By David Hennessy

Many remember first seeing Matt Cardle walk onto The X Factor stage. Facing competition from One Direction, Rebecca Ferguson and our own Mary Byrne, a painter and decorator from Essex landed a lucrative recording contract by blowing all other contestants away with his musical talent and voice: Exactly what The X Factor is all about. Proud of his Irish roots, Matt has revealed in the past that his ancestors left Ireland during the famine. Coming to Britain as McArdles, he has said: “We lost the Mc over the years.”

From audition to winning the reality show and all that came after must have been such a crazy ride. Has Matt taken time to digest just how he has gone from an ordinary bloke to a famous musician in such a short time? “To be honest, I haven’t but I haven’t wanted to because I’ve spent 14 years of my life trying to get myself to this position and now I’m in it, I’m in no mood to relax or take the gas off for a second.”

Since releasing his successful first album, Letters, Matt has cut ties with his record label. It is understood, he wanted more freedom from a record company. While he co-write most of Letters, he was keen for even more creative input: “I was absolutely free to do the writing.  What I wasn’t free with were other creative decisions with regards to production, mixing, even things like artwork and video choices which now I’ve got complete control over. I got to play the instruments on the album because I can and I should. It’s my album, they’re my songs, why shouldn’t I play the drums? Play the bass? Play the piano and all that kind of stuff?”

Not throwing the bath out with the bath water, Matt has retained the same co-writers that helped him with his debut, Eg White and Starsailor frontman James Walsh. “When I was writing letters and I wrote with Eg and James, we wrote some great songs together so I just thought why not? Let’s keep the things that work onboard. It’s not moving away from what I have done but it’s moving on and starting to do something new.”

The lead single of The Fire, It’s Only Love seems to have a ‘don’t put all your faith in love’ theme but still retain a hopeful mood. The album as a whole is more hopeful than his first offering. Is this conscious or more subconscious? “It’s more subconscious but it’s funny because this album was born out of a whole lot of heartache even though it is a lot more uplifting than the last one.”

One of the album’s tracks Empire was put together in the aftermath of a night out Matt had in LA with Republic of Ireland footballer, Robbie Keane: “I was working on it in the studio and I had to do to finish off some of the vocals and they happened to be after a night out with Rob. We’ve met up a few times now he’s an absolute legend. I think he’s an awesome guy. I sent him a couple of tracks during the writing process.”

The LA Galaxy star has been known to do some singing himself as seen in The Claddagh Ring. Did Matt think about making it a duet? “Maybe on the next album, we did a bit of singing when we were together out in LA in a bar.”

For the full article, please pick up this week’s Irish World


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