22 years ago, British singer Craig David was born with his beloved album. It's a bold name, and David has proven true over the past two decades.
Like any artist with a 20-year career, David has enjoyed the ups and downs of success. As we were discussing the high point the day before Queen Elizabeth's death – hence the opening question – every great artist, like David Bowie and Elton John, has at some point experienced a career rollercoaster.
Now in 2022, David is back with a stunning new album , 22 , and a new book, What's Your Vibe? , will be released this month. Earlier this year, David returned to the stadium, performing in front of 80,000 fans with Coldplay on stage at Wembley Stadium.
I spoke at length with David about advice from Coldplay's Chris Martin and opened up a conversation about guys using their fame and new album to get more exposure.
Steve Baltin: Given Queen Elizabeth's poor health, I'm sure everyone is on the alert.
Craig David: Yes, I heard the news myself. A day most people can never imagine, especially for those who have only known the Queen in her lifetime, I reckon it must have felt breathless. All the family visits her and finally she meets her grandmother and I think that's the amazing thing when you see a family like hers, someone's grandmother. She is someone's mother. It's a sad time.
Baltin: The tribute to Taylor Hawkins last Saturday (September 3) was worth seeing. That makes everyone in the world think they know him. But you look at it and at the end of the day it's someone's father.
David: OK. And once you come back to that, I think you start to see the real connection between them all. I mean, the kid's performance was such a touching moment that you thought, "Wow." And playing with so much heart and passion that you can tell he's playing those drums. You felt every part. So it was a very touching honor.
Baltin: You are only human. And it's fun because we can identify with books. People think they know you from music, but when you release a book or a documentary, they see you from a different perspective.
David: You're right. Because connection, even what we're talking about here, is a possibility if it doesn't seem like the ultimate means to that kind of understanding. Because sometimes I feel like it's all about the music, so, well, we ask a few questions about the music and then I tell you something about the music. And then hopefully we'll get some really good songs and get everyone talking about the music. And you can do that with a book. You can easily get information back and forth. I'm deep in conversation with you. It's not the way to the end. And I just love it man. This is life for me. And I think you only realize later, maybe in your career, that there will always be someone who wants to analyze it and draw from it. And some will be clickbait, others will be very accurate. As long as you stay on track and speak your truth and what you want to share is a part of you, just do what you have. When he wants to be touched, he touches her.
Baltin: When you write a book, you go back and edit it. Which of the things that came out surprised you the most?
David: It was a very difficult time because the epidemic was ongoing. We definitely had to go. You have to be super creative and finally come up with something or just have fun or try to figure out how to survive this period. The opportunity to write a biography has always appealed to me and I always thought, "There are better people who can talk about my career." There are people who probably know more about my job than I do. But what I'm really good at is storytelling, I have stories and anecdotes that people can pick up and put in a natural place that's appropriate and important. It's based on some of the life lessons that those songs or those moments took me through. I felt like all I had to do was connect. Otherwise, as I wrote "7 Days" was again an informative encyclopedia. So I think a lot of things that I was repressing when I came into it, my relationship with Slick Dodger, how fast my career was going, things I was doing that probably didn't add up. I felt then. But because I was young and easy to charm and please people, I just wanted to say yes to whatever made me say yes. And I feel like those are all bits of history, things that people can relate to even if you don't have a career in music or just live life. And by the way, I love your cat. This is the area. Diggs, man, let me tell you. I love that. It's normal and it's wagging the way I want it, tail raised. But honestly, I thought the soundtracks were great for recreating some of the moments Artful Dodger brought to the table. It's my first time at the Notting Hill Carnival, nobody knows who I am but the song has my name on it and I see thousands of people singing my name. And I'm in. The most amazing experience of my life. I could dress up and try to hide. But actually it was very clear in there, and still no one knows who I am. But it was really fun when people went crazy over that song. It's something I think people will appreciate and I appreciate having it back.
Baltin: Are there people you admire or learn from to deal with the ups and downs of the music industry?
David: Check out the journey of artists who have dedicated their entire careers to her. That's the keyword, career. Because I've seen a lot of people make big hits and I don't mean that they were surprised once, they just had their light and it was really hard to top that at the time. But if you're okay with a career that isn't always defined by the number or volume of products sold, then you've got a career. I think every artist has a career. If you define yourself only as a number, you will surely find that number one puts a lot of pressure on you. But I totally agree with you that career is the ups and downs of life. I'm also as emotional as I was that day. I spoke to Chris Martin when we were training at Wembley Stadium. He said, "Listen Craig, I have no proof. I just want to be useful and have fun. I want to make music." He even said, "I'm very blessed and grateful to be in charge of the stadium. I do that a lot of my job.” And I'm like, “Wow, I love it when you're in the right place.” But at the same time, they're very knowledgeable about energy and renewable energy. And people who ride bikes and jump on pillows at shows. It creates its own energy: Real behind what they say. Know that symbolism is there: positivity, love, connection, and making people feel important and visible. And I say, 'You, 'recycle your foundation and your platform to lift people up, just do this great work.' If we don't do that, we really are one of the best bands in the world. And I love that he knows the importance of words and work as much as you are Coldplay and you are amazing. He's a really nice guy.
Baltin: Alice Cooper told me a few years ago, "As you get older, your name becomes a brand that you can do good with." I really like that quote. Your book is literally about positive vibes. And you are able to give back. What is most important to you now in your career in 2022?
David: To tell the truth, he should be able to know the matter. When I was on his birthday, the number one album came out, You Tour the World. Surprisingly, my 22-year-old manager didn't miss what was going on. He says: "You're 18 years old and you're having the time of your life. But at the same time, you know that any artist who has a career can't keep it up forever. You can not stand this . What's up with the 'level'? There's going to be a point where you go down and you come back up." And it was very special. And it helped me understand what a career means. And now I think so, in our climate. World, I'm very familiar with meeting people using the platform.In addition, a person who knows how to use books is more vulnerable.But let someone be clear and talk about depression, talk about hard times and not use these words: "Let's go together and dig deep and get down to business and live strong. We're stepping away from it all. These are the old patriarchal ways of communicating and actually have our more feminine, compassionate and intelligent parts. Now we're seeing a shift where Women are not as vocal as they used to be. It needs more healing. Instead of reaching the goal, they need answers to broader questions, like I said, the journey is the reward. So for me ch if i can be a part of using my story and life lessons so someone can then we are on the right track. This world needs healing, as you say, and music is one of those forms. But let's do it in literature too. Let's do it with music. Let's do it through talks, through books. As versatile as lotus flowers.
Baltin: Are there any artists and people that you admire for being able to express themselves and really grow and develop?
David: I take Elton John as a good example. Having a film that represents your work and being able to express yourself and be vulnerable in it, capturing every aspect of what it was like was even more amazing than knowing these incredible songs you wrote. And I feel it too. If you give me an example of someone collapsing, I understand. On Good Morning America , I talk about opening a book when I get on stage and feel a back pain like I've never felt before. It was the 240 volt plug that pinched my fingers and my feelings that caused me this depression and I couldn't continue this job. The moment that made me smile, the most important moment in Times Square, Good Morning America in America , my first song for the new album The Time is Now . But before him was a broken man. And I felt like it was something we needed to talk about. Don't worry about your feelings. Things we left behind, let's go to our destination. I think we've reached a point where people are ready to hear that. I know songs are healing now, people are realizing the meaning of the music and the meaning of their words and when they all come together it's a form of healing. Recently there is a choir called Dementia Choir and they have people learning songs, remembering songs is a big thing for people with dementia. It shows you that music is a really soothing thing when used. Humans can memorize music with short-term memory.
Baltin: What are the most popular songs?
David: When I listen to Robyn, there's something about the song "Show Me Love" because it's heartbreaking, but it's very clear, "I'm not going to take it." And the way chords are laid out, are the sounds that every dance tune tries to imitate. And every time I play it, every time I sing this song, I feel happy, that's for sure. And it's funny, but "air in the candle". Every time I hear this song I find it very emotional but at the same time very funny.
Yaltin: Which of the 22 songs is your favorite to see how the audience reacts?
David: I mean I saw the development of the song You Who Are and how it related to the public from the time it was released to the time people actually owned the chorus. There are times when everyone feels the joy of singing. And at that point, I felt like everyone's heart was in their hands, and it was great for the crowd when I sang. I would say that one of my favorite songs on the album is the opening song "Tears". It also includes an interpolation of John B's "Arada Na". Because I'm a big John B. "Tara Zane Na" Amar Phona Amar Rainton fan, it's been like this for three or four years, I'm always wary of interfering with anything. When you're using something classic you have to bring something to the table, or personally I think you're not doing it justice as a copywriter because you can just leave it at that. So to get this song I think it will be great. Also, I think most people associate "DNA" with their emotions. We're all wired in our DNA, some things aren't always clear to us, but when we meet there's something you don't want to talk about.