Cher Lloyd Goes Beyond The Brat

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For some time, the swagger-brat pose served Cher Lloyd well. From her debut at 16 on the UK’s The X Factor doing a Soulja Boy cover (she ultimately finished fourth) through her first album, Sticks and Stones, she’s never been short on energy or sass. Her infectious missive to an ex, “Want U Back,” came with a video in which she’s carted off to jail for creating mayhem in a diner, and in last year’s “I Wish” she sings about wanting a “butt” and a “rack.” Lloyd is tatted up, and on the cover of her second album, Sorry I’m Late (out this week), she’s working a '60s bubble-bath bad girl look, old-school aqua telephone in one hand, and although we can’t see it, presumably a cigarette in the other. She’s smoking and smokin’.

And, it’s not just Lloyd’s image that’s grown up considerably from age 17 to 21 — she’s begun to find her musical voice as well. She split with her old label, Simon Cowell’s Syco, and the aptly titled new album endured multiple delays. But, in the end, Cher says she had a considerably greater hand in Sorry I’m Late. While the record has no shortage of attitude-chocked dance tracks (see: “M.F.P.O.T.Y.”), it’s also got introspection, an acoustic reflection on her relationship with her father (“Goodnight”), and, in “Sirens,” a soaring single that stays just this side of bombast, showcases serious pipes, and is accompanied by a dark and personal video.

We got a taste of both the spunky and the serious sides of Cher Lloyd this week when she stopped by Refinery29 for a chat about Sorry I’m Late and more.