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. 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.
© Mark Deming /TiVo
© Mark Deming /TiVo
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Soul - Released October 27, 2017 | Anti - Epitaph
On Soul Power (a Qobuzissime record!), Curtis Harding confirmed that modern soul and groovy R&B suit him well. With his first album in January 2015, this flamboyant outsider came to join a family that already included Aloe Blacc, Mayer Hawthorne, Jamie Lidell, Myron & E, Nicole Willis, Lady and Nick Waterhouse, among others... A native of Atlanta, a former backing singer for Cee Lo Green and close to Cole Alexander from the Black Lips, Curtis Harding is striking, both for the eclecticism that he has to offer, and for the ease with which he moves from a love ballad to a funky up-tempo work that verges on Southern soul rock. With his Curtis Mayfield, Aloe Blacc and Shuggie Otis-like melodies, this second album is no less groovy, but a little smoother and with a little more by the way of guitar. Produced by Danger Mouse, Face Your Fear alternates between soul gorged on gospel, and more psychedelic ambiances. But despite this vintage atmosphere that brings a hefty whiff of the seventies, Harding has brought a touch of modernity to make this record an intoxicating cocktail of past and present. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz