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Arts + CultureMusicUK R&B superstar Craig David: 'San Francisco is always...

UK R&B superstar Craig David: ‘San Francisco is always full of love and energy’

Kicking off his '7 Days Commitment Tour' here, the heartthrob hitmaker has a different eye on romance.

British R&B superstar Craig David isn’t afraid of commitment anymore.

These days, the smooth “Fill Me In,” “7 Days,” and “Walking Away” singer admits to taking relationships more seriously. 

Twenty-four years after breaking worldwide, “I found that this is where commitment kicks in,” he told 48 Hills in a recent interview.

So much so that he’s written a song about it. His aptly titled “Commitment,” the follow-up to the sun-kissed R&B number “Abracadabra,” isn’t out yet, but David says it reflects a new, more monogamous attitude toward relationships. 

Tired of playing the field, the Born to Do It artist is making a point not to “do it,” even taking a vow of celibacy, until he meets “the one.”

Already massive in Europe, he’s also reaffirming his dedication to broadening his American fanbase, starting with his first major US outing in two decades, the “7 Days Commitment Tour.” 

With a title marrying David’s iconic chart-topping single, 2000’s “7 Days,” and his latest, “Commitment,” his spring fling across North America, launching in San Francisco (Mon/6 at The Masonic, SF), is something of a “Re-Rewind,” uniting the artist’s greatest hits over the past quarter century.

The multi-platinum R&B singer, who turns 43 on May 5, filled me in about the tour, the fidelity of his San Francisco fans, and undoing the “7 Days” character to become a more prolonged partner.

48 HILLS This is your first US tour in almost two decades. Why is now a great time to return?

CRAIG DAVID It felt like the right time. I can’t articulate why. I was getting an influx of people from America saying, “When are you going to come and tour?” That had been happening for years, but it tended to be difficult because I was having such success in other areas that we would focus on festivals in the UK and Europe. 

But I got an invitation to do the Lovers & Friends festival in Vegas on May 4, and it just ignited this belief that if we can do a quick tour off the back of it, it would be tight because I need to be back for a commitment I already have—pardon the pun—in the UK. Then my management went full-out to make it happen. I’m grateful it all panned out. 

48 HILLS Since you’re starting the tour in San Francisco, I’m curious to hear about your history here.

CRAIG DAVID We’ve done quite a few shows there over the years, even though there wasn’t a full-run tour. 

I’ve always been fond of San Francisco for the energy. The people have always shown me so much love. There’s one thing about being in a show and everyone’s hyped to see you perform, but people waiting for me after the show is another thing. 

Or when I was going to leave the hotel, they actually would come up with multiple CDs for me to sign. I was like, “Wow.” I heard anecdotes from when they first heard the songs, and I thought, “This is awesome.” I’ve always carried those memories fondly because affecting someone’s life is what every artist dreams of. So it’s been good times.

48 HILLS You’ll be debuting “Commitment” on this run. What can you tell me about it? 

CRAIG DAVID It’s a song we recorded a couple of months ago that feels like the right song right now. It has all the right pieces of the puzzle of where I am now.

For anyone who’s been with me on the journey, they’ll be like, “OK, he’s in his bag again. He’s in his place.” But at the same time, there’s this ancestral chanting in the chorus that when we recorded it, we realized it’s much bigger than me singing it. So I’m excited for people to hear that as a new song on the tour.

48 HILLS You’re a massive R&B superstar in Europe. You boast 26 UK Top 40 singles, 10 UK Top 40 albums, two UK No. 1 albums, and multi-platinum status in over 20 countries. Why haven’t you replicated that success in the US?

CRAIG DAVID Such a great question, but I don’t fully have the answer. We ticked all the boxes but there was just something where the Universe or God said, “Listen, this album is going to do this, the second album will do this, and then there’ll be a moment in which you lean back into Europe and the UK.” 

It wasn’t even necessarily the music. It was just something in the alignment of America that hadn’t quite matched up. In my heart, I’m OK with that. 

But then, in a full circle moment, to sit here and talk with you today makes me smile, because then I go to America with this still very new, fresh thing. It doesn’t feel like, “Oh, it’s an old hat. We’re going back to America to do another tour.” It’s brand new again. Like I’m 18, about to release Born to Do It. So it excites me.

48 HILLS Your viral appearance on BBC Radio 1Xtra’s “Sixty Minute Takeover,” when you performed “Fill Me In” over Jack Ü’s EDM track “Where Are Ü Now,” was one of the most energizing videos I’ve ever seen. What was that moment like for you?

CRAIG DAVID Wow, Josh, you brought back not only a core memory, but thank you for the words you said because I love that you felt that thing.

It was so infectious. You could feel it. That feeling you got was the same thing I felt. Little did I know when I walked into the room that it would be one of the most beautiful homecomings, after living in Miami for five years, where things just weren’t hitting. When I performed, I felt this energy of “You’re here and you’re home,” with everyone in the studio showing love. 

Then, when it went viral to Justin Bieber, Skrillex, and Diplo, it changed everything. My next album, Following My Intuition, was a No. 1 album 16 years after Born to Do It was. It was like the Universe said, “Here we go.” So you brought back a defining moment in my career that changed everything.

48 HILLS You had “7 Days” and now “Commitment.” How do those two tracks take us from who you were to who you are in relationships?

CRAIG DAVID Beautiful question, man. When I wrote “7 Days,” I lived at home in my mom’s two-bedroom council flat. I’d look out the window and dream of this Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday when the week goes crazy. 

But then, jumping 24 years, I found that this is where commitment kicks in. Relationships are so important across the board, and I just wanted to have a real consistent base of what it would be like to do things differently than I’ve done with relationships lasting only for a moment. I thought, “What would it be like?” It started as a question, and then I ran with it. It’s nurturing relationships by investing in the people I care about. 

We’re going to have to undo the character from “7 Days” that people portray me as and run to the guy talking about celibacy. It’s not so much “I’m celibate until marriage.” I just needed to clear the pool of everyone to clear my spirit. So when you come correct, you can talk clearly. You’re not like, “Oh yeah, but there’s some relationship over there.” It’s “No, we’re calm here.” And at any point, if I felt something different, I would change and move into something. So it’s refreshing. It’s what feels correct.

CRAIG DAVID – 7 DAYS COMMITMENT TOUR 2024  Mon/6, The Masonic, SF. $53-$266. Tickets and more info here.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Joshua Rotter
Joshua Rotter
Joshua Rotter is a contributing writer for 48 Hills. He’s also written for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, SF Weekly, SF Examiner, SF Chronicle, and CNET.

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