their fan because it might be a bit cheesy.' " But she isn't worried about impressing everyone. "The only people I'm trying to impress are my fans. Any other person who tries to criticize, it's not too much of a big deal."
Want U Back:Though Lloyd enjoys performing the song, it doesn't reflect her personality when it comes to relationships. "I wouldn't necessarily ask for someone back. It's just not who I am, but there are lots of people out there that do feel like that, so that's why I did the song." And that helicopter imitation at the end? Lloyd spills that she gets nervous in the studio. While recording Want U Back, she blurted out, "Do I sound like a helicopter?" and it stuck. "When it's silent (in the booth) and there's no music playing, I say things. And I happened to ask someone if it sounded like a helicopter that day, so that's why I did it."
In the studio: She's putting the finishing touches on several new songs for the U.S. release of Sticks + Stones. "It kind of sounds like a jukebox because every song is different. I experiment so much. Sometimes stuff doesn't sound too good and I take it off the album, and then half the time it sounds great and I keep it." She's collaborated with artists such as Mike Posner, but will there be any more collaborations on the U.S. album? "I just feel like doing stuff on my own for a little while."
Great guidance: No one in her family sings or plays an instrument, but she says they've given her the best career advice, because it comes "from people who have actually had to go through the hard stuff (with me). I realize that I've got a great life and that I get to do something I've always wanted to do, and I feel very grateful for that." Her biggest musical influence is "anyone who has guts to get up on stage, it's really tough."
Why Cher?: Lloyd is determined to not be just a blip on America's musical radar. "I don't want to just show my face and have one song out. I want to be around forever." She'll perform live on NBC's Today show Aug. 30. Any tour plans after that? "When America loves me, I'll go on tour."