Southampton has had a few major acts come out of the woodwork, and here’s a list of our favourites!
Craig David was born in Southampton in 1981 and grew up in the Holyrood Estate. For those of you unfamiliar with Southampton, this post WW2 estate lies along Queensway, just past Debenhams in the city centre. Craig David was educated at Bellemoor School (now Upper Shirley High School) and Southampton City College.
David’s father played bass in a reggae band called Ebony Rockers. During his teenage years, David began accompanying his father to local dance clubs, where DJs let him take the mic.
David worked on a B-side to British group Damage’s cover of ‘Wonderful Tonight’. After this he then started doing vocals on a few tracks with the garage act Artful Dodger including ‘Re-rewind (The Crowd Say Bo Selecta)’.
At 18 years old, he has signed to Wildstar Records when his later manager Paul Widger met the label’s co-owner Colin Lester and played his music. Being impressed in particular with the track ‘Walking Away’, which David wrote at 17, Lester offered him a development deal with the label.
David’s first solo single ‘Fill Me In’ made him the youngest male to reach number one in the UK at the time (he was 18 years old). This was followed by four Top 10 singles from his debut album Born to Do It, which eventually sold more than 8 million copies worldwide and earned multi-platinum status in more than 20 countries.
The follow-up album, Slicker Than Your Average, was released in 2002. The album’s first four singles continued David’s run of Top 10 hits in the UK, bringing a total of nine consecutive Top 10 hits.
David signed to Warner Music to release his third album The Story Goes… in 2005. In November 2008 he was recognised for his contribution to the music industry and received an honorary degree from Southampton Solent.
To date, Craig David has released five albums including a Greatest Hits compilation. In July 2014, David previewed a teaser track ‘Cold’ on his official sound cloud page, having premiered it on his TS5 radio show the previous week. This was in anticipation of his long awaited sixth studio album, which is yet to be titled or given an official release date.
Craig David has been nominated for twelve BRIT Awards, two Grammys and won three Ivor Novello Awards in 2001.
Will Champion – Coldplay
Will Champion was born in Southampton in 1978. He was brought up in Highfield, close to the University of Southampton, where his father, Timothy Champion, was a professor of archaeology until recently.
In his early years, Champion’s musical influences included Tom Waits, Nick Cave and traditional Irish folk music. He learned to play piano and violin when he was 8 and the guitar when he was 12. Before he joined Coldplay, Champion performed in a band called Fat Hamster.
Champion was educated at Portswood Primary School, Cantell Maths and Computing College and Peter Symonds College in Winchester. He also attended Highfield Church and is a lifelong fan of Southampton F.C.
Champion was the last of the four band members to join Coldplay in 1997. He took up the position as drummer with no prior experience. In 1999, lead singer Chris Martin sacked Champion due to issues with the record label, but the band asked him to return soon after. The band’s first album, Parachutes, was dedicated to Champion’s mother who died from cancer in 2000.
He has taken up lead vocals on live versions of songs during the Viva la Vida Tour and the Life in Technicolor II B-side ‘The Goldrush’.
In 2004, along with Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman, he guested on A-ha keyboardist Magne Furuholmen’s first solo album, Past Perfect Future Tense.
Champion has also made a cameo appearance in an episode of HBO series Game of Thrones, ‘The Rains of Castamere’.
Delays are an English indie band who formed in Southampton. The band consists of brothers Greg and Aaron Gilbert, Colin Fox and Rowly. Their first album Faded Seaside Glamour was released in 2004 via Rough Trade Records and immediately broke into the Top 20 UK Album Chart. In their early years, the band supported Franz Ferdinand and Manic Street Preachers before embarking on their own worldwide tours.
They have released four albums to date, with the first three making the Top 30 in the UK Album Chart. A fifth studio album started to be recorded in late 2012, but due to personal circumstances, has yet to be released.
Other well-known acts/musicians to come from Southampton include: X Factor winner Matt Cardle, who was born in Southampton before moving to Essex, Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, who is from Eastleigh, a town just on the outskirts of Southampton and songwriter and musician Aqualung, and Jona Lewie who wrote the Christmas favourite ‘Stop the Cavalry’.