Arguably the most popular artist to emerge from the short-lived garage/2-step scene in Britain, Craig David arrived fully formed as a producer, since he was DJing both on radio and in clubs in his hometown of Southampton before hooking up with garage maven Artful Dodger. Together, they produced a number of potent club hits, and when David started singing in 2000, his single, “Fill Me In,” went to No. 1. He was only 19.
The backlash was quick and strong, and rather baffling. Though nominated for six Brit Awards in 2001, he walked away empty-handed. The following year David even received death threats before a concert in London. Despite the disappointments, his sales continued to soar, and when his album, “Born to Do It” was released in the States, it found fans in the right places, specifically the homes of Missy Elliott, Beyonce and Usher.
Five years later they might want to consider David the competition. His new album, “The Story Goes,” is tougher and grittier than his first two records, more like classic American R&B. Usher may be a more gifted singer, but lately he hasn’t made a single as immediately likable as “All the Way,” and only Babyface in his prime could have produced a loverman ballad as captivating as “My Love Don’t Stop.” Even the hackneyed sexual come-on “Take ‘em Off” works because it’s as humorous as it is hot.
The story, it would seem, is just getting started.