I Love: Craig David

Friday, 10 August 2018

If you know me - or have just followed me on social media for a few hours - you'll likely know that I'm a big fan of Craig David. Some people seem to think it's an unlikely pairing, so i'm going to take you back to where it all began.

On the 25th December 2000, a 10 year old me had just had a Christmas dinner with my family. Just when I thought all the festivities were over, my mum asked me if I could pour her a Baileys from the alcohol cupboard. When I opened said cupboard, there was an envelope with my name on. Inside the envelope was 2 tickets to see Craig David at Wembley Arena. I had been obsessed with the Born To Do It album since it's release 5 months prior, so you could imagine my excitement.

Since that day, I did not shut up about the Southampton singer. Everyone associated Craig David with me, every day after school i'd rehearse all the lyrics, and wrote countdowns on my whiteboard until the next album or show. I was obsessed. Over the course of the next few years I went to every show - from Hammersmith Apollo to Party in the Park - and every Birthday and Christmas gift was centred around Craig David.

Born To Do It was hugely successful; it went straight to Number 1, is 6x Platinum, is the fastest selling debut album ever by a British solo artist, and in 2009 MTV viewers voted the album as number 2 on their 'Greatest Albums of all Time' behind Michael Jackson's Thriller. He was bathing in success, but by industry figures, Craig's career took a decline after Born To Do It. Follow up record Slicker Than Your Average peaked at number 4 on the album charts, third album The Story Goes hit number 5, and fourth album Trust Me came in at number 18.

Despite somewhat falling out of the spotlight, Craig moved to a penthouse apartment in Miami, and this is where TS5 was born. Hosting parties in his pad, the singer would DJ for his friends, family and party goers, which proved so popular it soon turned into regular club nights, a slot at Glastonbury, and two year Ibiza Rocks residency.

During the "quiet period", I was sure to continue to follow his career and kept the CD hype alive as much as I personally could. I was in the crowd crying when Justin Bieber brought Craig out at his My Worlds tour in 2011, and I was front row when he was playing IndigO2 in 2013. I still remember the first time he tweeted me when I was about 19 years old, thinking it was the best moment of my entire life - I had no idea back then what was to come for me personally as a fan, and Craig as a musician...

In December 2015, I heard the news that Craig was on Kurupt FM. He hadn't done much publicly in years, so I was of course first to get straight on the live stream. And that was it. Just a freestyle and sample of Justin Bieber's Where Are U Now (below), Craig David absolutely exploded again. It was like he was an over-night sensation. Articles were all over the internet, his face was in the papers again, and his social media followers were shooting up. As a fan of 15 years at this point, it was such an interesting concept for me to watch youngsters discover this "new" artist, whilst all of us 90s babies rejoiced in Mr 7 Days being back.

The explosive comeback saw Craig securing his first number 1 album in 16 years, and I went from seeing him play a TS5 show at a tiny 350 capacity venue in Hackney, to headlining The O2 Arena in just 2 years. Following My Intuition was revolutionary for his career, and also gave me the opportunity to finally meet the man I had been idolising for my entire adolescence.

What struck me with Craig was how sincere he was. He knew exactly who I was almost the second he saw me at his HMV album signing, recognising me from my support on Twitter, and an article I had written for Yahoo about Born To Do It. I've met a large handful of celebrities and musicians over the years, and no one has been as attentive, kind, and truly appreciative of their fans ongoing support.

Just days after our first meeting he was following me on social media platforms, guestlising me for sold out shows, and inviting me backstage to check on my mental health. He helped me surprise my Mum for Mothers Day, has wished me a Happy Birthday every year since, and even took the time out of his day to message me when my Nan passed away with condolences and recommendations of books to read to settle my heartache. On top of all that, he was actually the person to tell me to start my blog again and repeatedly supports what I do.

His appreciation and kindness towards his fans is just a bonus alongside his years of craft and workmanship in the music industry. It's what keeps us long-term fans around, and welcomes the newbies into our family. Craig David is a living and breathing example of how your life can do a complete 360 twice over. He has rightfully regained his superstar status and has celebrated huge success with later singles I Know You, When The Bassline Drops, Heartline and Magic. He released seventh studio album The Time Is Now earlier this year, and at the moment you can catch him in Ibiza every week from July through to September with his hugely popular TS5 pool party.

Being a 10 year old little girl and loving something so passionately for the first time makes the recognition and bond so much stronger in later life. I am so proud, thankful and honoured to be a part of this journey. Thank you for everything, Craig. I am forever your fan.

© Image Source: Dan Kennedy via Square Mile

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