Since returning to her seat for her fourth year as a judge on X Factor, having been away for what seems like more than four years, there’s something noticeably different about Cheryl. And it’s not just her new double-barrelled surname, Fernandez Versini…
The judge has come a long way since receiving a text from Simon Cowell’s people sacking her from the US version of the show. What, you forgot about that? So did we!
Back then, Simon himself even said that Cheryl was a ‘different person’ and that ‘she’d lost her confidence’ after turning up for the first round of auditions of the US show in ‘that’ infamous outfit.
After a rather public humiliation, she isn’t willing to take any chances moving forward with Simon Cowell warning him ‘never to let her down again.’
Returning to our screens every Saturday night feistier than ever, she’s adored by women. Not because of her sense of style, her petite frame or cheek but her reputation precedes her. With her head held high and her past forgotten, she’s working with recording artists to produce a totally new sound.
This is a woman who is a fighter and knows exactly what she wants – given her trials and tribulations. She wants to the set the record straight.
Cheryl herself confirms that she’s moved away from the days where perhaps she might have been in ‘crazy stupid love’ – a nod to her former partner.
Now it seems, she’s not afraid to show this completely new found persona and, if Saturday night live shows are anything to go by, her attitude is causing a stir among the judges and contestants alike. This assertiveness is clearly reflected in her new music.
Her new single, ‘I Don’t Care’ has a very up-beat dancy feel to it but we can’t help asking ourselves what or who the lyrics are really about? Is that cynical of us? “It means exactly what it says on the tin!” she assures us. The song is, apparently, ‘One of those feel free, have fun, one of those don’t-really-give-a-sh*t-vibes.’ How she really feels about life right now, apparently. Yes, Cheryl, we all get those days when we feel like, well, we’ve just left the office after a long week and we’re in need of a Lambrini or two!
Is this another response from the female artist still scorned by her former lover or, in fact, Simon? It seems not. When quizzed about how happy in her life she is right now and if this is the message that she wants to convey to her fans, Cheryl explains that she ‘hasn’t cared for a long time really.’ “You can’t live your life worrying about what other people think or say about you. Even if I do hope that people enjoy what I do, I can’t make that the sole focus of my life because that would make me miserable.”
Her modesty continues, shrugging off her second fashion distraction very well – after Simon’s ‘Kermit the Frog’ snide comment – despite warning Cowell. “I couldn’t care less, honestly. It’s not a big deal and I loved that dress. It was nod to the eighties.”
In her new video, Cheryl has a make-up-free appearance, which is stark contrast to her Saturday night dress code and well groomed mien.
From observation, it seems that this new-found attitude extends to her physical appearance. She is now, more than ever, comfortable in her skin and so she should be. After all, this is a woman who has been through the mill. Poor pet! “It’s quite liberating. In one scene I have make-up on from the night before, like when you wake up and you’ve forgotten to take > your make up off.” Yes, Cheryl – as if any woman likes to be caught on camera the morning after the night before! “In another scene I’ve got no make-up, running along the beach carefree. Like we all do in life.” Ahem.
We do, however, admire how she’s encouraging us all to feel the exact same way about ourselves too. “Enjoy life and stop worrying about pointless little things. Stupid things,” she explains. Hear hear, Chezza!
Going back her to album, there’s a strong R&B theme running throughout and she believes that this is now, perhaps, her sound. “It’s the kind of music that I grew up listening to. It’s who I am influenced by and that I enjoy.” will.i.am has had ‘a ‘massive influence over her solo
career’. And having worked with Calvin Harris on the last Album, who is she willing to collaborate with next?
Keeping her career interesting, she has an ear to the ground and is heavily influenced by ‘people closest to her’ which is key to ‘staying relevant as an artist’ –
apparently. Cheryl confirms she has been working with Liam Payne from One Direction when writing her songs. “We worked on a ballad that was interesting and I wanted to put that on the album despite it not making the cut.” Liam recently remixed her latest single which is delighting fans in both camps.
Given the urban influences behind the songs on the new album, Cheryl proclaims that she doesn’t have a club record when she’s out partying regardless of the melody mixed in her new track and an interest dub-step. Although she remains true to her pop career. [Never forget where you come from, lass!] “Obviously, I’ve been in Girls Aloud for ten years and pop has been a big part of my life and it’s important. However, I wanted to include a little bit of everything; me, pop and hopeful messages which I hope come through on this new album.”
It’s evident that Cheryl isn’t afraid of exploring new sounds or ventures. On Jonathan Ross Show, the singer and Mel B spoke about the idea of Spice Girls Vs Girls Aloud X Factor and is on ‘Simon’s case to make it happen.’
Even if the girl-band weekend tribute doesn’t progress further in the near future, Cheryl has already performed on the show even if it was on her own.
It’s hard for Cheryl to choose a personal favourite track from the album, changing her mind more often than she does her dresses. One thing she is certain of though, is her discovery of philosophy to help influence her fans and music which could be the reason for her new ‘I don’t care’ method. Her first track on the album opens up with snippets from philosopher, Alan White. “I was really blown away by it. I really related to it. I know lots of young teenagers and young kids online and on my social network platforms that are confused about life and which way to go or which direction to take. I felt it was a powerful message to put out there.”
Despite seeing herself as a recording artist first and foremost, television is an add-on and a part of what she does. “It is an extension of what I do. It’s still music related even if it’s not me. It’s me helping someone create what I do. It’s helping somebody and giving them to opportunity to have what I have. Look at One Direction, Cher Lloyd or even Ella Henderson, people who have come from the X Factor. To be part of a journey like that, it’s just as much fun as doing it yourself.” And this year’s winner of the X Factor is in her category – Cheryl firmly believing that one of her girls stand a chance.
So what does the future hold for Cheryl? Right now, she’s in discussions with her management to potentially tour the UK in 2015, after her role as a judge ends but in the long term, she is interested in considering management or running a label. Wow! There’s no stopping this woman who ‘doesn’t seem to care.’