Matt Cardle

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Matt Cardle
Matt Cardle, Belfast Apr 2014.jpg
Cardle performing in April 2014
Background information
Birth nameMatthew Sheridan Cardle
Born (1983-04-15) 15 April 1983 (age 38)
Southampton, Hampshire, England
Origin Halstead, Essex, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active2005–present

Matthew Sheridan Cardle (born 15 April 1983) [1] is an English singer and songwriter. [2] Cardle was born in Southampton and grew up in Halstead, Essex. [1] Cardle has been involved in music since his early teens and has been a member of two different bands; Darwyn and Seven Summers. Cardle rose to fame after winning the seventh series of The X Factor , and received a £1 million recording contract with Syco Music and later signed a deal with Columbia Records.


Following Cardle's victory on The X Factor, the winner's single and his debut single, "When We Collide", was released. [3] The track was made available to purchase on 12 December 2010, shortly after the show had ended. [4] On 19 December 2010, the track debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, as well as on the Irish Singles Chart. [5] The track also became the second biggest-selling single of 2010 with 815,000 copies sold within two weeks. [6] In June 2012, it had sold 1 million copies, the fourth single by an X Factor contestant to have done so. [7]

"Run for Your Life" was the follow-up single released by Cardle which charted at number 6 on the UK Singles Chart. Cardle went on to release his debut album, Letters , in 2011, which debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart and the Irish Albums Chart. The album saw two more singles released, "Starlight" and "Amazing". Cardle then parted ways with record labels Syco Music and Columbia Records, and signed a recording contract with So What Recordings in early 2012. He released his second studio album, The Fire , which charted at number eight on the UK Albums Chart. In October 2013, Cardle released his third album, Porcelain , in association with Absolute Marketing as an independent release. It reached number 11 on the UK Albums Chart. [8] The lead single was a duet with Melanie C, called "Loving You", which was released on 18 August and reached number 14 on the UK Singles Chart.

Cardle is a guitarist, and plays frequently on tour and other performances. He also plays other instruments including drums and piano. He has toured the United Kingdom and Ireland on his Letters Tour in 2012, Unplugged Tour in 2013, Porcelain Tour in 2014 and Intimate and Live Tour in 2016. Cardle has combined album and single sales of over 2 million. [9]

Life and career

Early life and career beginnings

Cardle was raised in Halstead, Essex. Halstead 044.jpg
Cardle was raised in Halstead, Essex.

Cardle was born in Southampton, Hampshire, to David and Jennifer Cardle (née Horner) on 15 April 1983. He has an older brother called Dominic with whom he has a close relationship. His family lived in Bristol before moving to Essex. [1] He started playing guitar and writing songs at aged 11 and knew from that point that music was what he wanted to do with his life. [1] At this time he also started singing lessons but stopped going after missing a class. He attended a summer band camp through his teens and played in bands. He attended the independent Stoke College in Suffolk, then studied a music course at the Institute in Colchester. He then went on to do a media course at Braintree College. Cardle is a keen skateboarder and spent a lot of his college years at skate parks instead of studying and therefore felt that education wasn't the right path for him. [1] When he was a young adult, he interviewed for a music course at Bournemouth University but he didn't make it. He said he was "probably rubbish at the time.” [10]

In 2005, Cardle joined alternative rock/pop band Darwyn and the band recorded an 11-track album, When You Wake, the band also released a follow-up EP, Little Sunlight in 2006. [11] [12] The band described themselves as an acoustic rock band. The band's first album contained tracks "Violet" and title track "When You Wake". They were awarded an Arts Council England grant which they used to record the EP Little Sunlight. [13] The band played at many festivals including Stortford Music Festival and Brownstock Festival [14] and regularly played at the venue and recording studio Highbarn in Essex. [15] Cardle and Darwyn band member Ali McMillan also played as a two-piece under the name Darwyn, playing acoustic cover versions of popular songs in venues in and around the Suffolk area [16] and videos of them playing together have gained many views on YouTube. [17]

In 2009, Cardle became the lead singer and guitarist of rock band called Seven Summers. [18] The band performed live on Sue Marchant's BBC radio program, in December 2009. They released their self-titled album in January 2010. [19] The album featured alternative rock, pop, urban and folk influences. [20] The album included the songs "Youngblood", [21] "Way to Be" [22] and "Dirt" [23] and the follow-up single "Picture of You". Although the band did not have a recording contract and they distributed their music independently, they reached No.30 on the Official UK Album Downloads Chart [24] and No.11 on the Official UK Independent Album Charts for week ending 25 December 2010, [25] and No.1 on the Official UK Independent Album Breakers Charts for week ending 25 December 2010. [26] Following Cardle's success on The X Factor, the band saw an upsurge in popularity, with their music videos gaining large numbers of views on YouTube.

2010: The X Factor era

Cardle performing on the X Factor tour. Matt Cardle Glasgow.jpg
Cardle performing on the X Factor tour.

In 2010, Cardle auditioned for the seventh series of The X Factor in front of Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Louis Walsh, singing Amy Winehouse's "You Know I'm No Good". [27] At the Bootcamp stage of the show he sang "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", a performance which prompted Simon Cowell to say "Why haven't we noticed him before?" and Louis Walsh to say "He's the biggest surprise of today for me!" [28] He was moved to the boys category when the age limit was raised to 28, making Dannii Minogue his mentor. Cardle was favourite to win from before the live shows until the end of the series, with some of the shortest odds the show had ever seen. [29] On the first live show he sang "When Love Takes Over" which received high praise from all four judges. [30] In week 5 he performed "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" again, which earned him the first standing ovation from all four judges of the series. [31] [32] It remains his most viewed performance on YouTube with over 29 million views to date. In the semi-final he had to withdraw from a secret X Factor gig in London due to throat problems which saw him almost have to miss the show that weekend. [33] In the final he performed a duet with Rihanna.

Cardle was announced the winner on 12 December 2010, after receiving 44.61% of the vote. He received the most votes every week from week 2, being beaten only by Mary Byrne in week 1. [34] The week after the series final, Cardle's cover version of "Many of Horror" originally recorded by Scottish rock trio Biffy Clyro and retitled as "When We Collide", topped the UK Singles Chart to become the 2010 Christmas number 1 and remained there for three consecutive weeks. [35] The song was nominated in the Best British Single category at the 2011 BRIT Awards. [36] In June 2012 the song reached the one million sale mark, making it the 123rd single to sell a million copies in the UK and the fourth by an X Factor contestant. [37] In Ireland it is the fourth best selling single of all time, and the best selling single of the century so far, as of 31 December 2015. [38] [39]

Cardle remains good friends with fellow contestant Aiden Grimshaw [40] and mentor Dannii Minogue.[ citation needed ] On 15 March 2011, it was reported that Cardle signed a record deal with Syco Music in a joint venture with Columbia Records, becoming the first The X Factor winner not to be exclusively signed to Simon Cowell's label. [41]

Beyond singing on The X Factor, Cardle says he tries to watch the show in his spare time. [10]

2011–12: Letters

Cardle performing at Hammersmith Apollo, March 2012. Matt Cardle, Hammersmith.jpg
Cardle performing at Hammersmith Apollo, March 2012.

On 18 August 2011, Cardle revealed that his debut album, Letters , would be released in the UK on 17 October 2011. Cardle said he was nervous about releasing his album as previous male X Factor winners have not been very successful, and female winners Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke enjoyed massive success. [42] Whilst working on the album Cardle collaborated with various writers including Eg White and James Walsh. [43] The album's first single, "Run for Your Life," written by Gary Barlow, was premiered on The Chris Moyles Show on 5 September 2011. Cardle appeared on the BBC Breakfast show on 1 September to give a preview of the video. The video was then premiered in full on 5 September on his YouTube channel. The single was released on 9 October 2011, Cardle performed the song on The X Factor on the same day. He also performed another track from the album, "All For Nothing", on ITV2 show The Xtra Factor . "Run for Your Life" peaked at number 6 on the UK Top 40 Chart. Prior to the album release Cardle went on a five date tour ending on 3 October at Koko in London. Letters was released on 17 October and debuted at number 2 on the UK Albums chart and spent 16 consecutive weeks in the top 40. [44]

A second single, "Starlight", was released on 4 December 2011. It had been originally intended as the first single before "Run for Your Life" was sent to him and was generally better received by fans and journalists. [45] [46] [47] Despite this, it only charted at number 185 but sparked a boost in album sales which saw "Letters" return to the top 25 on the album charts shortly after "Starlight"s release. The third and final single to be released from "Letters" was Amazing which was released as an EP, containing a new track called "All Is Said", which Cardle wrote with James Walsh, a new recording of "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and a live version of the album track "Slowly" recorded at the album launch. In February 2012 he embarked on a sell out tour, the Letters Tour. The tour ended on 29 March 2012 at Hammersmith Apollo. In September 2012 he said this was his favourite gig so far in his career. [48]

2012–13: New record label and The Fire

On 20 May 2012, Cardle announced on Twitter that he had parted ways with Columbia Records. [49] In October 2012, Cardle explained he left Sony through his own choice because he wasn't a priority. "I would just have been left to get on with it while One Direction ruled the planet. Which is brilliant for them – I'm so proud of them – but I needed to be a bit selfish. I asked Sony to let me go and they said okay." [50] Later, in October 2013 he stated another reason for leaving was because of the lack of control he had with decisions such as "Run for Your Life" being released as his first single instead of "Starlight" which he'd written and preferred. [51]

On 9 September 2012, So What Recordings, part of the Silva Screen Music Group, announced that Cardle's second album, The Fire would be released on 29 October 2012 on their label. On 11 September 2012, the lead single, "It's Only Love" was released online on Cardle's YouTube channel as an audio only video. The video for the song was premiered on 3 October. Even though the song was promoted as being the lead single, it was not released as a standalone product and was only made available to buy at the same time as the album, and therefore it did not enter the singles chart. The Fire debuted at number 8 in the UK album chart, giving Cardle his second top 10 album. He said the album is more like what he did before The X Factor than Letters, and feels more honest. "I’m getting closer to myself, and getting back to what I do and what I’ve always done." [52] A second single, "Anyone Else" was released on 31 December 2012. On 10 December 2012 an Unplugged Tour was announced on Cardle's website. [53] Tickets went on general sale on 12 December with some dates selling out on the first day. [54] The tour ran through April and May 2013 over the UK and Ireland.

2013–14: Porcelain

On 16 April 2013 Cardle confirmed he was in the process of making his third album in a video message to his fans on Facebook. [55] In July 2013, Music Week announced he has teamed up with Absolute Marketing for the album, which is an independent release, having moved on from So What Recordings. [8] The title, Porcelain, was revealed on 19 August 2013, with 28 October 2013 as the release date. It is described as incorporating "everything from Rock, Funk, Soul, Gospel, Pop and Blues to create his most musically diverse piece of work yet." [56] The first single, a duet with Melanie C called "Loving You", premiered on The Ken Bruce Show on BBC Radio 2 on 2 July. [57] It was released 18 August 2013 and had a positive response on the charts in UK. It reached number 14 on the single chart, number 2 on the Independent charts, number 11 in the Scottish charts and top 50 in the Irish charts. The second single, "When You Were My Girl", was released on 13 October 2013. [58] On 8 October 2013 Cardle announced he has signed a worldwide publishing deal with BMG Chrysalis. [59] Porcelain reached number 11 on the UK Albums chart. On 25 February 2014, he announced the next single from the album would be "Hit My Heart". [60]

On 28 September, Cardle performed a cover of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" at the Miss World 2013 in Bali, Indonesia. [61] The Porcelain Tour in support of the album was announced on 30 October 2013, beginning in April 2014. [62]

On 20 June 2014, Cardle performed a free gig at the Portadown's Got Talent awards, hosted in the People's Park of Portadown, Northern Ireland. The event is part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland and is supported and backed by the EU.

2015–2018: Musical theatre and Time to Be Alive

On 11 May 2015, it was announced Cardle would take over the lead role of Huey Calhoun in a production of Memphis from 6 July 2015 until the end of its run in October. [63] It was his first acting role.

In August 2014, Cardle confirmed he was working on his fourth album. [64] In 2016, he embarked on a summer tour, entitled the Intimate and Live Tour, to promote the new material and to test it live before recording. [65] A limited edition live album recorded from the tour was released shortly after. Cardle explained the longer than usual gap in between albums was because he was "running on empty" around the release of his last album and that he needed to recharge. "What has been brilliant for me this time around is the more relaxed nature of the writing and recording process. I've had gaps where I've been able to live, recharge and become inspired again." [66] He describes it as a lot more electronic than his previous albums. [67]

His fourth album, Time to Be Alive , was released through Sony on 27 April 2018. The lead single "Desire" was premiered on BBC Radio 2 on 13 March 2018.

Cardle returned to the West End on 31 July 2018, playing the role of Wally Strand in Strictly Ballroom until it closes on 27 October 2018. [68]

Cardle played the role of Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Barbican from 4 July until 24 August 2019.

Later in the year he reuinted with his former band Seven Summers for a gig in Chelmsford, and they have begun to work to new music together. [69]

2021: Fifth album

Cardle announced the release of "Purple Crayon" on 12 January 2021, ahead of the release of his fifth studio album. The song was released digitally on 15 January 2021. Cardle says, “Purple Crayon is song about my struggles with addiction to Valium and the escape I found through using it. The song’s emotions are intertwined with imagery from my favourite children’s book Harold and the Purple Crayon.” [70] O 26 March 2021, Cardle released the second single from his upcoming album, "We're the Butterflies". [71] [72]


Cardle performing in Belfast, 2012. Matt Cardle, Belfast 12.jpg
Cardle performing in Belfast, 2012.

Music and voice

Cardle is a tenor with a vocal range of around B2-F5. [73] Being a fan of heavy metal music from a young age, he had tried to emulate the singing style of his rock heroes such as Kurt Cobain, but found it was damaging his vocal cords. [74] [75] After taking advice from the owners of Highbarn, a venue in Essex he'd often played at in the past, he had vocal coaching, which helped increase his range and soften his sound. [76] He is known for his falsetto and being able to reach notes typically unusual for a male singer. [77] [78] [79] [80] Upon Cardle winning The X Factor he has been involved in what type of music he would like to record, which led to the release of his debut album Letters . Cardle co-wrote eleven of the tracks which appeared on the album and a reviewer noted Cardle's "impressive falsetto". [81]


Cardle says he is influenced by everything he has ever listened to, [82] being a fan of a range of music "I love Dave Matthews and Rage Against the Machine are one of my favourite bands, but then again I also love Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, so kind of all sorts really. It's a pretty weird mix." [83] He cites "Thank U" by Alanis Morissette as the first song he was really inspired by and is a big fan of hers, he has covered this song on tour as well as another of her songs, "Uninvited". [84] Other artists Cardle has cited as favourites when he began singing include Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, Pearl Jam and Peter Gabriel. [85]

While recording his debut album, Letters , Cardle took many different artists as an influence; reviews compared tracks to those by artists such as Snow Patrol, Coldplay as well as Chris Martin.



In 2012, Cardle published the song "Amazing", co-written by himself, with Martin Harrington, Tom Leonard, Ash Howes and Richard Stannard. The chorus of the song was claimed to be plagiarized by Ed Sheeran in the chorus of his song, "Photograph", written in 2013. The lawsuit, ended in 2017, by Harrington and Leonard, which led to a $20,000,000 (£16,000,000) victory.[ clarification needed ] [86]


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Preceded by
Joe McElderry
Winner of The X Factor
Succeeded by
Little Mix