It was the first day of Cher Lloyd's "I Wish" tour and the 20-year-old British pop star had been up all morning trying to remember the lyrics to the five new songs she added to her set list. Lloyd — who said the first tour date is always nerve-wracking — admitted she has been known to forget the lyrics to her songs on occasion. And that includes the song she is best known for, "Want U Back."
"I recently performed with Taylor Swift on her tour and during soundcheck I forgot the lyrics to my own song," Lloyd said over the phone Sept. 6 from Silver Spring, Md. "I was very embarrassed. That never happened to me before during 'Want U Back.' It's my biggest song. I think it was the shock of being invited to sing with her. It's not laziness. It's nerves, because I want to do well.
"I went back to my dressing room after soundcheck and I had a word with myself and sat down with the lyrics again."
The heavily-tattooed Lloyd, who will take the stage Sunday at the Vic Theatre, delivered when it counted later that night, just like she did so often while competing on the British version of Simon Cowell's "The X Factor" in 2010. She eventually finished fourth on the singing competition, right behind boy band-of-the-moment One Direction, which finished third. Since then, Lloyd has signed with Syco Music (Cowell's record label) and released her 2011 debut album, "Sticks + Stones." Her next album will feature the recently released single "I Wish," with rapper T.I., and is tentatively scheduled to hit stores around November.
While some artists feel more pressure with their second albums after having success with their debuts, Lloyd, who has more than 5 million followers on Twitter, said she is more relaxed this time around.
"Now it's time for me to have a little fun with it," Lloyd said. "(With the first album,) I felt so pressured into having a hit and making everyone happy. But this one isn't about that. This album taps into who I am. It's a completely different side of me. It's becoming a lot easier to be open and honest. It wasn't easy before because of my age and my (reality TV) background."
It helps that Lloyd has Cowell's backing. The blunt former "American Idol" judge called Lloyd's newest single "fantastic" on Twitter last week, demonstrating the same sort of support he showed her on "X Factor."
"It's always lovely when someone so respected in the industry compliments you," Lloyd said. "Simon has always been a massive supporter of mine. While I split the national opinion, Simon always backs me up. He's an honest and open person, and if he didn't like it I think he'd say he didn't like it."
Along with One Direction, The Wanted, Ed Sheeran and Rita Ora, Lloyd has been part of a "British Invasion" of sorts in the U.S. music industry. She is well aware of the British pop acts that have tried to break through in the U.S. and failed, which is why she said she isn't taking her success for granted. "I think we've been given a massive opportunity," Lloyd said. "The door just opened and we all ran through it. It happened so quickly."
Lloyd said making it in the U.S. is more work than it is in the U.K. because the travel is longer and the press schedule is more demanding, due to the number of media outlets — but she has been up to the challenge so far.
"I have told myself I live in the U.K., but the reality is I spend most of the time here," Lloyd said. "I think it's because I miss the U.K. so much, it makes me feel better. But I don't have a home in the U.K."
In order to stay connected with her homeland, Lloyd watches British soap operas on her computer at the end of the day, including the long-running "Coronation Street." Asked if she has adjusted to driving on the right side of the road in the U.S., Lloyd said she has yet to get behind the wheel here.
"I can't," Lloyd said. "I'm too nervous to drive here on the other side of the road. I would be terrible. Luckily, I always have a driver, so there's no reason for me to drive."
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave.
Tickets: $24 at victheatre.com