Craig David on 20 years of Born To Do It and his dreams of playing the BIC

South coast superstar Craig David will soon return to his roots to play a gig at the BIC celebrating 20 years since the release of his debut album. Alex Cutler catches up with the singer.

Singer, songwriter and legend of the UK garage scene, it’s been 20 years since Craig David met a girl on Monday, took her for a drink on Tuesday and… well, you know the rest.

To celebrate, the Southampton native is preparing for a ten-date UK arena tour marking two decades since the release of his debut album, Born To Do It.

Speaking down the phone from his London home, the singer ‘filled me in’ (sorry, couldn’t resist) on what he has in store for his fans this year.

“I’m just relaxing at the moment,” he said. “Everything is ramping up for the tour and to be honest I like it, I can be really creative about how the show will look.”

The tour has 10 dates, including two dates at The O2 in London, kicking off in Cardiff on April 13 and setting alight the Bournemouth International Centre on April 14.

Although David has performed in countries all over the world for 20 years, returning to his south coast roots and playing the Bournemouth International Centre is always a particularly poignant moment for him because he used to be one of the faces in the crowd.

“When I was a kid I used to have hopes and dreams of playing in these venues,” he said. “I remember going to see Terence D’Arby at the Guildhall in Southampton and The Dreem Teem at the BIC in Bournemouth, and next thing I know, I’m performing there.”

Asked how it feels looking back on 20 years since Born To Do It changed his life, David said it was going to be a year of celebrations: “It’s funny because you expect to have that feeling like ‘wow, that’s so long’ but it genuinely feels like it could have been yesterday and I’m still playing a lot of the songs from the album.”

Being one of the UK’s most loved artists, he has plenty of memories to look back on, from mixing music in his bedroom in Southampton, to being nominated for multiple BRIT and GRAMMY awards, to having two UK number one albums.

In another career milestone, David gave the nation a reminder of his many talents (as if we needed it) with an iconic performance to 12 million viewers as part of the BBC’s New Year’s Eve coverage.

The singer-songwriter said he ranks that gig as ‘right up there’ with some of the biggest moments of his career, including performing at Glastonbury.

That show gave viewers a taste of what to expect from his upcoming arena tour, as he combines his live vocals and full band with his hugely successful TS5 concerts.

TS5 started as an exclusive house party at David’s Miami penthouse and soon gained popularity worldwide, turning into a showcase performance of the star’s ability to sing, MC and work the crowd while DJing simultaneously.

These shows bring a house party vibe to international music venues.

When asked if we can expect new songs and possibly an album any time soon, he said: “That’s the plan. We have so much new material, there will be a new album dropping this year hopefully.

“I know people still want to hear songs like Feel Me In and Walking Away and I still play those songs.

“Over 20 years I have so much music that I’m so grateful that people have connected with.

“Now there’s a whole new generation, a fan base that have connected with my music, and there’s people that have been with me since the beginning.”

Craig hopes that his new arena tour “captures that 20-year period” while making sure everyone is ‘having a good time’ at his gigs: “That’s the important part,” he said. “I’m always careful about how much of the production there is and how much of the music there is.

“I’m a music man, so I want people to hear the vocals. That’s been my USP really.

“If you come and see me, you are going to get some music.”

*Craig David’s Hold That Thought UK arena tour will be at the Bournemouth International Centre on April 14 – for tickets visit craigdavid.com or BH Live.

Bournemouth Echo | What’s On