Scroll To Top

 Craig David: Brits Do It Better

 Craig David: Brits Do It Better


Checking in with the U.K.'s sultriest R&B crooner, we discover a guy who's almost too good to be straight.

The gays have always been supportive of R&B music, and R&B's female artists like Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle, and Advocate cover girl Mary J. Blige have reciprocated this love. Male R&B artists rarely show support for or even acknowledge their gay fans. Craig David is one of the first mainstream male R&B artists to do just that.

The strikingly attractive Brit with the million-dollar smile and smooth voice gained international fame with his 2001 album, Born to Do It, which sold 8 million copies worldwide and spawned two Billboard top 20 hits, "Fill Me In" and "Seven Days." Although he's maintained huge success worldwide, it's been six years since his last U.S. release.

Now he returns with the dance-friendly Trust Me, currently in stores. "I wanted to make it a lot more up-tempo -- house music, the kind of foot-to-the-floor beats that have been rocking Europe for years," says David. With a sample of David Bowie's "Let's Dance" on the first single, "Hot Stuff," the 27-year-old R&B divo has an eclectic mix of club, soul, and pop. The song hooked us in, and we had to know more.

I can't think of the last time a mainstream male R&B artist reached out to gay audiences. For me, it's like people create this divide. Some people have a very homophobic attitude; if it's not that, some people have racial issues. It's a lot of nonsense. At the end of the day, we're all human beings. Everyone comes to this earth to bring something. Ultimately, I want my music to be appreciated by everybody, regardless of where they come from, what sexual background you're from. I want my music to transcend across the board. For me, the least I can do to is jump on here and do an interview!

When I told some friends I was interviewing Craig David, the first thing they said was, "He is so cute!" Are you aware of your heartthrob status among gay men? It's funny, not so much because if you're heterosexual, you're not really looking out for it necessarily. But I have a lot of gay friends and they say, "If you were gay, it would just be on!" [Laughs] It's flattering because you're seeing it from both sides. Some people get quite offended by that -- they feel like it's playing with their masculinity. At the end of the day, when you're cool and open-minded, in terms of having gay friends, lesbian friends, whatever the deal is, it just makes you appreciative of people being complimentary.

There is an assumption that a black R&B or hip-hop artist could not be openly gay and successful in the U.S. Do you think it could happen in the U.K.? It would be hard, the way society tries to put restraints on you ... tries to make you feel like you're not one of the guys. Trying to remove the masculinity, which is so heavily dominant within hip-hop and R&B music, that's what it all comes down to. Ultimately, I'm a believer you can't be trapped in the closet; you can't hide behind a shell 24/7, having this alter ego and try to pretend you're somebody else. A lot of gay R&B and hip-hop artists are trying to keep it so behind closed doors that there is not enough people to come out to see what the reaction is. There hasn't been a fair summary of how it really is; I think people just feel like their back is against the wall. I believe in being the person you are. If you hide behind it too long, you just end up questioning yourself inside -- so what's the point?

Seems like every artist has their gay rumors, including you. How were you affected when your sexuality was coming into question? I was kind of like, However you feel, really. I know where I'm at; if I was gay, I would be very open. People were saying, "I don't see him with many girls"; there was a lot of speculation and rumor. I felt like, I'm not going to jump in the press and say "No, I'm not!" and try to be something overtly masculine to prove what my sexuality was.

Who is the closest gay person in your life? Probably my friend Ariel, who is a guy I met in Miami. He was just cool -- first I was like, Who is this guy with so many girls around him? Ariel is handsome as well, and I thought he just had his A-game on. But then he broke it down and said "I'm gay." We just became friends. He genuinely wanted to look out for me and make sure I was cool in Miami. It didn't throw me off -- him having boyfriends or him in the club kissing a guy.

Have you been to a gay club? He took me and a few of my friends; he said the vibe was wicked. We all ended up going, and it was a sick night. Some of the guys I was with were a bit weirded out by the whole thing, being heterosexual, being chatted up by a guy. If you're closed-minded, then you never really know what to do. Even my interior decorator, who designs my home here in London and he's doing my place in Miami, he's in an open gay relationship with his partner -- he's just cool. He's one of the coolest guys I know, he's got a real air of, "Trust me, I'll make things happen." A lot of guys just got this testosterone thing flying like crazy and this whole "I've got to be macho; I've got to be bravado."

Do you get hit on by a lot of men? I think because they are a bit weary of putting themselves out there, coming over and getting knocked back, usually they hold back. Whenever I'm in Miami I find there are a lot more confident guys -- they'll say, "You're hot!" I take the compliment and say "Thanks." They're like, "Are you gay?" I break it down and they say, "If you were, it would be on!" [Laughs]

What are some of your feminine qualities? Growing up with my mother, my dad was around, but they broke up when I was 8 years old, so I can listen to a girl and see where she's coming from. I've never been one of these people who would try and degrade women in any way. If I wouldn't do that to my mother, then why would I do that to another woman? I've always had that respect. I've also realized you don't have to be overtly masculine to be a man. I think every guy, maybe deep down, wherever it is, has that feminine side to them. It's how much you want to put that to the side. A lot of people who try and make the physical look a certain way, they try and hide the fact they are quite feminine and sensitive -- or even gay -- behind all of that.

If you were gay who would be your celebrity guy-crush? It'd have to be Brad Pitt, David Beckham -- hot! You can't deny it; every guy in the world thinks they're hot. So if I was gay, I'd be on exactly the same tip.

If you had to be a drag queen, what female singer would you perform in drag? It would have to be Beyonce! You'd have to be hitting those "Crazy in Love" high notes correctly. The shape like an hourglass -- you can't go wrong with the outfit!

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Clay Cane