Sounds Like: Super-fly nuggets from soul and rock's late-Seventies crossover heyday, rediscovered by the son of a gospel singer.
Why You Should Pay Attention: Harding has worked as a backup singer for Cee Lo Green, spent time in a Georgia rap group Proseed and currently plays in Black Lips guitarist Cole Alexander's quirky Night Sun. Now the Atlanta-via-Michigan singer has put his efforts into a blend of soul and rock that he calls "slop 'n' soul": "I take the bits and pieces that I have, which in Southern culture they call 'slop' – that's what you give to pigs – and soul is what I grew up on, so that's the foundation." His debut, Soul Power, spans funky guitar-centered rave-ups like "Keep on Shining" to the apocalypse-themed rocker "Surf," which Harding says was inspired by The Walking Dead.
He Says: "I love soul music. I love all music, but I could always sing. When I was doing rap, I would add elements of what I'm doing now. I'm just going back to my roots, and it's something I can do forever. I can't necessarily be an 80-year-old rapper, but I can definitely sing soul songs and sing music for as long as I'm alive."
Hear for Yourself: Harding's effortless cool and bluesy guitar solo are the perfect soundtrack for a half-nude beach stroll in his NSFW clip for "Next Time." By Kory Grow