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In the early summer, UK garage legend Craig David will be touring the UK, hitting some huge open-air stages along the way. Craig will be heading to Powderham, Cheltenham, Dundee and more, bringing Sigala, Becky Hill and Nathan Dawe on tour with him to these unique venues.
Ahead of his busy summer, including a handful of festival appearances, we caught up with Craig to discuss the shows, his career and what he gets up to 15 minutes before hitting the stage.
What can fans expect from these open air shows?
For me, its great to have over twenty years of material and to be able to play the hits for people, and also surprise people with tracks they may not have expected to hear from my back catalogue. During these shows I like to integrate the TS5 DJ sets and the live band that we tour with so that there is a continuous flow throughout the set. That’s important for me.
How do you feel about playing open air theatres and festivals compared to indoor venues?
All of the shows that we do, whether that be TS5 DJ sets or myself with a live band, we really harness the energy of our surroundings. When we’re in front of thousands of people in the open air I love how much space there is for the vocals to resonate and how it brings all generations together. However even when we are in a small club, the energy and the heat from the room is something we thrive off, so anything is good for us!
The support for these shows are ridiculously good, what’s your relationship with Sigala like?
Sigala is just a lovely guy. Also, he is one of the best producers I have worked with, his attention to detail and how meticulous he is astounds me every time. I was in the studio when he had got his first No.1 with Sweet Loving. When the track reached No.1, he was ringing radio stations and his team saying thank you making sure his dues were paid. Not out clubbing, he was still in the studio with me getting work done. That’s when you know someone is the real deal.
Do you have any superstitions or rituals before you go out for a show or do you just jump straight in?
I just need time and space. That 15 minutes before I get out on stage is so important for me to get grounded and leave everything at the stage door for when I get out there. I’m very conscious of the effort level that I bring to my shows and I try to give myself this time to make sure that I am at 110% before I get out there. Some of these guys that can go out and live that party lifestyle and still perform amaze me. I have to have boundaries and make sure that everything is balanced, the shows are too important for me to be burnt out.
Can we expect any new music being released from you soon?
I have loads of new singles lined up for this year along with a new album. I love to have music stockpiled so that I know where I am going with it. Along with the releases and the gigs that we have booked in its looking like it’s going to be a packed-out year, but for me quality is so important. Releasing music and booking tours in is a lot quicker process than how it used to be, and I would hate for the quality of my content to fall so I’m very conscious of that when recording.
In a career spanning more than 20 years, how does the success of last year’s The Time Is Now rank amongst your achievements?
Unbelievable, there was a period of time about four or five years ago where I was a bit quiet to the public eye. But after releasing Following My Intuition and especially When The Bassline Drops with Big Narstie, and then following that up with The Time is Now, the success and the accolades were incredible. But my mindset has changed now. Now what matters to me most is getting out there and seeing different generations of fans coming together and all appreciating different parts of the show, that’s difficult to beat.
Are there any UK artists that you would like to work with in the future or are you admiring anyone else’s work recently?
I’ve still got so much love for the guys that I have already worked with such as Yungen, AJ Tracey and Big Narstie. These guys are ridiculous. But I would love to work with the likes of Ella Eyre, Jorja Smith, and Dua Lipa. But in general it is a fantastic time for music at the moment so there is a great amount of talent around. I love making odd connections work as well, for instance on the last album working with Bastille was great because of how different we are.
Craig David plays a series of outdoor venues with Sigala, Becky Hill and Nathan Dawe.
24 May 2019 – Jonny-Rocks Stadium, Cheltenham
1 June 2019 – Powderham Castle, Exeter
2 June 2019 – Colchester Castle Park, Colchester
7 June 2019 – Slessor Gardens, Dundee
8 June 2019 – ABAX Stadium, Peterborough
He’ll also perform on the following dates:
25 April 2019 – O2 Academy, Newcastle
26 April 2019 – O2 Academy, Glasgow
12 July 2019 – Kew The Music, London
17 August 2019 – Market Rasen Racecourse, Lincolnshire
24 August 2019 – South West Four Festival, London
26 August 2019 – House of Common Festival, London
Tickets for Craig David’s UK shows and festival appearances are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.