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Craig Ashley David (born 5 May 1981) is an English singer-songwriter who rose to fame in 1999 featuring on the single "Re-Rewind" by Artful Dodger. David's debut album, Born to Do It, was released on 14 August 2000, after which he has since released five further studio albums and worked with a variety of artists such as Tinchy Stryder, Kano, Jay Sean, Rita Ora and Sting.
David has been nominated for twelve Brit Awards—three times for Best British Male, and twice received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
David was born in Southampton, Hampshire, the son of Tina (née Loftus), a retail assistant at Superdrug, and George David, a carpenter, and grew up in the Holyrood estate. David's father is Grenadian and David's mother is English and related to the founders of the Accurist watch-making company; David's maternal grandfather was an Orthodox Jew and his maternal grandmother a convert to Judaism. David's parents separated when he was eight and he was raised by his mother. He attended Bellemoor School and Southampton City College.
David's father played bass in a reggae band called Ebony Rockers. As a teen, David began accompanying his father to local dance clubs, where DJs let him take the microphone.
David's earliest exposure came when he worked on a b-side to British group Damage's cover of "Wonderful Tonight". He then started doing vocals for a few tracks with garage act Artful Dodger.
Wildstar Records first became aware of Craig David when the artist's then manager Paul Widger met the label's co-owner Colin Lester and played some of his music. Lester later told HitQuarters that he was particularly impressed by the first song he heard, "Walking Away", saying "That was an absolute stand out ... It struck me that any seventeen year-old that could write a song like this had huge potential." The Wildstar boss was further won over when, on later visiting the artist's home in Southampton, he found that David's tiny bedroom stacked from floor to ceiling with 12" vinyl records, commenting: "That convinced me he was the real deal and not just some kid acting out the part." At that point Lester offered him a development deal with his label. When Lester later heard the song "7 Days", he said he immediately heard a #1 record and promoted the contract to an album deal the same day.
The song "Re-Rewind", from the Artful Dodger album It's All About the Stragglers, hit Number 2 on the UK charts in 1999; thus, paving the way for a solo career. David's first single, "Fill Me In", released on Colin Lester's and Ian McAndrew's Wildstar Records, made him the youngest solo male artist ever to reach Number 1 in the United Kingdom (he was 18 years old at the time). This was the first of a string of four Top 10 singles from his debut album Born To Do It, which eventually sold more than seven million units worldwide, earning multi-platinum status in more than 20 countries. The song "Key To My Heart", taken from the US version of the album, was also featured on the award-winning Warner Brothers animated film Osmosis Jones.#
The success of David's debut, which was written almost entirely by David and Mark Hill of Artful Dodger, led to the United States release of "Fill Me In" in May 2001. It reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Born to Do It was released in the United States on 17 July 2001, peaking at number 11 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 1 million copies. The single "7 Days" hit the Top 10 in the U.S.; although "Walking Away", which had reached number 3 in the UK and number 5 in Australia, missed the Top 40 in the U.S. and was the last of his singles to chart there.
In April 2009, MTV viewers voted Born to Do It as number 2 on their "Greatest Album of All-Time" poll, behind Michael Jackson's Thriller.
The follow-up album, Slicker Than Your Average, was released in 2002. The album's first four singles continued David's streak of Top 10 hits in the UK, bringing a total of nine consecutive Top 10 hits until "World Filled with Love" peaked at Number 15 in 2003. None of the six singles released from the album charted in the U.S.. Although "What's Your Flava?" and "Rise and Fall" (duet with Sting) received airplay on the Urban Contemporary and Soft AC formats, they did not make the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Tracks chart or the Adult Contemporary chart. However, "What's Your Flava?" made the Rhythmic Top 40 (Number 32), Top 40 Mainstream (Number 24) and the Top 40 Tracks (Number 37). According to the RIAA Slicker Than Your Average reached Gold Status in the U.S..
David also commented that the album title could be looked at in two different ways: "On the one hand, it's coming across like I'm arrogant. On the other hand, it's saying I have a lot more composure on the album." "
The album was leaked onto the internet prior to its official release but David was not too bothered as he feels it "spreads the word".
David later signed on with Warner Music and put together his third album, The Story Goes..., which was released worldwide in August 2005 (excluding the U.S. where it was never released). The first single, "All The Way", returned him to the Top 3. The second single, "Don't Love You No More (I'm Sorry)", tied with "7 Days" as his longest running single in the charts since "Re-Rewind", spending 15 weeks inside the UK Top 75. The album's third single, "Unbelievable", debuted at Number 18 in March 2006.
In 2007, David collaborated with UK rapper Kano on his album London Town, for the single "This is the Girl". The track was released on 27 August 2007 and debuted at Number 18 on the UK charts.
The first single "Hot Stuff" from his album Trust Me, was released on 5 November 2007 . The single was a top ten hit, whilst the album charted at Number 18 on the UK Albums Chart. "6 of 1 Thing", the second single to be taken from Trust Me, charted at number 39 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming his third-lowest charting single to date.
"Officially Yours" was released on 23 June 2008 and peaked at Number 158 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming his lowest-charting single to date and was the final single from Trust Me. In July, a new track titled "Are You Up for This" started receiving airplay on various radio stations as part of a promo with Ice Cream Records, which also featured a remix with Witty Boy called "Nutter Butter". On 17 August, David performed at a birthday tribute concert for songwriter Don Black at the London Palladium. He performed the song "Ben", originally a hit for Michael Jackson.
David took part in Soccer Aid 2008 at Wembley Stadium on 7 September 2008. He picked up the "Man of The Match" award on the night and played in the same England side as ex-internationals such as Alan Shearer, Teddy Sheringham and David Seaman, and played against the likes of Romário, Paolo Di Canio, Jaap Stam, and Luís Figo. David received two 2008 UK Urban Music Award nominations for Best Album with Trust Me and Best R&B Act. On 7 November, David was recognised for his contribution to the music industry by receiving an honorary degree of Doctor of Music, from Southampton Solent University at a graduation ceremony held at Southampton Guildhall.
David released his first Greatest Hits album on 24 November 2008. In support of the release, David released two singles to promote the album. "Where's Your Love" featuring Tinchy Stryder and Rita Ora, a homage to his UK garage days, was digitally released on 10 November 2008. The second single, "Insomnia", produced by Jim Beanz from Timbaland productions, a dance track with hard bassline beats, was released the following week on 17 November 2008. Toby Gad and Eimear Crombie provided backup vocals and instrumental stylings.
On 29 December, a new mix of "Insomnia", titled "Up All Night Mix", was made available for digital download. As part of the Greatest Hits compilation, David re-recorded "Walking Away" with four different artists across Europe, Monrose from Germany, Nek from Italy, Lynnsha from France and Alex Ubago from Spain. The album debuted at Number 48 on the UK Albums Chart. From February to April 2009, David toured Russia, the Far East and performed one show in Los Angeles as part of a Greatest Hits tour. He met fans at a meet and greet session at Singapore Changi Airport before his show.
In April 2009, Born to Do It came second in a poll by MTV UK for the Greatest Album ever, which received over 40,000 votes, beaten by Michael Jackson's album Thriller. On 14 May 2009, David participated in the Hillsborough Memorial football match at Anfield. On 26 July 2009, David participated in the Sir Bobby Robson Trophy match at St. James' Park, playing alongside boyhood hero Alan Shearer.
On Friday 18 September 2009 fans got the first taste of the new album with an exclusive demo posted on his official website, a thirty second snippet covering Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours". On 2 October, David revealed to his fans via Twitter and his website that he had signed a new record deal with Universal. The UK edition of Jay Sean's new album All or Nothing which was released on 30 November 2009 features David on a track entitled "Stuck in the Middle". David performed a bold new cover of "I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)" from Walt Disney's 1967 film The Jungle Book on the ITV programme Ultimate Movie Toons, broadcast 28 March 2010. The first single from David's fifth studio album Signed Sealed Delivered was "One More Lie (Standing in the Shadows)" and it was released in the UK on 22 March 2010 where it made No.76 with the album following one week later on 29 March 2010, which entered the UK chart at number 13.
On 17 March 2010 David released a Garage compilation album titled Rewind Old Skool Classics mixed with DJ Spoony featuring some of their favourite UK Garage hits from the last ten years.
Two weeks later on 31 May 2010, the second single to be taken from Signed Sealed Delivered, titled "All Alone Tonight (Stop, Look, Listen)" will be released. The chorus of the single samples The Stylistics' hit "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)" but features completely new verses. In the weeks leading up to the release BBC Radio Two have backed the single by naming it their 'Record of the Week' and adding it to their 'A-List'. On 20 May 2010 David appeared as a co-host on The Morning Show in Australia alongside Kylie Gillies, whilst regular male presenter Larry Emdur was on holiday. On 27 August 2010 Swiss DJ Remady is releasing an album titled "No Superstar" on which David features on the House/Dance track "Do It On My Own". David was nominated for 'Best Video' at the 2010 Urban Music Awards for the song "One More Lie (Standing in the Shadows)". The 2010 Sunday Times Rich List indicated that Craig David is worth £8 million.
David revealed on Twitter he's worked with producer Jim Beanz on material for his new album. David also tweeted about working with August Rigo and more recently Fraser T Smith. Whilst doing a show in Russia, David confirmed he has left Universal Records and hopes to release his new album in America as well as the UK. In February 2011 David agreed to do a desert trek for Comic Relief as part of Red Nose Day 2011. A host of celebrities including Dermot O'Leary, Olly Murs and Lorraine Kelly treked 100 kilometres across a Kenyan desert to raise money for preventable blindness across Africa.
In May 2011 David made a guest appearance on NRJ12's French reality TV show Les Anges 2 where he offered advice to contestants trying to make a life in Miami. Released on 1 August 2011, David features on Erick Morillo's new mix CD Subliminal Invasion on a track titled "Fly Away". David performed at the Michael Jackson tribute concert, held in Cardiff at the Millennium Stadium on 8 October 2011.
Further to their earlier collaboration, David and Erick Morillo also canvassed a promotional track to DJ's and radio stations titled "Get Drunk Up" and also featured it on YouTube. Morillo revealed David will appear on a project with Harry Romero and José Nunez, which will feature a remix of the track. In December, he featured on the Blackout Mode dance track "Freak on the Dancefloor" that appeared on the compilation album R&B Collection 2012. Details of David's upcoming album are still unknown, however he has hinted on Twitter that it will be released in 2012.
In 2012, David has featured on a number of tracks whilst recording his own album, including releases with Stereo Palma titled "Our Love" and a collaboration with Mohombi and DJ Asaad titled "Addicted".
In July 2012, it was revealed David is writing with Backstreet Boys on their 20th anniversary album, the follow-up to their 2009 album "This Is Us" and the first they will have released since the return of Kevin Richardson who departed from the band in 2005.
David announced on Twitter in late July 2012 that he will be releasing his new album accompanied by a world tour in 2013. He has since announced on the social networking site that it will be titled "Following My Intuition" and that he has also been recording songs with Anthony Marshall, formally of production duo 'Ignorants' who remixed and produced various songs for David early in his career.
Jasmine Villegas also tweeted David regarding working on a record with Ryan Leslie but it remains to be seen who's project it is for.
David hosts and DJs his own party at his penthouse in Miami every Sunday, that have become known as TS5 and he began uploading the sets to SoundCloud. Off the back of this he has teamed up with Kiss FM UK to broadcast the live DJ sets every Sunday at 11pm, starting 11th November 2012.
In January 2013 David announced on Twitter that he had signed a publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). The deal sees David's publishing company, formally known as Bootyman Music Publishing merge to become JEM Music. The company will aim to sign new and existing artists catalogues worldwide and include all David's future works.
Starting in March 2013, David will embark on a world tour starting with three shows across Australia, then four in Europe in France, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands and finally finishing in May with four shows in England appearing in Birmingham, Manchester, Southampton and London. David´s favourite drink is Inka Cola.
David considers himself Jewish, and keeps up with Jewish traditions and holidays. On 24 March 2010 (World TB Day), Craig David was named the newest Goodwill Ambassador against Tuberculosis, his first activity in this role was to travel to South Africa to learn more about tuberculosis, where he met the people who have beaten the disease, people who are still fighting it, kids who face the threat of tuberculosis every day, and scientists who have dedicated their lives to making tuberculosis history. Craig stated that the mission is to help overcome the social stigma of TB in order to beat the disease.
David was frequently caricatured by comedian Leigh Francis on the British TV comedy show Bo' Selecta!; the show's title itself being a reference to his song "Re-Rewind (The Crowd Say Bo Selecta)". Although many other celebrities lampooned in the series appreciated the jokes and even appeared in the series themselves, David—the series' most prominently mocked target—did not enjoy the attention, remarking that the public were no longer taking him seriously. Speaking to The Sunday Times in 2007, David confessed that "The whole Bo' Selecta! thing was killing me for a while because this idiot had a cult following and I was the main caricature. [...] Inside it was absolutely pissing me off and hurtful beyond belief. There were times when I thought I just want to knock this guy out".
Although he made an appearance himself in the programme (as the pseudo-fictional "Craig Davis"), he regretted it even as he was making it: "I didn't want people to think, 'Craig's reacting to it', because then they would think, 'How can we get up Craig's nose even more?' So I did it, but I wasn't happy about it". In 2010, he further commented on his bitterness towards Francis' impersonations of him: "What upset me was that it made people ridicule "Rewind". It should make people think about the garage scene, not some guy with a stupid rubber mask. I've got nothing to say to Leigh. He's not picking up awards or anything is he?" However, he has also denied that his career had been ruined as a result of the show, and has said that he was satisfied with his musical output over the years.
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Image from Discogs