2010 X Factor winner Matt Cardle is about to begin his ﬁrst UK tour since releasing his platinum-selling album, Letters, in October. He tells JODIE JEYNES that he’s already begun his follow-up.
It’s unlikely that Matt Cardle would ever have sung a Katy Perry song wearing yellow trousers and make-up if it wasn’t for The X Factor.
It’s also improbable he would ever have enjoyed a Christmas No 1 and a slot at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival if he hadn’t appeared on the show.
The humble and good-humoured 28-year-old is the ﬁrst to admit that, as part of TV’s top talent contest, he had to do some things that were out of character. But he’s also quick to point out the debt he owes the programme for bringing him to an audience of millions.
Matt is keen to correct people who assume that, because he’s a more traditional artist than his fellow X Factor winners, he’d want to separate himself from the show now he’s found fame.
‘Because I was in bands before, people think I must want to break away and loose that tag. But I’m in no hurry to pretend I didn’t get my break on X Factor.
‘I’m not going to bite the hand that fed me,’ explains the Essex boy, while munching on a couple of chicken goujons.
However , Matt would like to assert his independence from the X Factor manufacturing machine to some degree.
‘I just want to stay true to myself and do what I would have done anyway,’ he explains.
The truth is, the 2010 X Factor winner doesn’t need to crusade for his credibility. The show made a feature of the fact that he’s been singing and playing guitar in bands for years.
Matt talks like a band member, rather than a solo artist, constantly referring to his backing musicians as an integral part of his music.
His band are no Simon Cowell concoction either, just a bunch of Matt’s musician mates.
He reveals: ‘Putting together the band was quite easy. They’re guys I’ve been working with for a long time and good mates.
‘The pianist’s dad owns a venue I used to play at a lot when I was in a band called Darwyn.
‘The guitarist’s band used to play alongside his band and the bass player is a good friend of the drummer.
‘I knew the drummer from a long time ago and he was the sound engineer at the studio I recorded the latest album at.’
Matt’s ‘latest’ album is his No 2 platinum-selling release Letters.
It hit the shops in October and was only kept of the top spot by Noel Gallagher’s debut album with his new band Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.
Though many people assume Letters is Matt’s debut, actually he’d written four albums before this one.
Perhaps that’s why Simon Cowell gave him such free rein over the album. Matt explains: ‘Simon kind of left me to it, which I’m grateful for. He put enough faith in me, my management and the label to go off and make the album we all felt was right.
‘Even the track listing was a simple discussion. It was about 15 minutes to work it out. It just fell into place.’
With Letters, the ﬁrst album since his life was changed by the media maelstrom that is The X Factor, Matt’s aim was simple: ‘Just to improve on what I’d been doing over the years.’
He wrote and recorded it last year, working with producer Biff Stannard in his Brighton studio and writer and Starsailor frontman James Walsh in London.
Between that and The X Factor, Matt had been performing on The X Factor Tour, his ﬁrst real taste of life as a full-time artist.
He’d famously had all manner of glamourless jobs (including handyman, builder, painter and decorator, working in a plastic factory and performing as a shopping centre singing Santa) before then.
Now Matt’s about to begin his own tour next week.
‘It’s what I’ve been working towards all my life, really,’ he explains.
The tour will mean Matt and his X Factor dancer girlfriend, Sarah Robinson, will have to spend weeks apart as she will be taking to the road separately for The X Factor Tour.
‘We’ve got Skype,’ explains Matt, who is hoping they’ll have plenty of chance to talk over the internet from different ends of the country.
Those with tickets to Matt’s Portsmouth show can expect ‘a rock show, essentially’.
‘But there’s a big acoustic section in the middle where we’ll wind it down,’ reveals Matt.
‘I want it to play out with light and shade, heavy and soft.’
The tour begins on Thursday and comes to Portsmouth on March 11. While last Sunday, Matt released his third single – Amazing.
The digital bundle includes a new studio version of First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, new track All Is Said and a live version of Slowly. Matt says he wanted to re-record First Time Ever I Saw Your Face because it was a track a lot of his fans talked about.
‘People stopped me in the street and asked me about it,’ he explained.
After the tour , Matt plans to hit the studio again to ﬁnish writing and recording his next album.
He says he’d also like to have a hand in producing his next long player. But it remains to be seen whether Simon Cowell and Sony will sign another deal with Matt.
He explains: ‘Hopefully my next album will be with Sony. We’re still to sort all that out.’
Matt Cardle on...
...rumours he went to stage school
It wasn’t stage school. It was more like band camp. We’d all go away for 10 days in the summer and put on a show.
...working with Starsailor frontman James Walsh
He’s got a real sweet ear for music and he’s a good mate.
...Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville admitting to ‘a big boy crush on Matt Cardle’
I heard about that yesterday. It’s quite sweet of him to say. If he reads this, hello Hugh. I’m a big Downton Abbey fan.
...writing songs when he’s drunk
Your inner monitor turns off or down when you’ve had a drink. It’s good for that to happen to get to the true thoughts and feelings.
I own about 10. I might wear a couple on the tour, I’ll see how I feel.
Did You Know?
Matt Cardle was born in Southampton and lived there until he was two.
Matt Cardle comes to Portsmouth Guildhall on Sunday, March 11, from 7.30pm. Tickets cost £29 or £44 from portsmouthguildhall.org.uk or (023) 9282 4355.
We’ve got a pair of tickets to give away to one lucky reader. To be in with a chance of winning, answer the following question: Which Katy Perry song did Matt sing in the X Factor final?
A) Teenage Dream B) Firework C) I Kissed A Girl
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