Cheryl is honest, reflective, brand new in FAULT Magazine Covershoot

Dress: Saint Laurent | Earrings: Rosantica
Photographer: Rachell Smith
Stylist: Anna Hughes-Chamberlain @ Stella Creative Artists
Hair: Larry King at Streeters using Larry King Hair Care
Makeup: Alex Babsky @ Premier Hair & Makeup
Stylist Assistant: Jessica Tarbard
Photo Assistants: Oscar Yoosefinejad & Karolina Burlikowska
Retouching: North Eleven Studio

Words: Miles Holder

It’s been a whole seventeen years since Cheryl auditioned for the reality singing show ‘Popstars: The Rivals’, going on to eventually earn herself a place in the record-breakingly successful girl group, ‘Girls Aloud’. For most of us, the rest is history – Cheryl’s hits both within the group and as a solo performer alongside her many roles as a media personality have cemented her a place in British pop culture history books.

However, while to Cheryl music has always been at the heart of her story, we seldom see stars hold control over the narrative the media chooses to create for them, and this would be no different for her.

Tomorrow, Cheryl releases new track ‘Let You’, one that opens with a frank and honest message to a past love and crescendos to an empowering chorus about taking back control over one’s decisions.

With a career replete with dizzying highs and endless lessons hard learnt, I sat down with Cheryl to discuss her career, her growth, and lay bare her FAULTs but most importantly, learn how she has come to recognise and grow from them. Enjoy.

Dress: Saint Laurent | Earrings: Rosantica | Bracelets: Susan Caplan | Bangle: Amrapali Jaipur

 

In Beyonce’s documentary ‘Homecoming’ she references not being about to go to university because Destiny’s Child was her university and the same could be said for yourself joining Girls Aloud at the young age of nineteen. Looking back on that first couple of years in the group, with hindsight what was it like to have to be hurled into the public eye in such a way?

It is crazy looking back because at the time I just thought it was all so glamorous, we were five normal girls suddenly living out our dreams. I lived with Nicola at the time and our house was a tip. We were so young and didn’t even know how to cook pasta yet and we just went along for the ride and the ride didn’t feel like it ever stopped. It’s strange looking back at that time and the difference I can see in myself today because in the last three years that I’ve seen so much growth in my maturity.

If you could go back and give that 19-year-old Cheryl any advice, what would it be?

I could give a younger Cheryl advice but I’m certain she would ignore it! *laughs* I think I’d just let her know that times are going to become hard, really hard, but no matter what she just has to keep going because in the end, she’ll finally be happy.

 

Dress: Saint Laurent | Earrings: Rosantica | Bracelets: Susan Caplan | Bangle: Amrapali Jaipur

 

What is the worst advice you ever received?

I guess more in general, there were some musical choices in terms of singles which I wish I’d fought harder for, even back in the Girls Aloud days. Sometimes decisions were made to keep the labels happy as opposed us as artists and it’s hard to put your full heart behind decisions which aren’t your own. Of course, I was young and there’s no telling if what I wanted would have been for the best commercially but at the time, they felt more like the right ones for me but I didn’t push enough for them. I’m just happy that now my knowledge and my confidence has grown and I’m able to make the important informed decisions about my work. I’d rather have my music do awfully and hold the blame myself than do anything my heart isn’t truly in.

 

Dress: Saint Laurent | Earrings: Rosantica | Bracelets: Susan Caplan | Bangle: Amrapali Jaipur

 

You have new music dropping tomorrow (Friday 30th May), can you tell us a little about the track?

I loved this song from the moment we wrote it in the studio. I knew I had to release it! I’ve made mistakes in relationships. I’ve been with men who were controlling, who made me unhappy, but I allowed it to happen. That’s what this song is about. You have to recognise it, and you have to try and not let it happen again.

How would you best describe the sound?

Honest relatable and fun, I think that pop music should always be fun.

 

Top: Re-Done Bodice Esau Yori | Tights: Wolford | Jacket: Helmut Lang

 

It sounds like you’re really putting yourself out there with this track, is it hard to be so honest when you’re under as much scrutiny as you are. That’s 17 years of putting yourself out there to be judged, do you ever read about yourself or does it not really faze you?

I stopped reading about myself long ago because I’m not there to cater to “that” world. For me being honest isn’t about discussing my day of waking up and playing with my son, it’s about sitting in a room with my closest girlfriends and sharing an experience that we can all relate to and I want to put that in my music – creating music that everyone can feel and relate to.

 

Hat: Philip Treacy | Vest and bra: Saint Laurent | Gloves: Cornelia James

 

Your fanbase varies in age wildly, does that present a challenge when you’re trying to create music which they can all relate to in their different stages in life?

I actually love how varied my fan base it, for me they’re who I’m creating music for. I love being able to connect with them all and when I go into the studio, I love being able to channel the experiences I’ve read about them going through on twitter and there’s always a common ground that we can all relate to and be a part of together.

 

After such a long career do you ever envision a world where you’ve stopped releasing music?

Music is my love and it’s my passion and there’s always going to be things that I need to say so it’s so hard to think about that time for me. I do sometimes sit back and imagine my life when I’m older and grey but I love it right now. It’s funny, the music industry keeps changing and after my break it felt like starting again because everything about the process was different and I had to learn a new industry which was very different to the one I knew before.

Top: Re-Done | Ear cuffs: Saskia Diez and Jennifer Fisher

 

With motherhood bringing a whole host of changes to your life, thinking of music specifically, have you noticed a difference in your creative process?

I think motherhood just changes you completely, for me it’s been a complete 360. I’m a completely different person and I think as a mother my perspective on certain topics has changed and while I can’t pinpoint what it is specifically, I have become a brand new person. When I’m sitting down to create music in the studio, it’s not so much that I’m writing nursery rhymes or writing for my child, it’s just that my mind is now different to how it was previously.

 

Usually, I ask this question to male singers after they’ve had daughters, but I’d be interested to know if having a son changed your mindset in any way or if there are any lessons you’ve made a conscious decision to teach him?

I think at the moment I’m just teaching him numbers and the colours and I think I’ve realised that boys kind of need mothering their whole life but it’s all very different psychology for different people. That being said, I do see how parents would change some of their views based on having daughters and rethink their past attitudes towards certain situations.

Jacket: Rejina Pyo | Trousers: Burberry | Body: La Perla | Shoes: Rene Caovilla | Earrings: Versace at Susan Caplan

What is your FAULT?

I have a lot of flaws, I swear a lot and I’m very strict on my timetable and planning and so many others. For me, it’s just important that I’m able to recognise them and from that, I can work on them and move towards becoming a better person from them.