WPGM Commentary: The Rebirth Of Craig David And UK Garage

Craig David
If someone asked you this time last year whether you would like to see Craig David on tour, you would probably think he was partaking in ITV’s The Big Reunion series 3, but the legendary garage singer is becoming one of the most surprising come back artists of 2016.

Craig David saw major success early into his musical career. Initially famous for his work with Artful Dodger, he released a string of top 10 singles we all know and love, including two number one singles; “7 Days” and “Fill Me In”. He also achieved something many UK acts fail to do in their lifetime and cracked the American market.

But then later into his career, the momentum began to fade and people seemed less interested in the content he was releasing. He began to leave his urban sound and started moving towards more commercial R&B and started fading into the sea of American R&B artists, then getting lost in the popular market.

Having released many low key songs on social media since his last album, 2010’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered, and appearing on many other musical projects as a feature artist, he has somewhat disappeared from the limelight… unless there was an article about his fitness regime or Ministry of Sound was releasing another garage compilation album.

However in the month of September 2015, he appeared on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge with producer Sigala, covering Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s “See You Again” mixed with Little Mix’s “Black Magic”. He then appeared the following week on BBC Radio 1xtra performing his hit single “Fill Me In”, over Skrillex, Diplo and Justin Bieber’s song “Where Are U Now”, and then again performing Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself”, which became a viral hit and pushed David’s name back on to people’s lips.

It seems like positive things are happening to David’s musical come back already, with his TS5 European tour this year selling out completely, and his comeback single “When the Bassline Drops” featuring Big Narstie peaking at number 10 in the UK charts.

With his first album in six years, Following My Intuition, set for release in October, he has already built up an impressive resume of collaborators, prior to its release, having already worked with Katy B, Kaytranada, Blonde, and producer Dave Tozer, who has worked with John Legend and Kanye West.

Last week, Craig David released his new single “One More Time”, the third single from his up-coming album, which yet again showcases his undeniable garage sound. David refers to it as a “2016/17 garage track but very authentic in terms of melodies…

Craig David has managed to do something that many artists we loved in our younger years failed to do, and that is to release new music that people actually enjoy. Many have fallen into the trap where their fans only want to hear their classics, but David has rediscovered his roots and his unique garage sound and is producing music that brings us back to our nostalgic youth, yet is relevant to today’s market.

In the summers of the late 90s to the early 00s, garage music dominated the charts with artist such as Jaimeson, Wideboys, DJ Pied Piper, Sunship and David’s long-time collaborators Artful Dodger producing and releasing classics songs that we all refer to now as Old Skool Anthems. But since then, garage has faded back into the underground scenes after once enjoying its time in the spot light.

There have been many one-off garage tracks released throughout the years that have created chart impact such as T2’s massive hit “Heartbroken” and H ‘two’ O and Platnum’s, “What’s It Gonna Be”. However it hasn’t been until now that garage is making another real impact in the charts with DJs like Duke Dumont, Shift K3y, Blonde and Disclosure creating a new era of garage and house music.

Having released many successful single amongst them, the genre is even now being discovered outside the UK, with Canadian Hip Hop artist Drake sampling Crazy Cousinz and Kyla’s 2008 song “Do You Mind” on his Billboard chart-topping single “One Dance” from his album Views.

Whether you are a fan of the genre or not, garage music could possibly once again find its place again in the mainstream. It is a genre many artists overlook and experiment with, and that is why Craig David is so refreshing to listen to as he rediscovers himself and finds again the sound that he is really incredible at. “One More Time” is out now via Insanity Records/Sony Music, purchase it on iTunes here.

Words by Wai-kin Cheng

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