MATT Cardle was 11 years old when he knew being a singer-songwriter was all he wanted to do.
In 2010, after a decade hammering at the industry’s door, he won The X Factor. No longer under Simon Cowell’s umbrella, Cardle runs his own empire now, granting him the creative control he’d always wanted.
On Friday, after two postponed dates, Matt comes to Bridgwater’s Blake Hall, “fighting fit” after a recuperative spell in The Priory rehabilitation clinic.
"Better than ever", It’s not long until he sets off on a 18-date UK and Ireland tour of Porcelain, his third studio album.
Yet it’s to Bridgwater he’s heading for an intimate, warm-up night of ‘Unplugged’ music, at the 711-capacity Blake Hall this Friday.
DAISY BLACKLOCK spoke to Matt Cardle in the run up...
How are you? I really hope you’re feeling better, more recuperated?
“I feel absolutely brilliant; better than I ever have actually. I took a whole month off to recharge the batteries at the start of the year, but I’m enjoying being creative again and can’t wait to hit the road in April.”
How have the fans been since your NYE announcement on Twitter that you were “getting yourself better”, they must have been supportive?
“The support from the fans has been incredible, a real strength. Ultimately I had to do what I did for myself but I also wanted to do it for my fans.
“They have been so loyal and I wanted to be looking and sounding my best on tour in April.
“I always love reading their messages on Twitter and during the real low moments of last year it was one of the few things that kept me going and not giving up.”
How do you feel about coming to Bridgwater? Your fans here are itching to see you!
“It’s my first time in Somerset and I’m SO excited. I had to reschedule the date twice so it feels like it’s been a long time coming but I’ll make sure the wait has been worth it.
“Every show is different and I love adding in a song that isn’t on the set list – but only if the crowd make enough noise!”
Porcelain, your third studio album, launched in October – how has it been going? What’s special to you, about this album, and stage in your career?
“Porcelain has done really well. I’m very proud of the album. The duet with Melanie C, ‘Loving You’, got such a great reaction from everyone, so that was a special way for me to kick things off.
“I was a little gutted to miss out on my third Top 10 album by one place but a friend text me the other day to tell me I’m the only UK male artist to have three consecutive Top 20 albums in the last three years, so that made me feel better!
“I’m just about to release the third single, ‘Hit My Heart’, which has had a great reaction from everyone.”
What else are you looking forward to in 2014?
“My main focus at the moment is all on the tour, I’m doing 19 dates across the UK and Ireland.
“I’ll also be performing at a lot of festivals over the Summer, and I’m already getting stuck into writing my next album. Apart from work I’m looking forward to some snowboarding trips later this year; that will be fun. I bought my first apartment last year so that’s keeping me busy with renovations and making it feel like home.
“Everyone is guilty of not always making enough time to keep in touch with loved ones, so a big focus of mine is spending time with family and friends.”
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone for the love and support I still receive almost four years after leaving The X Factor – it really is incredible.”
• MATT Cardle gives his ‘Unplugged’ gig at Bridgwater’s Blake Hall on Friday. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets cost £17.50 in person from the Blake Hall, on 01278-422959, 07723-377500, or www.seetickets.com
• Matt’s ‘Porcelain’ tour comes to Bristol 02 Academy on April 24 – visit mattcardlemusic.com/live for tickets.