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Curtis Harding

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. Harding's songwriting is as strong as his singing, digging deep into the emotions of his material while adding a subtle but insistent undertow informed by the issues of the larger world. Harding made a striking debut with 2014's Soul Power, he added a touch of refinement on 2017's accomplished Face Your Fear, and psychedelia became part of his formula on 2021's If Words Were Flowers. Born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan, Curtis 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. 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. The album received enthusiastic reviews, and Harding landed a new record deal with the artist-friendly independent label Anti-. His second full-length, 2017's Face Your Fear, was produced by Harding in collaboration with Danger Mouse and Sam Cohen. Harding toured extensively to support the release of the LP, including dates opening for Lenny Kravitz and Jack White. The album rose to the Number 21 spot on the Heatseekers chart (for up-and-coming artists), and it also charted in France, Belgium, and Switzerland. In 2019, Harding began writing material for his third album while shuttling between Atlanta and Los Angeles, and when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the music industry for much of 2020, he used the opportunity to refine the material, hoping to reflect the times without dealing with the specific concerns of the day. The songs made their public debut on If Words Were Flowers, released in November 2021.
© Mark Deming /TiVo
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