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Craig David Seizes The Moment With 'The Time Is Now'

Craig David's <em>The Time Is Now</em> marks a new phase in the British singer's staggered comeback.
Courtesy of the artist
Craig David's The Time Is Now marks a new phase in the British singer's staggered comeback.

Craig David was just 19 years old when he became one of Britain's most popular R&B stars. The singer's debut album, Born to Do It, earned him stateside fame in the early 2000s and raised his profile to international levels. Two tracks from his debut, "7 Days" and "Fill Me In," garnered Grammy nominations.

But like many young talents, a bout of bad publicity hindered his rise in ways he couldn't predict. A sketch comedy show, Bo' Selecta, repeatedly targeted David in a way he says "tarnished" his public image.

"People were starting to get lost in that cult following," he tells NPR's Sarah McCammon. "And also, I wasn't putting out new music at that time, so therefore there wasn't that ability to let new music shine through." In hindsight, David says he doesn't like how he and his team handled the ridicule. "Being a young kid and also having a lot of people micromanage the situation ... I wasn't able to express myself," he says.

David dropped five more albums from that time on, none of which were able to match the success of his debut. Now, with a new home at RCA Records and a new album, The Time Is Now, he says he's he's found a second stride and is seizing the moment as it comes. The album features production from Canadian beatsmith Kaytranada and diverse guest appearances from JP Cooper, Bastille, GoldLink and AJ Tracey.

Here, David recounts the ups and downs of his career, his appreciation for the next generation of R&B artists and feeling stable in a genre that's changed so much since his first wave of success. "Life is all about how things rough up against you and how you see them and the vantage point you have from them," he says. "I'm as balanced as I can possibly be, but it's a lifelong thing."

Listen to the entire interview at the audio link.

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Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.