This article was originally published on The National Student.
Former painter and decorator Matt Cardle shot to fame and became a household name when he was crowned X-Factor champion in 2010. His winning song (a cover of Biffy Clyro’s Many of Horror) was that year’s Christmas number one and stayed at the top spot for an impressive three weeks. Following his 2011 debut album, which recently went platinum, he’s now gearing up for the release of The Fire.
A year on from the release of his first album,Letters, and Matt has purposefully changed the direction of his music quite a bit. Lettersreceived fairly mixed reviews, but Matt is the first person to admit that it wasn’t the fastest paced album that’s ever been around. “I especially noticed that when we went to do it live,” he says, “and I made a conscious effort to make this one [The Fire] as upbeat and uplifting as possible.”
Matt’s had much more freedom on this record, and this helped him when it came to making it more upbeat. This time, and following his change of record label, he’s been given full control of the writing and production of his music. For him, this meant he could make music that sounded exactly as he wanted it to.
He spent more than a month writing and recording parts of the album in Los Angeles and Toronto. Having not travelled to America since he was very young, it was an almost entirely new experience for him. “It was amazing to be honest, I loved it out there,” he says.
Aiming to make it as personal as possible, Matt decided to play most of the instruments on the record himself. “The more of yourself that you put into an album, the more you get out of it on the other side. This I definitely felt, and because I did play guitars, drums, bass and piano, I didn’t see a reason not to [use them].”
“[It’s] usually a relationship based thing,” says Matt. Now he’s talking about what inspires his new songs, and it’s clear that love and relationships are a big influence on him. “You can look at the majority of the tracks in the charts at the moment and tracks that have done well, and it’s always 90% about relationships and that kind of stuff. It’s more personal that way.”
The album in general is based around Matt’s real life situations, and the lead single, It’s only love, reflects this personal touch. It’s about a break up that Matt was going through at the time, and writing was a way for him to get his head around it.“The message behind the song,” he says, “is to not lean too heavy on romance and love and all that kind of stuff.
“I know plenty of people that have been single for a very long time and they’re some of the happiest people I know.”
Despite the fact that he’s had a pretty jam packed year working on The Fire, he’s got no intention of putting his feet up any time soon. He will be having a few well deserved weeks off, but he really is dedicated to doing what he loves. “Once I’ve finished an album I usually take a little while off writing …just because it gets very intense and a bit much after a long time. But I’m gonna crack on, that’s the only way to do it.”
It’s clear that Matt’s really happy with the album. And is he excited? Very much so. “It’s going to be nice for everyone to finally hear what I’ve been doing for the last year. I feel like it’s a way more personal album and it’s way more me and I’m just super proud of it!”
The Fire is released on October 29th, with a short promotional tour taking place from October 21st. For more information visit his website.