POP stars have long been famous for jetting off around the world to record.

David Bowie had his Berlin period, The Rolling Stones were renowned for spending long spells in the south of France, while a string of music legends including

Sir Paul McCartney, Sting and Elton John have worked on the Caribbean sunshine island of Montserrat.

But Southampton singing sensation Craig David is bucking the trend.

The chart-topper is recording his make-or-break third album in a modest studio in Eling, just outside Southampton.

The studio is owned by his close friend Mark Hill, best known as being one half of pioneering Southampton garage act Artful Dodger.

Mark produced Craig's multi-platinum-selling debut record, Born to Do It, which went on to sell eight million copies, and is seen as the man to relaunch the star's career after Radio 1 refused to play his previous two singles.

Mark revealed Craig had been at his studio before Christmas working on eight new songs for the hotly anticipated record.

He said: "I think Craig's still more street than anything else. The songs are probably more like Walking Away in style. There was a time and place for garage and I didn't want to repeat Born to Do It exactly the same, but there is a switch to that style."

Craig is not the first pop star to record an album in Hampshire.

Lucie Silvas recorded her top ten album Breathe In in Whiteparish near Romsey last year. The album has gone on to shift 300,000 copies and produce three top 40 hits.

Mark, who had a No 2 hit with Craig with Re-rewind in 1999, added: "Craig's audience is quite broad and to make the album slow R&B is never going to work so we went for a more mature sound with proper songs. The most important thing was that the songs had to stand out on their own.

"That's why we worked with just a guitar and vocals first. The problem is there are loads and loads of well produced songs, but I think songs sound a little flat that way.

"One of the important things with Craig is doing the stuff live," he said.

As well as releasing a new album, Craig is also planning a UK tour later this year.