Internet guitar sensation Sophie Lloyd talks Iron Maiden-inspired single and touring with Machine Gun Kelly

Internet sensation and Machine Gun Kelly’s live guitarist Sophie Lloyd has released her new solo single ‘Do Or Die’. Check out it below along with our interview with Lloyd.

‘Do Or Die’ is the first “big” release from guitarist Sophie Lloyd and is taken from her upcoming Slash-inspired debut album ‘Imposter Syndrome’.

Lloyd first made a name for herself on YouTube with a series of guitar covers of rock and pop classics, and previously released instrumental EP ‘Delusions’ in 2018.

“I’m definitely nervous about releasing this new track, but I’m also so excited.” she told NME.

‘Do Or Die’ is inspired by Iron Maiden and features vocals from Nathan James of hard rock band Inglorious. “He’s just a fucking powerhouse. The track also has some really cool riffs and a sick guitar solo. It’s just such an awesome song,” Lloyd continued.

Speaking of what to expect from her debut album ‘Imposter Syndrome’, which is due for release next year, Lloyd revealed: “The whole record is inspired by Slash’s self-titled solo album, where he collaborated with different people from different spheres of music. I’ve worked with a bunch of different artists for my record as well.”

While the Guns N’ Roses icon’s record featured the likes of Black Eyed PeasFergie, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell,

Lloyd’s includes Nathan James alongside Atreyu vocalist Brandon Saller, Trivium’s Matt Heafy and Steel Panther’s Michael Star, as well as “some newer artists that have blown up on TikTok.”

The rest she’s keeping a surprise, though Lloyd did tease one dream-come-true collaboration with someone from the top of her bucket-list.

“The album touches on a lot of different genres, but all within the rock sphere,” said Lloyd. “There’s a high-energy pop-punk song, some heavy metal tracks and some country rock. It doesn’t all fit into one box, which I’m excited about. It’s all the music I listened to growing up. I feel like this album was very much written for my 15-year-old self, who would just be in her bedroom, listening to music.”

Speaking about why now for a debut album, Lloyd said: “Writing music has always been my first love, even if most people know me for the YouTube stuff. It just feels like the right time to establish myself and what I want to do.

“I’ve always been pretty open about my struggles with performance anxiety and imposter syndrome,” Lloyd continued, explaining the album title. “I definitely haven’t followed the normal path most musicians take. I uploaded videos onto the internet instead of playing live in pubs and I always just felt like because of that, I wasn’t good enough. I started feeling anxious, and that held me back. This album has been me working through those things.”

Working on it remotely during the COVID pandemic with a string of different collaborators, Lloyd discovered other artists had similar struggles. “It’s such a common thing in the rock scene, but it’s never really discussed,” she said. “It’s good to try and raise some awareness.”

Lloyd also overcame her worries about her own abilities by touring with Machine Gun Kelly as part of his live band for his massive ‘Mainstream Selloutworld tour.

“It’s been such a journey,” she said. “There are always things to work on but playing those big stages, I realised this is where I’m meant to be. I feel so confident in myself, and with my music.”

She continued: “MGK literally just messaged me on Instagram one day, after seeing some of my videos. We Facetimed, we seemed to vibe really well and before I knew it, I had my visa and was flying from London to LA for rehearsals.”

She was “completely new to the world of touring” so there were some obvious worries about saying yes. “It felt like something I had to prove to myself,” she explained. “It was also a chance to prove to everyone else that I’m not just a social media guitarist.”

According to Lloyd, she’s now “very much over” people dismissing her abilities as a musician. “If people do want to think I’m just a bedroom guitarist or whatever, that’s their problem,” she added.

Lloyd added: “Touring with Machine Gun Kelly was amazing. It was like one big family, and I felt so comfortable and safe from the get go. I also love how he uses his music to tell a story and portray a message.”

Playing stadiums has also changed Lloyd’s own ambitions, she revealed “I always said I never wanted to be a touring musician because I’m such a homebird,” the musician admitted, “but seeing people have those experiences to music that you’re playing, rather than just seeing numbers on a screen, that’s absolutely amazing.

“I definitely want to tour my album next year now. I’m excited to get out there in the real world a bit more, and not just be on a screen. I want to inspire more people to pick up the guitar, especially women. I want to show people that rock music is fucking amazing.”

Lloyd has been playing rock music for 17 years now, finding it “just so powerful as it portrays every emotion”. Hailing the rock community as “so beautiful and caring”, the guitarist said she found courage in the support she received from her online video performances.

“From the moment I started out on YouTube, my audience has been really encouraging,” she said. “The positivity far outweighs the hate.”

Lloyd added: “There have been moments where I’d get a lot of hate for covering a certain song, but you have to learn to just do what makes you happy. If you make things for other people, you’re not going to be inspired and you’re not going to be happy.

“People really connect with authenticity, so I think the more real you are, the better. In everything I do, I’m just trying to be as open, honest and vulnerable as I can.”

‘Do Or Die’ by Sophie Lloyd is out now. Her debut album ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is due in 2023.

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