Playing a little catch up today! Yahoo Music’s Lyndsey Parker spoke with X Factor hopeful, Lillie McCloud about the controversy surrounding her audition. (Click to read the entire article, featuring more videos)
Lillie was introduced as a newbie housewife looking for a break, when in reality, she had years of experience in show business, as Nicole McCloud, releasing several Billboard top 10 singles.
Here’s her reaction to the backlash (By they way, our original post was linked, and our super-smart commenters quoted!):
“I do want to let the public know that I am for sure not hiding who I am,” she insisted. As for why “X Factor” producers didn’t mention anything about her past singing career, she replied, “I really don’t know the answer to that. When I would ask that question, I would be told, ‘This is what’s important, this is how we want to do it.’
“I personally embrace my past, and hopefully with all the controversy, I’ll get a chance to speak out, because people — I would say ‘haters,’ is what I call them — don’t know my story. When you have children, it’s a no-brainer: You can’t go for everything you want to go for, and you let opportunities pass you by. I’m sure that had I not had children, maybe I would have reached my goal. But I’ve got three kids and seven grandkids, so I missed so many opportunities that I could have said yes to, that would have helped launch my career. ‘The X Factor,’ I mean, they know everything about my life, so they made a decision on how they wanted to put me out there. Was it a wrong decision? I don’t think so. I think they wanted to catch on the more intimate side of me, and let me do the talking as far as my career. And you know, if someone’s really interested and they search my name, they can find out anything they want to find out, anyways.”
Just like we suspected, Lillie had nothing to do with the lack of disclosure. Contestants have very little say in how the producers frame their backstory. But why did she audition using her birth name Lillie instead of her stage name?
As for that name, Lillie is in fact the name on her birth certificate, although she never billed herself as such until Simon Cowell (whom Lillie says she never met before, despite the aforementioned “Got Talent” connection) started doing so. “He just started calling me Lillie [the legal name on her documents], and I said, ‘Okay, I guess I’m Lillie, then,'” she recalls. “I didn’t intend to use my real name; the only people who know my real name are the bill collectors! But Simon went on ‘Chelsea Handler,’ and he mentioned ‘Lillie,’ and it just kind of took off from there.”
I’m surprised she didn’t speak up. Unless she thought a new (old) name would give her a fresh start, and that viewers wouldn’t be the wiser. I still find the name change strange.
Lillie says her heart was never in dance music, but it was semi-lucrative, allowing her to snag high-profile gigs in the United States and abroad. In 2004 she quit the business in frustration, moving to Slovakia to live with her boyfriend at the time. But she couldn’t stay away from singing for long. She began gigging around Europe. When Lillie moved back to the states (she lives in Orlando now) she decided to audition for X Factor.
“I was following [the show] for the last couple years. It seemed to be the one place that would really reach out and give someone like me an opportunity. It just seemed like it was the place to go. I was so happy that such a show would allow someone my age a chance to be noticed, to really branch into this career properly. My sister was pushing me, and I finally said, ‘Okay, I’ll try it; I have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.”
She’s a Christian now. Her audition song, a powerful cover of CeCe Winan’s “Alabaster Box” is the type of music she’d like to pursue. Lillie describes her sound as “Mary Mary vs. Bruno Mars….Although I’m in the secular world singing secular music, my objective is to go into gospel, but gospel as it’s never been known before. I’m not going take off my catsuit if I feel like wearing it. I want to show the young kids that you can have a party and really get down with gospel. So the type of music I’m hearing in my head is something that hasn’t been released before. Hopefully I’ll find a producer that can get in and unravel my thoughts, and get it onto tape.”
So. There you go.