STAFF at a recording studio can be given much of the credit for helping one of this year’s X-Factor finalists realise his dream of singing in front of millions.

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Matt Cardle audition

High Barn in Great Bardfield was one of the first venues to see Essex-boy Matt Cardle perform live five years ago.

Now the 27-year-old is joint favourite to win the live ITV talent competition.

It has come to light the staff at the barn may have actually helped save his musical career when they pointed out that he could be damaging his vocal chords.

Matt’s parents David and Jenny Cardle from Little Maplestead said that in 2005, while at High Barn, he was warned that his poor singing technique could cost him.

“He was told by the guy that runs the studio that the way he opens his throat when singing was putting a lot of strain on his vocal chords,” said David. “After that he had a couple of singing lessons and it worked wonderfully.

“He’s now capable of singing a much higher range than he ever was a few years ago, and without straining his voice.”

High Barn spokesman Wendy Meldrum said that owner Chris Bullen had first seen Matt five years ago when working with the 27-year-olds band called Darwyn.

She said: “We were all really impressed with their music and especially Matt’s voice.”

They were booked to perform at an unplugged night and it was then, that Chris and his wife, Kate, noticed that Matt sounded like he might be straining his voice.

Having played in bands themselves, they thought he would benefit from some vocal coaching.

He had a few lessons with Andy Lynham at High Barn and it made all the difference – his voice sounded stronger and less forced and his vocal range increased.

Since then, Matt has played at there many times, recently as a duo with his friend, Alistair McMillan..

Wendy added: “We are all so thrilled for Matt he really does deserve this exposure – he is what you see and hear, a true, original musician with a genuine talent, at long last the X Factor are getting real.”

Suzie Frize-Williams, also from the High Barn team has found memories of the singer. “I asked Matt and Ali if they would help out at a charity ball by playing a set as people arrived,” she said. “The event was in aid of Help For Heroes for Jo Woodgate, an old class mate of mine, who sadly lost his life in March.

“Although neither Matt nor Ali knew Jo they both offered to do the gig for free and went down a storm. The event raised over £6000.”

Matt started singing when he was a child and started the band when he was 16.

He began learning the guitar aged 11 and started writing songs – since then he has written over 100.

Tune in on Saturday to see if Matt makes it through to the next round. ITV1, 7.30pm.

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