X Factor Winning changed my life ; Matt Cardle is proof there's life after the X Factor. MARION MCMULLEN checks out his new album and learns why kissing Mel C gives him the giggles
WINNING the X Factor was just the starting point for Matt Cardle.
The likeable singer won the hearts - and votes - of viewers on the ITV show when he beat One Direction to win the X Factor crown three years ago.
His debut single, When We Collide, went straight to number one in the UK chart and became the second biggest-selling single of the year while his first album, Letters, went platinum.
One Direction have gone on to boy band stardom, but Matt is happy to be recording and making the music he has always wanted to and his third album Porcelain is released on October 28.
It was recorded in Los Angeles, New York and London and contains top 10 single Loving You, which sees Matt singing with former Spice Girl Melanie C. The music video featured a steamy kiss between him and Sporty Spice which raised a few eyebrows, but Matt says he did feel a little awkward in front of the camera.
"Music videos are not easy and there was that kiss," says the natural born charmer with a smile. "We did get the giggles a few times, but we're professionals. We did it."
He describes Melanie C as "an absolute legend" and says it was a joy to work with her. "She's just so down to earth and so talented. I met Melanie at the Isle of Wight Festival last year. I'm a big fan and I've always loved her voice. I had already started writing Loving You and I thought, with a few changes, it could work perfectly as a duet."
The new album was co-written and produced by Matt and he also plays most of the instruments.
"It means the guitar solo sounds the way I want it to sound and the same goes for the drums," he explains. "It can be hard sometimes to be objective. You can be too close to it all, but I think it's a very positive album. It's coming from a good place."
Porcelain follows Matt's second album Fire - "clay goes into fire and becomes porcelain so it nicely follows on from the last album" - and sees him seamlessly incorporating everything from rock, funk and soul to gospel and blues. He laughingly says there are a "few secret pop songs" on there as well.
Matt says he's too busy to get stressed about the album release adding: "The first went platinum, the second top 10 and I'm hoping for the hat-trick if I'm lucky."
He still keeps tabs on The X Factor, but is a bit behind on this year's hopefuls because he has been busy moving into a new home and has only just got a telly.
Amy Winehouse's You Know I'm No Good won him a place at The X Factor bootcamp in 2010 and his rendition of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face saw him heading to the judges houses and being picked by Dannii Minogue for the live shows.
There have been more than 10 million views on YouTube of his live performance of the same song from the TV show and he won the contest the day after singing Unfaithful with Rihanna in front of Simon Cowell and Co and millions of viewers.
"The X Factor was an awesome platform," says the 30-year-old singer songwriter. "I was lucky to go through it ... and win it. It changed my life in a huge number of ways, too many to list, a huge difference and now I have this amazing career."
It's a career which has seen him recently performing in sunny Bali with 131 beauties at the Miss World finals.
He's still feeling a little jetlagged but jokes that he'll have to get an air mile loyalty card at some point with all the travelling he's been doing this year.
So what would have happened if The X Factor had not come along? "I would still be playing with the band and keeping on trying and trying," he says simply.
Matt still likes relaxing with his mates and skateboarding when he escapes from the recording studio and says The X Factor contestants need to be prepared for a lot of hard work once the TV cameras stop rolling and they disappear from the newspaper headlines.
He knows what he's talking about, having sold more than two million singles and albums combined along with four sell-out UK tours in the past two years.
"Have fun, but work hard," advises Matt. "I was 27 when I was on The X Factor and that helped. You've got to be sensible and take no notice about what's appearing in the papers. It's all about what happens when the show ends."
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