Interview - Craig David: Careless Wispas; GOODY-TWO-SHOES R&B HERO CRAIG DAVID IS HARBOURING A SECRET VICE

The Mirror (London, England), November 8, 2002 | Go to article overview

Interview - Craig David: Careless Wispas; GOODY-TWO-SHOES R&B HERO CRAIG DAVID IS HARBOURING A SECRET VICE


Byline: HENRY SALT

He doesn't drink, smoke or take drugs. He doesn't even swear. But clean-living singing sensation Craig David does have one secret vice - he's a chocoholic. Whereas rock stars are notorious for liking "nose candy", he prefers the real thing. Mars Bars, Milky Ways, Maltesers - you name it, Craig loves it, giving new meaning to the phrase "Careless Wispa".

Craig even named his debut album, Born To Do It, after a line in his favourite film, Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. And now his new single, What's Your Flava? - the first from the album Slicker Than Your Average, released on Monday - fantasises about girls being flavours of ice cream.

Given his sweet tooth, it's amazing that Craig, now 21, ever transformed himself from a chubby teenager into an international sex symbol. With incredible will power, he maintains a strict diet - no fried food or red meat - and follows a stringent exercise regime. Yet he has been unable to kick his choccy addiction.

"I was holding some serious weight when I was younger," he admits, "but I've got exactly the same appetite as I had back then. And I can eat as much chocolate as before... even more. I think it's got the point where I've got a tolerance. If I feel I've eaten too much rubbish, or been indulging in the Ben & Jerry's, I'll go completely fitness fanatic.

"I am excessive when it comes to music, working and eating chocolate. I can't have just one M&M - give me the whole packet, right now! That's my vice, I guess."

It's nice to know he has one because Craig often seems too good to be true. He's in danger of becoming the Cliff Richard of his generation - he's even been to see Sir Cliff live ("to check out the opposition"). Most surprisingly of all, despite making the sort of music you can fall in love to, he remains young, free and single. The only woman in Craig's life at the moment is his mum, Tina.

It was Tina who raised him single-handedly on Southampton's Holyrood Estate after his West Indian dad George left home when Craig was eight. His father, who played in a reggae band, helped Craig get a job as a DJ when he was 14. A year later, his mum encouraged him to enter a songwriting competition to write a B-side for boy band Damage - which he won.

So it was no surprise when, a year later, Craig burst on to the pop scene as the voice of The Artful Dodger's chart-topper Re-rewind in December 1999. Yet the success he enjoys today is as much down to the moral values his parents instilled in him as to their support for his musical talent.

His clean-living lifestyle has made him plenty of friends, especially in America. But he's well aware that things could have turned out differently.

"It was easy to get caught up in drugs and crime, coming from a council estate in Southampton," he admits. "And I've got a few friends who have been in and out of prison. It disappoints me when I see that happening. It's like, `What part did you not understand when you went in the first time to not do it again?'"

It's a strange attitude from someone who has come to prominence through the UK Garage scene, which has a reputation for violence. But Craig is adamant that you do not have to be involved in drugs or guns to gain respect on the street. …

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