Re-re-wind… to the turn of the millennium. A far simpler time, when pop culture’s biggest concern was how cheeky chappy Craig David – previously a guest vocalist on Artful Dodger‘s ‘Re-Rewind (The Crowd Say Bo Selecta)’ – filled his calendar on hit single ‘7 Days’. After documenting his weekly schedule in comprehensive detail, Hampshire’s finest vocal acrobat would release his record-breaking debut album in August 2000, a future classic fusing UK garage, pop and R&B.
Two decades later, ‘Born To Do It’ remains the fastest-selling debut album by a British male solo act in UK Chart history. Understandably David – now 40, and still a prominent fixture in the charts after collaborating with KSI and Kurupt FM – wants to mark the anniversary in style. Cue a perfectly-timed performance of that career-launching first record, in full for the first time.
To get audiences grooving around their living rooms, proceedings kick off with a half-hour warm-up set of nostalgic garage classics, spun by DJ Spoony. Then, the garage king himself casually walks into view without any fanfare. Joined by a full live band (including two brilliant backing singers and a bouncing bassist), David opens with ‘Fill Me In’ as per the original tracklist. His instantly recognisable falsetto is just as impressive and effortless.
More of an intimate studio jam session than a full-on gig, David’s live set-up is cleverly staged and filmed; the camera’s shakiness fluctuates to match each track’s energy. Despite the distance, it creates the illusion of the audience being in the room with David and co, arms stretched over the barrier.
He’s a charismatic performer, too. Gazing directly into the camera, David sings tenderly about “writing you a love song” during ‘Rendezvous. Few other artists could make a line like “one, two, unbuckle my shoe” sound sexy – yet David somehow manages this feat on ‘Booty Man’. The swooning vocal acrobatics continue on heart-fluttering banger ‘7 Days’, accompanied by gentle acoustic guitar riffs. By the time the belting hook of ‘I’m ‘Walking Away’ arrives, it’s solid proof of just how many hits David has scored off this album alone.
“This tune set the whole tone for the rest of my career”, David gushes before launching into ‘Rewind’, his breakthrough hit with Artful Dodger, which also closes ‘Born To Do It’.
“Thank you for being with me on this journey, I love you and I’ll see you soon,” David signs off after one final mega-medley, his job well and truly done ahead of a 2022 tour. There might not be a lockdown-led baby boom just yet, but Craig David just upped the odds.