AS WORKED WITH STRING OF BIG NAMES
sure-footed. Raised in a semi in Shettleston, his father John worked at the Ravenscraig steelworks and his mother Barbara was a midwife. He said: “My mum had a big record collection and she was in love with the movies. “I took her to the opening of Romeo + Juliet and I turned round and she was chatting away to Leonardo DiCaprio. She gets more excited about my involvement in movies than I do.” When the instruments were being handed out for the primary school music lessons, Craig was given a violin because his hand didn’t go up fast enough to secure the trumpet. Laughing, he said: “Who the hell would want to play the violin in Shettleston? “Someone was always trying to beat you up. It’s not the same now but it was a tough place then.” Craig ended up playing in orchestras beside mostly public school kids but his talent shone. His blind Aunt Bella, who had attended the Royal Academy of Music in London, taught him the piano, before more lessons from the talented but bullish local teacher Mrs Macleod honed his skills. hen he was 15, he pleaded to give up the piano but his mother told him it wasn’t up for negotiation. His parents taught their three boys to think of themselves as equal to all. Craig said: “If I was standing next to Pavarotti or Princess Diana, there was this old Labour sense of, ‘You are no better or worse than them’, that all you should be judged on is what you make. “I always knew I had put the work in to be there.” At 18, he found himself in London at the Royal Academy of Music. He loved the noise, the buzz and all the live music available. He said: “I didn’t think I was breaking out but, looking back, it was pretty brave.” Craig chose to base himself in Glasgow with his family – wife Laura, their three sons, who are now 28, 27 and 25, and 16-year-old daughter. He said: “When I was working with Oliver Stone, he offered me an apartment in Santa Monica. I think he thought Glasgow was some kind of far-out settlement with mud huts. I had to tell him it was a city.”
When he was young and “skinny with hair”, he played with bands like Texas and Hipsway – and he tried unsuccessfully to get a record deal in the UK before he was signed in Los Angeles.
The album’s producer, Nellee Hooper, took him to work on the score for Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, starring DiCaprio, which became a global hit.
A 20-year collaboration with Luhrmann was secured and agents turned up in Glasgow to knock on his studio door. These days, he has to turn work away. As an album, Sun On You is so exquisitely pure it travels straight to the heart. Some tracks are filmic, some classical, written for piano and strings, to be performed on a smaller scale than much of his work.
Craig said: “What happened was, I wanted to play a piece of music one day that I wanted to hear, so I just started writing it. This is not music standing back and observing, it is music that is trying to reach out.
“I just try to do what I feel is right at the time. I made it as basic as it could be. I didn’t want a big production on it.”
Craig will be 60 next year and has considered winding down but isn’t quite ready to make the shift.
He said: “This year was the first time I looked back on what I have done, and I have written so much music. I haven’t been idle but in my head there is so much more I would like to do. I still feel I have room to improve and learn.”
Sun On You will be released on September 7 on Decca. The single If I Should Fall is available for download now.
HONOURED Craig with Oliver Stone as he receives the Henry Mancini Award in 2016 for his outstanding contribution to the world of film music SCORES TO REMEMBER