Two questions into an interview with Craig David  and I got the distinct impression he wouldn’t appreciate me bringing up the British comedy show Bo Selecta.
I understand as a young 19-year-old, trying to make it in the big wide world of music, the show which poked fun at David as a musician may have hit a nerve, but more than a decade later, I expected the UK singer to take himself a little less seriously.
“I may be playing at a festival with other artists,” he said dryly. “But I treat every performance as a solo show. I get in my lane. This is what I do. I do me very well.”
Although it feels like we haven’t seen or heard from the Fill Me In singer for an age, projects are still coming in and obviously he’s still positive (biggest understatement ever).
“I did some writing with the Backstreet Boys recently,” he started to explain. “Based on what I’d seen before in the 90s I wasn’t sure whether they were songwriters,” he said. “But I went into the process positively based on my ability as a song writer. I will never write something for release unless I believe in it.”
David was pleasantly surprised, saying, “each of the group brought something to the table and in the end we ended up with some great tracks. We were all very focused.”
Craig David transitioned from aspiring songwriter and DJ to major UK pop star in just three short years. His garage-tinged R’n’B and raw good looks had ladies across the country all a-fluster.
A fan of the UAE , David has been many times including a show more than eight years ago at Dubai’s Hard Rock Cafe — the original one. David plays at this weekend’s Atelier Music Festival at Meydan alongside 50 Cent, Nelly, Duffy, LMFAO and many more.
As a humble radio DJ in Southampton, UK, David crossed paths with Artful Dodger’s Mark Hill who would eventually write “Rewind” which would cruise to No 2 on the UK chart. His parents separated when David was young although he maintained good relationships with both his mother and father.
“It’s better to be honest,” he said, having never married himself. “I think they were just better apart and it made me who I am today. Sub-consciously it has an effect on you but I didn’t know any different. I lived with my mum but my dad made such an effort to see me and make time for me that it didn’t matter really. If you aren’t happy and you don’t break up then you’re doing yourselves and the people around you an injustice.”
Insisting his parent’s break-up isn’t the reason he hasn’t settled down, the 31-year-old claims he’s “still looking”
“I love the idea and the essence of having a soul-mate and bringing up a child together but I don’t want to force it to happen. It will come and it will feel natural.”
In the summer of 2000, aged just 19, Fill Me In reached No 1, making him the youngest British male solo artist to achieve such a feat. Better still, the US welcomed him with open arms and doors began to open.
“The only thing that’s really changed is my self-awareness,” he said.
“When you’re young you are hungry. You want to prove to the world you’re the best thing. But as you progress you start to reflect a bit. You start to ask questions which you have the answers for and you can connect to what you’re doing a little more. I’m a lot happier now.”
No time to talk about his new album, expected out anytime soon, then came the final bombshell.
Wondering if he was telling me directly, “you have to drop the ego,” he said. A chat littered with “self-awareness” and “I do me very well” I asked him to repeat what he said in case I’d misheard.
“Yeah, I used to let my ego drive. Now I don’t allow it to. I’ve dropped the ego part.”
Maybe I was chatting to someone else for the past nine minutes and 22 seconds.