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Atlanta-based Soul singer Curtis Harding had already finished writing his third album when the pandemic hit. Under lockdown, he decided to revisit his songs, retooling some, scrapping others, and writing some brand new tracks. Reflecting the lonely hours in lockdown and the societal tumult in a contentious election year, the result was If Words Were Flowers. 


The songs range from intimate to anthemic, ultimately choosing hope over despair. The single, “Hopeful,” is a testament to Harding’s determination to maintain optimism about the future. And he does it with a sound that manages to be both classic and contemporary, incorporating a gospel choir, psychedelic-tinged guitars, full-bodied horns, and tasty percussion to convey his message.

The album’s title was inspired by his mother, Dorothy, who often told him, “Give me flowers while I’m still here.” “That’s what this album is,” Harding has stated. “It’s me giving my flowers to the world, to anybody who needs to hear what these songs have to say right now.” Harding’s mother was a significant catalyst in his career. A gospel singer who toured frequently, she brought her song with her on the road where he would sing with her. Though originally from Saginaw, MI, the family eventually settled in Atlanta where Harding would become immersed in the music scene there.


He soon found himself in the hip-hop group Proseed. He met CeeLo Green and rapped on a couple of tracks from Cee-Lo Green on His Perfect Imperfections, later touring with him as a backup singer in 2002.  He also returned to the studio with Green on 2010’s The Lady Killer.

How did you transition from advertising to media?


The transition was easier than I expected because of how far the two areas have collapsed and have integrated over the last decade. In the case of iHeart, one of the biggest reasons clients come to us is for our creative-led ideas that take advantage of our massive reach in Broadcast Radio and leadership in podcasting. For me personally, it was an instance of perfect timing and opportunity where iHeart needed my creative spark as much as I needed the next home for my passion for creativity.

Now with If Words Were Flowers, Harding has given listeners more genre-blending about both personal issues and larger societal concerns. No Depression marvels, calling the record “ a mini-odyssey… Harding offers a vocal delivery that falls somewhere at the nexus point of Al Green’s croon and a falsetto reminiscent of The Temptations’ Eddie Kendricks, over a soundscape that hearkens back to the past but adds enough modern touches to create something fresh and vibrant.”


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Curtis Harding