Daniel Bedingfield on the story behind ‘Gotta Get Thru This’

The making of UK garage’s ultimate endurance anthem – from rollerblading over Tower Bridge to the GRAMMYs

Electronic music subgenres have climbed their way back to the forefront as a result of “radio play and TikTok”, Daniel Bedingfield points out to me early on in our interview. He speaks to me from an eco-village in Topanga Canyon, “as far away from LA” as he can get, beaming about his upcoming tour, and the UK garage renaissance.

It’s a pleasant and welcome resurgence for Daniel, whose GRAMMY-nominated breakout debut single, ‘Gotta Get Thru This’, turns 23 this year. “A lot of the music I’ve made for the last 20 years would sound quite connected on today’s radio,” he says. “Music has shifted so I can just make what’s in my heart and it seems to be what people want again. That part of it makes me very excited to tour, do shows and be out there. I’ve just been waiting for music to go through its cycles.”

A 30-year cycle to be exact, as UK garage celebrates its three-decade anniversary this year – marked by a series of shows by UKG pioneer DJ Spoony, including a celebratory medley at the 2024 MOBO awards. It’s natural for genres to follow a trend cycle, especially in the wake a global recession, which tends to sway society’s appetite for music in favour of higher BPMs. The combination of all these factors have become fertile ground for drum ‘n’ bass and garage to be “massive again”, as Daniel describes it. 

“And that makes me really happy. I never got to release a drum ‘n’ bass track before, and now I’m working on a D&B album with a lot of my heroes.”

There’s an infectious excitement in Daniel’s tone, as well as a sense of accomplishment. “It takes a lot to align yourself to a new genre of music. It can take years until you understand it – until you can make it.” It’s hard to think of Daniel Bedingfield’s music as sitting on the fringes until music trend cycles bring him out of obscurity again, because ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ and its eponymous album have always been generational. Internationally so, I point out to him, letting him know I first heard his songs on MTV at five years old when I was living in Uganda. We bond over our love for Machinedrum, south London and more as we take a look back on his debut album and single.

Daniel Bedingfield - Gotta Get Thru This

Did you know that ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ was going to have this kind of longevity?

My record company told me it would! It’s a shock when anything has longevity, isn’t it? It’s pretty wonderful. That’s the goal – to write songs that that inspire generations and bring people together. So, you’ve got all the six-year-olds that were listening to their parents’ music. They’ll be at the concert now as 26-year-olds, along with their parents, listening to me and singing with me.

Also, I really like this new group of young British people so much more than their parents – sorry! [laughs] They make sense to me. And they don’t have this relentless pursuit of taking everyone down. I think England has been healing.

What other kinds of music influenced you while you were making the album? I know that some of it feels R&B-inspired. I was listening to ‘James Dean’ and it felt like I was listening to ‘Blood On The Dancefloor’ by Michael Jackson.

I was raised by a Jamaican family. My Kiwi family came over to London, southeast London, and we became besties with a Jamaican family. So, I was raised going to nightspots and bashment you know, with 20 artists on the belt. And being raised in a highly Afro Caribbean environment, reggae is baked into my DNA, along with rare groove and soul. Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and then lot of drum ‘n’ bass and garage.

You can definitely hear all the different cultural influences in that first album. 


South London!

Is it true that you recorded ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ and other songs from the album on the computer in your bedroom?

Yeah, I got my first PC and my first sequencing software. I think it’s the first song in history that was made in a home studio that was a hit. That programme I used was hardly even out, it was just a beta of this software called Making Waves. So, it was an amazing time for technology.

Daniel Bedingfield - Gotta Get Thru This - Top Of The Pops - Friday 7th December 2001

And then also I read that it was written about a breakup, but I wanted to confirm that. I didn’t want to start salacious rumours…

It was pre-breakup. I was rollerblading across Tower Bridge going to work. Back then, I was building teletext and Barcelona FC webpages. And the rhythm of the song (da da da da) was how I skating and the song came to me in its entirety, except for the bridge. And I did the whole song in my head, so I rushed straight home after work and put it down.

Did you put it down as the acoustic version first or with the production as well?

I had to keep singing it all day and the production was in my head, so put it straight in as soon as they got home. But before that, I’d been going to drum ‘n’ bass gigs and garage nights twice a week for the whole three years [while making the album], just learning how to make garage. I’d would take my records and give them to DJs to ask what could be better. They loved mentoring young kids! Anyone in the world could come there, and the DJs would say, “fix this, fix that”.

Then when the song was good enough, they’d play it out in the clubs. So one of the DJs did play it out, and that’s how EZ found it and blew it up.

That’s incredible. I love the community feel that went into the recording process, because I would say that it’s generational song. What about the music that you’re making now? Does it still have that same collaborative aspect?

There’s a lovely guy called Machinedrum. 

Love Machinedrum!

He’s so good! I met him last week and asked if he wanted to do something together and he said yes! [Laughs] I can’t believe he said yes. It’s a deep honour.

Are you working with any other artists?

So, I’m going to come back with a drum ‘n’ bass album with lot of my heroes – surprise guests I can’t mention right now. And then the NOISIA boys and I are going to do something. 

Are you going to preview some of that in your upcoming tour? 

Yes, I am. I just did a drum ‘n’ bass festival in Tulum called LOCUS that my best friend runs. And I’ve tested a bunch of the new material and [the audience] loved it.

That’s amazing. And the subject material that you’re writing about now, 23 years later, how has it matured? 

Less co-dependent histrionic desperation? Not that histrionic is a word that should ever be used to be honest…

Daniel Bedingfield starts his UK tour on 21 April, returning to stages in June at Cannock Chase and Thetford forests alongside Olly Murs, before playing with Take That in Malta in October. Find tickets here.