Craig David: ‘Bo’ Selecta! was a blessing in disguise’

I feel like I’m getting younger in my heart. I’m starting to loosen up a little. I’ve always been a perfectionist – I’ll exhaust things until I feel happy. But over the years I’ve realised there’s a point where you have to pull back on that. I’d still be messing around with Born To Do It if I had had my way – and that’s nearly 20 years old.

I’ve stopped taking fitness so seriously. There was a period when I’d go to the gym twice a day. It’s different now because it’s just about staying healthy and keeping the body moving. I use my performances as my cardio.

Onstage I always feel like I can keep it together. In 2001 I did three nights at House of Blues in LA and every night I was starstruck. The first night Jennifer Lopez and Missy Elliott came. The following night it was Beyoncé. Then the third night I was singing Walking Away and I looked into the crowd and I could see Stevie Wonder singing along to it. That was a very surreal moment for me.

I don’t live in a hotel any more. When I was living in Miami and coming over to the UK, I’d stay in a hotel by the airport because it made sense. But hotel stays aren’t healthy at the best of times, and any longer than a few days is really not the one. I’m back grounded in a proper home now, which is good.

I used to think recognition came from winning awards. But now I realise the actual winning part is all smoke and mirrors. I feel like I’m winning every day when someone comments and says: “This song changed my life.” There is no award that’s ever going to give you that feeling. I live off that now.

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I have 100% forgiven Leigh Francis for Bo’ Selecta! If you hold on to things and ask the question, “Why did it happen?” it’s like you’re drinking your own poison. You have to forgive people, and the situation, and also look at what came from it. In a roundabout way, that period of time made me ask a lot of questions about what direction I was going in. Music isn’t a hobby for me. It wasn’t like I was going, “I’ve had a good innings, let me tap out now.” It made space for me to come back. It was a blessing in disguise in a weird way.

Celebrity culture plays its part in society. But I see it from a slightly different place, too – I feel for people who are sold the dream. I almost want to give them a big hug and tell them to be ready for when it stops. I’m really conscious when I see shows like Love Island that there’s a good support system around that doesn’t allow them to inflate too much. I genuinely worry because we’re all part of gassing people up, but then when it goes quiet, where’s everyone then?

I was 16 when I wrote 7 Days, and I was still living at home in my mum’s house, so it wasn’t like I was living the life. On it I even sing, “We were making love”, so it wasn’t like we were doing a whole load of craziness. I was playing these songs around my mum so I could never be vulgar. But with the right person sex becomes more than a primal experience. There’s a whole different level and elevation of sex if you’re with someone you really love and care for. That’s when it excels and moves into another place.

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Craig David’s new single, Do You Miss Me Much, is out now


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