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Earlier this week, a video featuring UK garage relic Craig David performing a masterful rendition of Justin Bieber's No1 single Love Yourself went viral. A variety of outlets, from the NME to The Sun and the Daily Mail heaped praise upon Craig David's rework of the song, performed in the Live Lounge at BBC 1Xtra on Trevor Nelson's show. Meanwhile, Twitter users took to the social media platform in their droves to share the video and laud the singer.
David's performance and the subsequent news coverage marked the peak of his recent return to favour with both the media and the general public, and it epitomises the fickle nature of both when it comes to what's considered "cool".
A few years ago, David was being lampooned for bulking up and sharing his positive and often spiritually inclined messages via Instagram. Prior to that, he'd taken a hammering from comedian Leigh Francis, whose mockery of the singer through his show Bo Selecta sent David's career into freefall and pushed him into relative obscurity.
No one took him seriously after he was relentlessly spoofed on the comedy show and David himself even said in the past that Bo Selecta negatively affected his career. For almost a decade, David's music has lived on and continued to be played all over the world, though, as a public figure he hasn't fared very well.
At the same time Bo Selecta came into being, David's music career was already faltering. He'd hit the ground running with Born To Do It, but each successive album brought about less attention and sales paled in comparison to that first chart-topping debut. For the media, David had become passé.
He moved to Miami, where he acquired a beautiful apartment, and it seemed as though his career was all but over. He certainly would not have been considered by many people to be "cool". Occasionally someone on Twitter or Facebook would mention him but it would usually be something like: "Have you seen what Craig David looks like?!" accompanied by a photos of his ripped, half-naked body. Or mocking his positive affirmations, his all white Miami apartment or his red Ferrari.
It's indicative of the way in which the media, and the general public, can be so fickle when it comes to famous people and the perils of the "cool factor". Personally speaking, while I found Bo Selecta amusing at the time, David never went down in my estimation.
I love his music, Woman Trouble with Artful Dodger and Robbie Craig is one of my favourite garage tracks of all time. Yes it was initially bewildering to see him seemingly lording it up in Miami, posting those half-naked selfies of his chiselled frame accompanied by hippie-esque mantras. But, with a bit of perspective, the pathway that he has chosen is hugely admirable.
Nowadays the whole "spiritual" lifestyle: yoga, meditation, mantras, living in the moment and so on, has become mainstream. It's what the cool kids do and no longer do they mock those who integrate spiritual philosophies into their everyday life. In fact, it's now cool to be into yoga and meditation, to share positive affirmations and live healthily.
David's breakthrough back into the public's consciousness and into the cool zone really gained momentum in 2015 and his 1Xtra performance sealed the deal, making him a respectable star again. He has collaborated with grime MC Big Narstie for a track called When The Bassline Drops and his sixth studio album is due for release later in the year. The TS5 brand continues to tour the world and he's going to be touring the UK, with festivals across the nation clamouring to get him on their line-ups.
Bieber, who is a big fan of David's, has also come under attack from the cool brigade over the years. Finding himself bereft of any cool points due to his cheesy pop hits and descent into typical child star bad behaviour. Even when he got tattoos and started hanging out with stars such as P Diddy and Usher, he was ridiculed by many of the self-appointed commissioners of cool.
However, as with David, there has been a recent turnaround for Bieber. The cover of NME's November issue in 2015 featured him with the headline "Actually kinda cool". Connecting with Skrillex and Diplo (AKA Jack U) for the huge Where Are U Now tipped him over the edge and the cool gang were forced to relent and acknowledge they actually liked a Bieber track. Resident Advisor, one of the world's biggest electronic music websites who focus on the cooler, more underground end of the spectrum, even put Where Are U Now in its top 50 tracks of 2015.
So like Bieber, David is cool again, for now, because the internet says so. Let's hope he doesn't have to go through another national lampooning this time around...