Versatile vocalist Curtis Harding fuses the passion and intensity of classic soul and R&B with the uncompromising attitude of indie rock and the nervy swagger of garage punk, and has made a name for himself in both rock and R&B circles. Born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan, Harding got his first taste of performing from his mother Dorothy, a traveling gospel performer who brought her son on the road with her and occasionally invited the boy up on-stage to sing with her. In time, Harding settled in Atlanta, Georgia, where his strong, passionate vocal style earned him some valuable allies. Harding's vocals appeared on several remixes from OutKast, and he became part of Cee Lo Green's team, working with him as a back-up vocalist on the road, adding vocal tracks to the albums Cee-Lo Green & His Perfect Imperfections and The Lady Killer, and co-writing material with Green. However, in 2011 Harding became part of an unusual project when he crossed paths with Cole Alexander, guitarist with Georgia garage punks the Black Lips, and they discovered they both had a passion for vintage Southern soul. Harding and Alexander launched a collaborative project, Night Sun, that mixed R&B and garage rock, and after a handful of local shows, the combo released a single in 2013 on Burger Records, the celebrated California indie label. Harding liked Burger's way of doing business and the label was impressed by Harding's voice; they struck a deal for a solo album, and Harding's first full-length effort, Soul Power, appeared in the spring of 2014. ~ Mark Deming
10 albums sorted by Most acclaimed
Narrow my search
R&B - Released November 17, 2014 | Anti - Epitaph
At a time when indie-leaning music fans have discovered retro-soul and make records that capture all the sounds and practically none of the feeling of vintage R&B, Curtis Harding is a breath of fresh air: an artist with a real gift for classic soul music stylings but little obvious interest in nostalgia. Harding's solo debut, Soul Power, shows the man is one of the best new R&B singers extant, but even though the sound of these tunes certainly harkens back to vintage soul (mostly of the southern variety), Harding doesn't suggest he's slavishly trying to replicate the past. Instead, this music fuses the sounds of the '60s and early '70s while injecting them with an edgy energy that's solidly contemporary. Harding's phrasing is warm, flexible, and expressive without sinking into the frantic melisma that passes for R&B vocalizing in the 21st century, and on these songs, he sings with the band, not over them; his interplay with the musicians is smart and full of fire, and whether the music suggests the Rolling Stones ("Surf") or the Spinners ("Keep on Shining"), he sounds well-focused and respectful of his accompanists, who perform with a lean, determined authority on these sessions. Soul may be Harding's strong suit, but he's not afraid to rock out on "The Drive" and "I Don't Wanna Go Home" (guitars do dominate these arrangements), and the engineering and production gives these tracks a natural, spacious sound that flatters Harding and the band equally. Having worked with OutKast and Cee Lo Green, Curtis Harding knows something about soul music in the present as well as the past tense, and Soul Power is music that honors the rich traditions of classic R&B while keeping its head and heart in the here and now; some folks say you can't have it both ways, but Curtis Harding is here to show that's a lie. ~ Mark Deming
News feed Prev. Next
Wed Qobuz | The passion of St. Vincent
Wed Qobuz | Liam goes soloTue Qobuz | Kamasi at the museum!Mon Qobuz | From Lucky to Jimmy
Mon Qobuz | Ayre QX-5 Twenty: A Qobuzism for this network player with exceptional sound performances and the mconnect control application integrating Qobuz in Hi-Res!Sun Qobuz | Planet IbeyiSat Qobuz | A Qobozissime for the Arod Quartet!
Thu Qobuz | Digital audio players and QobuzThu Qobuz | Cécile McLorin Salvant, live!
Curtis Harding in the magazine