Craig David is considered one of the most successful British singer-songwriters. With hits like “7 Days”, “Walking Away” or his Sting duet “Rise
In an interview with FOCUS online, Craig David looks back on his career and explains why chart successes are just smoke and mirrors for him. In addition, the singer provides tips for professional networking and gives insights into his new album.
How would you sum up your professional career in a few words? Or as they say in TV series: what has happened so far?
Craig David: It has been a pleasure, a privilege and an honor to create music that touched people deep in their hearts. This is how memories have been created for all of these people over the last 22 years.
You had your international breakthrough with songs such as “7 days” or “Rise
David: I have to say it was a dream come true. For someone who had watched so many artists rise and imagine what it would be like to actually experience it on the other side of the TV or radio, it was an incredible feeling. And that’s something I still don’t take for granted today.
What was the best piece of advice you received in your career?
David: Enjoying the moment and always keeping your feet on the ground. Eventually there will be ups and downs. There will be ebb and flow in life. And as long as you’re able to stay in the thick of it, you’ll be able to have fun and downright enjoy yourself.
Since first performing in 1999, they have had sixteen hit singles in the UK Top 10. There are also various worldwide chart successes. Did this create a certain pressure to succeed? How did you deal with it?
David: I think at some point I almost felt like I was competing with myself to have a certain level of success like sales numbers or chart positions. But I realized that it was actually just a sham. So nothing more than smoke and mirrors. That really wasn’t the true way of life for me.
The right way of life for me is: Making great music, capable of touching people’s hearts and leaving great memories behind. It’s all about that and not about the ego kick that artists get from some successes.
And of course, when you do incredibly well, I enjoy it.
Are there any mistakes you regret today? If so, what could you have done better in retrospect?
David: That’s a fantastic question. In hindsight, I think maybe we would all like to go back in time to prevent an uncomfortable experience. But now I realize that those uncomfortable moments were ultimately what gave me wisdom and experience for the future. This is how life can be summed up! You really have to experience the hard times for yourself, because that’s when you’ll find out what you really want. It’s also a way to find out what you might need to let go of so that new things can come into your life.
Her new album is titled 22. What does the title mean and what will be the highlights of this album?
David: The title of my new album has two meanings. One is this: It’s been twenty-two years since my first album Born To Do It was released. And somehow I still feel like a journeyman because I’m still learning and still enjoying it just as much as if I were sixteen and working on my first album.
The second meaning has a lot to do with symbolism and numerology. In the “Engels Numbers,” the number twenty-two is what we call a “builder number.” That means it is a number that represents a foundation and existence of service. These are two things that I have deeply internalized. I want to do real healing work with my music, to get out there and make a difference in people’s lives in a more conscious, deeper way.
In your opinion, what role do contacts play in the music business?
David: Networking is definitely a big part of the musil industry. Networking creates a certain type of relationship. And I think we can clearly state here that networks really are relationships. When you connect well with people, you can pick up the phone, have a real one-on-one conversation with someone, and actually create something tangible that way. Relationships are everything in life!
So networks are really very important. Of course, the quality of the music is the most important thing in the music business. Of course we can all talk to each other, but if the music doesn’t really speak then we just make a lot of noise.
What three tips do you have for your readers to build a strong network?
David: As I said before, I would say it means being authentic. To be honest and speak your heart. That’s when you’ll be attracted to people who share the same things as you.
Always be ready to listen carefully to those around you instead of just talking yourself. It is precisely in this artistry that the true gold rests: being able to hear and actually absorb the wisdom of others! And then you go your way and start extracting those parts that work for you. Just leave out everything that doesn’t fit. In this way you can create anything, after all everything you need is in front of you.
You are now hailed as one of the biggest DJs in Ibiza. How did the career change from singer and songwriter to DJ come about? And how did this leap shape your new music?
David: Well a lot of people don’t know, but I originally started out as a DJ. From an early age I started mixing and creating mixtapes and DJing with vinyl. When my first album “Born To Do It” became my big breakthrough, I could no longer be active as a DJ.
Then, many years later, when I moved to Miami and started throwing house parties, I was able to revisit those DJ skills. These house parties became “TS5” at my residence in Ibiza. For the last six years I’ve been doing Ibiza Rock with this mainstay. I created a performance-based DJ set that allows me to mix and play my own songs. At the same time, I also play other people’s songs and perform at the same time. This is something I’ve missed for many years when I didn’t have the opportunity to actually incorporate this. I love going out and doing band shows. Completely live with all the musicians, acoustic performances with guitar or piano and then also doing DJ sets. All of this stands for itself. That’s the best way for me to express myself.
What advice do you have for our readers who are also toying with the idea of venturing into a different business?
David: I would say that any kind of change or even reinvention can be very healthy. But rather than just saying get out there and jump in with both feet, I would suggest looking at it as a transitional process. That way you can test it first and have a chance to see how you’re going to feel about certain things before you rush an idea because you’re not sure you have the strength to do it.
I believe that’s the difference between creativity and actually reaching the ultimate goal. In this respect, I have the feeling that if you are able to take the first small steps, you will quickly see how great the chances of success will be.
Then in the end, it’s about you still being passionate at this stage, because passion is the only thing it takes to really see things through to the end. If you work late nights, haven’t been in bed, and start wondering why you’re doing all this, that will be the end of your new venture. But if there’s passion involved, you’ll get through it!