Since winning the X Factor in 2010, Matt Cardle has had admirable success. As one of a handful of male solo artists to have had a platinum-selling debut album, Cardle is part of a very elite group. Having sold over 2 million albums and singles combined, earlier this year he also saw his 23 date tour completely sell out. Building on the success of platinum-selling album Letters, Cardle is poised to release the follow up, The Fire, on the 29th October, with the lead single ‘It’s Only Love’ to be released the same day. He kindly took 15 minutes out of his busy day to have a chat with LSMedia…
Obviously, being on the X Factor comes with a high level of publicity; how easy did you find it being dropped into the limelight like that?
Well it was strange. The thing is I’ve been a singer songwriter my entire life, so I’ve always been trying to get myself into the industry and into a position where I was selling records. One by product of that is a certain amount of fame and recognition, but you just cannot be prepared for the kind of level of that you get with the X Factor. So it was quite freaky to be honest!
So you’ve had a platinum selling album, sold out tours and number one singles. When you first auditioned for the X Factor, did you ever think you’d be in the position you’re in today?
Absolutely not! I was so happy with how it went on the show and how the first album got such good reviews. Now I’ve moved labels and I’m in a position where I’m in complete creative control over the music and the creative side of the album, everything like that, right down to playing the instruments and producing the album and being on hand to mix the album. It was my idea to go to Los Angeles to film the video for the first single and it was my concept too. I just had so much control and so much input, I couldn’t be happier.
So the album is called The Fire, can you give us a flavour of what to expect?
It’s just a lot more personal than the last album. It’s much more upbeat, it’s so much more uplifting. When we were touring with Letters, I really learnt a lot of lessons about how to write an album with regards to playing it live. I was going through a breakup at the time so the album is about the deconstruction of my relationship. It’s very, very raw emotionally. But it’s also a lot more rockin’ and a lot more upbeat.
Is your breakup kind of where the concept of the fire came from then?
Well it’s the main subject matter of the album, for sure.
How important was it for you to have complete control over the writing, recording, mixing and such?
So important. Especially when I was writing about something so personal, something that was so close to me and so raw, I wanted it not to leave my side until I thought I could let it fly the nest.
Was it important to you to kick on from the exposure that the X Factor brought you and really establish yourself as an artist and not just a product of a talent show?
Well, it’s a launch pad for anyone and it can be a launch pad to all sorts of things. Look at Olly Murs, yes he’s gone on to do some pop but he’s now presenting. It’s a TV talent thing, you get all kinds of people that come out and they do all sorts of things: they go into west end, they go into this [music business], they go into presenting, they go into this that or the other. I was always a singer songwriter and I always will be; I’m not a TV personality, I’m a musician.
If you had to describe The Fire in one sentence to persuade people to go out and buy it, what would that sentence be?
Oh that’s such a hard question! I would say it’s uplifting, it’s upbeat. It’s so personal but it will mean a lot to a lot of people.
It is real Matt Cardle, you might say?
Do you have a particular favourite track, or one that you’re especially proud of on The Fire?
Yeah, there’s a track on there called ‘Lately’ that took a long long time to finish. It grew and grew unlike any of the other tracks on there, so that’s probably my favourite.
There’s a cover of ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ on the new album. You sung it when on the X Factor, so what made you decide to include it on this album and not the last one?
It was never an idea to put it on the last album. So many people stop me in the street and talk about the show and everyone talks about that song and a lot of people are like “Where can we get it? There’s not a version out there , we have to watch it on YouTube”, so we just thought we’d give it to the people that wanted it.
Who would you say has influenced you most as an artist? Who persuaded you first to pick up the guitar and start playing and song writing?
Singing I suppose was Michael Jackson when I was 5 or 6 years old. Apart from that, to pick up the guitar was Kurt Cobain.
So, you’re playing few shows around the UK in a week or so. Have you got any plans for a more extensive tour of the UK?
Absolutely! And outside of the UK! But it’s all TBC at the moment. We’ve got so much to do but we have confirmed the Birmingham, Brighton and London shows.
Is Liverpool going to be a possible destination?
Absolutely, of course it will be! We had such an amazing time in Liverpool when we came and played the Echo Arena for the X Factor tour and when I played up there on my tour; it’s incredible.
What would you say is the best or most favourite show you’ve ever played?
I played the Isle of Wight [festival] this year and that was just amazing, a really amazing experience.
And the worst?
Probably one of the ones when I was about 19 or 20 in a band going down to London to play to the other bands and the soundman in some sh*tty pub.
What are your plans for the long term future? Do you just want to keep writing albums and touring?
Yes! Just more albums, more touring, just to keep going really. That’s all I want to do, just keep going, keep improving, get bigger and better all the time.
And finally, if you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?