CASH FOR QUES­TIONS: CRAIG DAVID

The 7 Days man fields queries on Alan Par­tridge, Bo’ Selecta! and arm-wrestling.

Q (UK) - - Contents -

Com­par­ing tantric sex tech­niques with Sting, sell­ing dou­ble glaz­ing and Bo’ Selecta! – just a few of the things you wanted the UK garage Come­back King to tell you about…

It’s a Thurs­day af­ter­noon when Craig David meets Q at his North Lon­don stu­dio. Tucked away within a small of­fice com­plex, hav­ing res­cued his ca­reer from pop’s dust­bin, the singer is busy work­ing on the fol­low-up to his Num­ber 1 come­back al­bum, 2016’ s Fol­low­ing My In­tu­ition. Al­though his de­but al­bum Born To Do It crested the early- 2000s UK garage wave, the Southamp­ton man’s ca­reer floun­dered, ex­pe­dited in no small part by David be­ing the con­stant tar­get of Leigh Fran­cis’s la­tex mask-led im­pres­sions show Bo’ Selecta!. Yet re­lo­ca­tion to Mi­ami has pro­vided an un­likely path to re­demp­tion. The singer’s “TS5” house par­ties be­came the hang-out in Amer­ica’s dance cap­i­tal, which in turn rekin­dled in­ter­est in David’s own ma­te­rial lead­ing to arena shows, Glas­ton­bury slots and last year’s all-con­quer­ing come­back. Still, some­thing’s amiss in David’s world. Ac­cord­ing to the strict sched­ule laid out in his song 7 Days, after woo­ing po­ten­tial girl­friends on Mon­day and Tues­day, shouldn’t he be busy mak­ing love on Thurs­days (not to men­tion, Wednesdays, Fri­days and Satur­days)? “Not to kill a myth, but I was 17 when I wrote the song, so 7 Days was more my hopes and dreams rather than it ever ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing to me,” laughs David of his lov­ing-free sched­ule. “Now I’m 35, it’s more Mon­day, Tues­day, Wed­nes­day, Thurs­day go to the stu­dio, shows on Fri­day and Satur­day… but Sun­day I’m still chill­ing! That’s the one thing that hasn’t changed!” Be­fore he re­laxes, let’s add a grilling from Q read­ers to Craig David’s di­ary…

In your ab­sence­abse from the Bri­tish mu­sicm scene, did youyo ever con­sider get­tingget a “proper job”,job” if so what would you haveha done? Peter Gregory, Nuneaton

Nah, this was al­ways the num­ber one. I have sold dou­ble-glazed win­dows but that was prior to me do­ing my mu­sic. Was I any good? Not re­ally. It was cold-call­ing. Even if you got close to sell­ing, nine times out of 10 it was some­one wind­ing you up. You live and learn.

Is it true when you first started re­leas­ing tracks that you’d sneak your records into other re­leases in your lo­cal record shop? Brian Hooper, Stroud First time round? One hun­dred per cent! The first song I was ever in­volved in was I’m Ready, the B-side of [’ 90s boy band] Dam­age’s [ 1997 sin­gle] Won­der­ful Tonight. I was 13 years old, so as soon as it came out I went to the Vir­gin Me­ga­s­tore in Southamp­ton, saw it in the new re­leases and de­cided: “Right, it’s go­ing to be ev­ery new re­lease!” [ laughs] It only lasted as long as some­one clocked me and put it all back to nor­mal.

You lived in an air­port ho­tel for a while – what was the most Alan Par­tridge thing you did? Michelle Bryant, via Q Mail I found out about the Alan Par­tridge ho­tel thing after the event. I’ve got to say that be­ing in a ho­tel for a year-and-a-half is not a bad look though. It was be­cause when I was com­ing in from Mi­ami the last thing I wanted to do was drive into Cen­tral Lon­don, and you al­most have every­thing on tap: gym, restau­rant, shop, place to get your hair cut… After a while I had had enough, but I had no com­plaints. What did Alan Par­tridge do? An ex­tra big plate for the buf­fet? That old chest­nut! I wasn’t re­ally about the buf­fet, I was try­ing to keep it more De­liv­eroo on that bad boy.

How much main­te­nance did your goa­tee beard re­quire? What do you do with the ex­tra time in the morn­ings now that you sport a more stan­dard beard? Jonty Laud, via Q Mail I have a very good bar­ber, so that’s more of a monthly tip, whereas be­fore it was al­ways: “Let’s get it crisp.” As you grow up, you re­alise there’s e’s only a fi­nite amount of time in the day and you don’t want to be spend­ing half of it on look­ing a cer­tain way. I get up, get a shower. If I can get a shave in, cool – if not, let’s keep p it mov­ing.

So where is the best place to take a girl for a drinknk on a Tues­day? Steven James, via Twit­ter

I’ve been so locked in the stu­dio I don’t know where the spots are, but to be hon­est, it’s not so much where to take her, but what your intentions are. Rather than go for a drink and it be a bit played-out, are you gen­uinely into the per­son? That’s the new agenda.

In 2009, Born To Do It was voted Num­ber 2 in MTV’s Great­est Al­bums of their life­time, Thriller was Num­ber 1. Was there foul play afoot or do you stand by the re­sult? Sarah Robertson, Birm­ing­ham I was just flat­tered to be any­where near Michael Jack­son. It was across the board too, not a niche group of peo­ple, so even if I’d had my whole team click­ing I don’t think we’d have been able to change the re­sult. Around the same time I did my first US shows at the House Of Blues in LA and on the last night Ste­vie Won­der came. Af­ter­wards he in­tro­duced me to Quincy Jones, who said to me: “I bought 10 copies of Born To Do It and have given them all to my friends!” My mind was tick­ing over, go­ing: “Well, I know who one of your clos­est col­lab­o­ra­tors is…” but be­fore I could ask, he went: “Michael Jack­son’s got a copy of the al­bum, he loves it!” I thought, “My job is done!”

You once sang to me while I was work­ing in a record shop in Hamp­stead be­cause you couldn’t re­mem­ber the name of the song you wanted to buy (it was Ce­line Dion), have you ser­e­naded any other shop work­ers? Lisa Goodall, Shep­herd’s Bush In HMV? I re­mem­ber that, I used to live right by that shop. At least I can hold a tune, so there was a chance peo­ple would get what it was. I used to sing in shops all the time right up to the point where I re­alised Shazam ex­isted. That blew my mind, I should have bought shares in it.

You have claimed that you only wear a pair of train­ers once to keep them box-fresh. Did you ever con­sider the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of this in­cred­i­bly waste­ful act of van­ity and where o on earth do you keep them all? Paul O’Dell, Liver­pool

To give a bit of back story: I’d save up for ages to buy just one pair of train­ers that I re­ally loved back in the day – my first ex­pen­sive pair I loved were Nike Air Huarache, which I brought for £ 70 –I couldn’t get my head around hav­ing new shoes and then soil­ing them up. So I was the guy who had the full kit: the brush, whitener, soapy liq­uid for the laces. I kept them box-fresh, so I’d wear them spar­ingly. I’ve kept that men­tal­ity, and my shoes last for a long time! So in terms of im­pact on the planet, I’m help­ing, I’m not wear­ing them once and dash­ing them, I’m wear­ing them for years!

Does it dis­ap­point you that Southamp­ton are still a “sell­ing” club? Tim Fo­ley, Hay­wards Heath

No, be­cause we’re still in the Pre­mier League, and, hav­ing been in League One, if we have to sell that’s the way it goes. Some­how we al­ways find our way. I went to the League Cup fi­nal this year. It was close. Southamp­ton should have had it but when you come up against some­one like Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic, Man Utd for­ward] who does not play games, it’s a dif­fer­ent level.

Now that every­thing is dig­i­tal, when was the last time you ac­tu­ally re­wound some­thing? Stu­art Lescott, Bridling­ton Re­cently! I’ve still got decks and I’ve also got a small tape-player I found when I went to my mum’s house. I’ve got a load of cas­settes that I’m slowly copy­ing onto my iPod. It’s a mis­sion, but I’m get­ting there. I also used to al­ways rewind my videos be­fore re­turn­ing them to Block­busters. It was a karmic thing.

Did you ever laugh at Bo’ Selecta!? An­drew Fisher, via Q Mail Do you know what, at that time I could see the funny side of all of it, be­cause I re­mem­bered Spit­ting Im­age from back in the day.

It was ex­actly the same play. It was more the fact it was named after one of the songs was why the whole at­ten­tion ended up on me, but ev­ery­one was get­ting rinsed. I couldn’t get the specifics of where he was go­ing with it, but over­all I saw he was a comedian on the up and he’s go­ing for it. That’s what com­edy is about – com­edy is not about hold­ing back! I never thought it would have an im­pact in the waywa it did. It didn’t bother me per­son­ally – you can take the piss out of me all day long,long I’m ab­so­lutely cool with that – but when­whe peo­ple started mak­ing my mu­sic into a guilty plea­sure be­cause of it I re­alised it had some brand dam­age. The only way to get out of it was to write, I just had to keep­kee writ­ing songs. It’s crazy, be­cause it has made what’s hap­pened to me since be more.. If that hadn’t hap­pened I would have just kept put­ting tunes out, it would have been a come­back of sorts.. So I’ve got no prob­lem with Leigh Fran­cis. Ac­tu­ally, I’ve been­bee asked so many times to do [ Fran­cis’s cur­rent show]show Celebrity Juice. The vibe is fun, but no, I’ve had the fun taken out of me enough! By the looks of your torso you spent much of your time away pumping iron – when was the last time you chal­lenged some­one to an arm wres­tle? Luke Wilkin­son, Truro I haven’t arm-wres­tled in a long time. Q of­fers] Nah. Arm-wrestling is some­thing you have to know. What would my pre­ferred phys­i­cal chal­lenge be? Ta­ble ten­nis! I’m de­cent. I can put it about. I’ve heard d Da­mon Al­barn is good, so I’d like to play him, but Jimmy Napes apes who writes with Sam Smith is sup­posed to be the guy. He puts it out there that he’ll school you. So I’m tempted to go to his stu­dio…

Your par­ti­esties in Mi­ami be­came leg­endary. What’s your top tip for hosting­ing the per­fect soirée? Noel Carl­son, via Q Mail

For me it was mak­ing ev­ery­one ry­one feel like a VIP. At the TS TS5 par­ties it was drinks on tap, and the food and mu­sic had to be right – that’s how all this the come­back come­back] came about re­ally. I started with a playlist that peo­ple messed with – one minute it was a hip-hop tune, the next The Macarena – so I reined it in and DJed. Then peo­ple said, “Grab a mic, host the party”, so I did. Then they went, “Do some of your own tunes.” I re­ally wasn’t sure about play­ing my own mu­sic at my house party, but peo­ple got hyped so I put it on SoundCloud and that led to me get­ting ra­dio play in the UK. It’s funny when I look back at it, ev­ery el­e­ment was there, but it was a puz­zle I had to put to­gether.

Ac­cord­ing to 7 Days you made love for four of those days, whereas Sting once said he can do it for seven hours at a go. Did you com­pare “en­durance” tech­niques when you worked to­gether? Nina Walsh, Maiden­head No, we never got to that con­ver­sa­tion! He was very much into cross­words when we met. It was amaz­ing, he even let me sam­ple 1993 track] Shape Of My Heart, but then we did the video for 2002 col­lab­o­ra­tion] Rise & Fall to­gether too, but we never went down the tantric thing.

How do you chill on a Sun­day? Oliver Keane, Wi­gan I prop­erly re­lax it out be­cause it’s “cheat meal day” on Sun­days! I try to be healthy through­out the week, so Sun­day is the day where you eat what­ever you want. Oh man, we go in! Get in the big pizza and the huge cheese­cake, and watch a movie. It’s a good day, Sun­day.

To take part in Cash For Ques­tions, go to Qthe­mu­sic.com, fol­low @Qmagazine on Twit­ter or visit Face­book (face­book. com/qmagazine). £ 25 for each ques­tion printed! If yours is printed, email Qmail@Qthe­mu­sic.com to claim your money.

“I could see the funny side of Bo’ Selecta! You can take the piss out of me all day long, I’m ab­so­lutely cool with that.”

WORDS PAUL STOKES PHO­TO­GRAPHS AL­FRED GE­ORGE BAI­LEY

“Like what you see?” On a break from his weekly love marathon, 2002. A-ha! Alan Par­tridge, a long-term travel ho­tel dweller, like Craig.

“I just swal­lowed a ques­tion!” David keeps sch­tum; (top left) de­but al­bum Born To Do It. Just do it: Craig keeps his train­ers box-fresh.

That’s for the birds: Leigh Fran­cis as Craig on Bo’ Selecta!. Abs-so­lutely fab­u­lous: the 7 Days singer turns on the blue steel down the gym. “Now, where did I put my left leg?”: Craig’s col­lab­o­ra­tor, Sting.

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