It’s 1.30pm, on a half-sunny Wednesday afternoon. I’m sitting in Craig David’s management base, in Kensal Green—with photographer Ashley Verse—taking in the multiple awards and multi-platinum plaques adorned on the walls.

We’re waiting for Craig to arrive at JEM Artists HQ; he was coming in from a hectic Heathrow Airport, having just flown in from Miami to play a sold-out DJ gig in East London later that week. 45 minutes pass, and—from the corner of my eye—a grey Louis Vuitton bag hits the ground. The man, the legend, had finally arrived. Craig shows love to staff in the lobby area, before bopping through to his office/studio space to greet us: “We getting in the booth, yeah? I know you’ve got them bars,” he assumes, to which I reply (looking down awkwardly at my attire): “People always think I’m an MC when they meet me.” The room drowns in laughter and I’m grateful for the ice-breaker.

There’s been a lot of fanfare surrounding the Southampton star in recent months. I first sensed it when Complex published a piece celebrating 15 years of ​Born To Do It—Craig’s seminal debut—in August just gone. Then of course the now-infamous session on 1Xtra took place with Kurupt FM, Shola Ama, Big Narstie et al., prior to Noisey dropping a respectable long-read urging the icon to make a comeback. Fans and tastemakers have been chomping at the bit for new material pretty much since news surfaced that Craig was in the studio with XL Recordings producer Kaytranada. But those whispers of a full-on return are soon to become a reality, as the British R&B don shares his exciting plans during our chill, hour-long conversation. It’s like he’s one of my older brother’s friends I hadn’t seen in the area for years—the excitement to be talking about the future, written all over his face.