Lloyd's debut single "Swagger Jagger" was released in July 2011. The single entered at number one on the UK Singles Chart and number two in the Republic of Ireland. Her second single "With Ur Love" was released on 31 October 2011, featuring Mike Posner, and peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart, and number five in Ireland, preceding her debut album, Sticks and Stones, which peaked at number four in the UK Albums Chart and number seven in Ireland. She debuted her third single "Want U Back" on 22 May 2012 in the United States
Cher Lloyd was raised in Malvern, Worcestershire with her parents Darren and Diane and her three younger siblings Sophie, Josh, and Rosie. Her family is of Romani origin, and Cher spent the first year of her life travelling around Wales with her young parents in a caravan. She was teased and bullied by classmates for her origins, and called "pikey" or "gypo" at school. Lloyd attended Dyson Perrins High School, where she studied performing arts. She also attended the theatre arts school Stagecoach.
2010–11: The X Factor
Lloyd performing at The X Factor Live in Glasgow on 1 April 2011
Lloyd had previously auditioned for The X Factor before (when the minimum age was lower) singing ballads, but did not make it through. Lloyd has previously performed at holiday camps and said she gets a mixed reaction to her music, but was a big hit with X Factor judges at the time. She auditioned singing the Keri Hilson version of "Turn My Swag On" by Soulja Boy. At bootcamp she sang a rap version of "Viva La Vida". At the judges' houses she performed "Cooler Than Me" but suffered from tonsillitis and was unable to complete the song.
Lloyd sang a rendition of "Just Be Good to Me" in the first of the live shows. In the second live show she sang "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)". In the third live show, she sang a mashup of "No Diggity" and "Shout", and in the fourth live show she sang "Stay". This was the first time Lloyd did not rap in her performance, and Cowell even called it "the performance of the series". In week five, Lloyd sang "Empire State of Mind", but judges stated that after the previous week they were disappointed. However, the judges agreed that she redeemed herself with her rendition of "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" mixed with "Mockingbird", by Elton John and Eminem respectively, in week 6. In the seventh week, Lloyd was in the bottom two for the first time after her rendition of "Imagine", but Cowell, Cole and Walsh all saved her in the final showdown, resulting in Paije Richardson being eliminated. In the following week Lloyd performed "Girlfriend", followed by "Walk This Way". Both performances were credited by the judges and she was saved by the public vote the following night, securing her position in the semi final. In the semi-final, Lloyd performed "Nothin' on You" and "Love the Way You Lie" and was in the bottom two with Mary Byrne. She was saved by the judges again and put through to the final, even though voting statistics after the show revealed that Lloyd had the fewest votes. In the final she performed a mash-up of "The Clapping Song" and "Get Ur Freak On", followed by a duet with will.i.am, which was a mashup of "Where Is the Love?" and "I Gotta Feeling". Lloyd was then eliminated in fourth place, having received the fewest public votes.