It's official: UK garage is dominating the British charts. Last weekend 18-year-old Craig David went straight in at number one with Fill Me In, while Flowers by Sweet Female Attitude followed straight behind at number two. David's previous launch on the charts, Rewind (which he co-wrote with the Artful Dodger), was kept off the Christmas number one slot only by Sir Cliff.
With recent hits from MJ Cole, DJ Luck and MC Neat, DJ/ production crew Dreem Teem pairing up with Neneh Cherry, and a number one from Shanks and Big Foot, the underground UK garage scene has established itself as part of the mainstream. But what is this UK variant of a scene that steals its moniker from seminal 80s New York club Paradise Garage, and where has its recent success come from?
Springing up in the mid-90s, UK garage innovators created hits like Tuff Jam's Closer than Close by speeding up Tony Humphries and Todd Terry-style US garage and sampling US soul divas like Rosie Gaines. No one knew what to call the genre which stole the bass line from drum'n'bass, then added a soulfulness. The term "speed garage" was coined, then rejected.