R&B sensation Craig David was barely out of his teens when he took a hold of the U.K. pop circuit, twisted it around, and threw it back on its bum during fall 2000. This fresh-faced native of Southampton, England, was merely playing into his love of funkadelic hip-hop and crooning urban stylings when he started writing songs as a teenager. His love for Terence Trent D'Arby, Sisqo, and Donnell Jones allowed him to put his creative love for art, culture, and history into a musical beat all his own. And the new millennium belonged to him and garage had been redefined.
Born Craig Ashley David on May 5, 1981, David was slicing and dicing ragga and R&B on the local station PCRS 106.5FM and found himself playing club gigs prior to rubbing elbows with some of music's finest. It was during this time he hooked with Artful Dodger's Mark Hill. After winning a national writing competition, Craig was more than ready to start producing with Hill. His big break came when he put his own additives on Damage's "I'm Ready," a B-side to "Wonderful Tonight." Soon thereafter he remixed his own version of Human League's "Human" and started himself a regular spot in area clubs during the weekends. "Rewind" was another underground smash, specifically a definitive move for David. His respect for Stevie Wonder, Faith Evans, and R. Kelly was most apparent, however his own vocal talent was beginning to shine. He and Hill's specialty show on Capital Radio provided another outlet for David to shape his musical work of genius. "Fill Me In" proved yet another hit, shooting straight to number one in summer 2000. David was now the youngest British male solo artist to have a number one single. He was 19-years-old.
A deal with Wildstar Records in the U.K. sparked toward the end of the summer as "Re-Rewind" and "7 Days" gained praise in late November. A stateside agreement with Atlantic also led to more global hype. He had sold 3.5 million records worldwide and garage was finally becoming massive overseas and it was David's debut Born to Do It that was at the head.
But not all were pulling for this R&B prodigy. Aside from winning three awards at the MOBO's in October, Craig David walked away empty handed at the 2000 Brit Awards in February 2001. He was up for six nominations, including Best British Male Solo Artist, Best British Newcomer, and Best British Single for "7 Days," but industry politics fell into operation. Many mainstream stars came to David's defense, artists such as Elton John, U2, and Robbie Williams, professing their disgust for the ill recognition for David and his musical efforts in the past year. Death threats soon followed for the superstar in spring 2001 as he took the stage in a show in London. An anonymous caller claimed a soldier would injure David with tear gas and hand grenades. Still, his record sales continued to soar in the U.K. with sales of Born to Do It increasing over 100 percent after his dismal beginning months of 2001. He bombared American Shores with a deal with Atlantic and released Born to Do It stateside in summer 2001. Mainstream radio flocked to him immediately. Missy Elliott, BeyoncĂ© Knowles, and Usher called themselves fans.
The next year, things didn't simmer down for the now international pop star. Craig David returned with a sophomore effort Slicker Than Your Average in November 2002. This particular album saw a much grittier side from David. Debut single "What's Your Flava?" also became one of the year's hottest singles.