“Slop ’n’ Soul,” that is how Curtis Harding describes his musical style—a little psychedelic, rooted in gospel and rock, with a heavy dose of R&B in the mix. “Soul is the foundation of what I do,” he explained to Garden and Gun in 2018. “Slop is mixed up from different kinds of leftovers. My music is a mixture of sounds: it flows, sometimes it’s sloppy, but it still feels good.”
Now Atlanta-based, Harding grew up surrounded by music, often touring churches with his mother, a gospel singer. Since then, he’s played with members of the Black Lips, rapped on Cee-Lo Green’s debut album, and released his first solo album Soul Power in 2014. Harding’s most recent 2017 record, Face Your Fear, was produced by the legendary Danger Mouse and Sam Cohen and appeared on several magazine’s Best Of lists that year.
Harding is certainly one to watch as he further solidifies his place in modern music. He spent much of 2018 on tour with Lenny Kravitz, and that year appeared as a musical guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (check out the video of him below chatting with last year’s Spoleto artist Jon Batiste!). Harding pushes soul to its limits—adding in psychedelic synthesizers and blazing brass. “Soul is an experience,” Harding told GQ. “It can be in the way you dress, the way you talk, the way you sit down in a chair. It’s a feeling that you can translate to someone with whatever you’re doing.”
Want to experience Harding’s signature sound for yourself? He’s capping off this year’s Festival on Sunday June 9 at Riverfront Park, so pack your picnic baskets and bring the whole family (kids 5 and under are admitted free of charge, and children’s tickets are $15 for ages 6 to 12) for a spectacular culmination to the 2019 season.
Listen before you go: Watch Harding’s “Keep on Shining” music video below and check out our curated playlist with some of our favorite Harding tunes.