Curtis Harding shares Jazmine Sullivan collab, discusses the influences behind new album
Curtis Harding is busy. He just released If Words Were Flowers, his first album in four years, which was made with producer Sam Cohen and finds him further honing his engaging, richly orchestrated psychedelic soul sound. You can stream the album below.
Now Curtis has released a new song, "Our Love," which is a duet with Jazmine Sullivan and could've fit right in on If Words Were Flowers. The song is for the soundtrack of Netflix animated fantasy series Arcane, a spinoff of game League of Legends. (The series unseated Squid Game from the top spot of Netflix's charts in many countries, though it's currently holding the #9 slot in the U.S.) You can listen to that song below.
We asked Curtis to tell us about some of the influences behind If Words Were Flowers, and he sent us a Top 10 list that includes authors, cars, art...and good gut health. You can read Curtis' list, along with his commentary, below.
Curtis will be on tour starting in January.
CURTIS HARDING: 10 THINGS THAT INSPIRED IF WORDS WERE FLOWERS
1. James Baldwin
His writing, speeches, interviews and debates are some of the most inspiring works I’ve seen read and heard. One book in particular, A Fire Next Time, is a intensely personal powerful story of his coming of age in Harlem. Advocacy is rooted in experience and education. James Baldwin knew how to eloquently advocate for us. Very inspiring
2. Chevy Nova
I own and drive a 1974 Nova. I have always been a fan of cars growing up with a mechanical engineer as a father. He spent a lot of time rebuilding engines. My appreciation is not just for the car itself but also for the drive. I’m able to gather my thoughts on a nice ride through the landscapes. I feel as if my thoughts are a lot clearer.
Though I’m not a photographer a nice photo captured with film can be one of the most inspirational tools to get the creative juices flowing. My buddy Matt Correia takes a lot of my pictures and it’s all film. I think film is more forgiving than digital. You have to think ahead before taking the shot. The creativity from having to make those kind of adjustments can make for some beautiful inspiring shots.
I have always loved mythology. The idea that there are a cast of gods messing around in the fates of mankind has always intrigued me. To further that interest were the stories of men and Demi-gods performing acts of heroism and seemingly impossible feet’s either for love or just to be remembered and immortalized with their own constellation. Do well succeed or fail those stories of heroism and love are great inspiration for creative writing.
As a working musician all to often there’s not enough time while touring to explore the cities I play. However I grew up traveling throughout the U.S., Mexico, & the Caribbean. From small to big cities to small country and desert towns, being able to travel especially at such a young age taught me how to be open to new experiences. As a artist it very important to not get stuck creatively. Progression and moving on is a must. This why travel is essential for me to stay creative.
6. Morning meditations
I try as often as possible to meditate. Mornings work well for me. This helps me to focus on task and goals I’ve set for myself. Being able to let myself relax is a huge boost for my creativity.
7. Doodles and collages
I’ve recently started to draw little characters just like I did in my early youth. This along with making collages of whatever strikes my fancy is a good way to stay creative. Especially if I’m feeling blocked while writing. Stepping away and drawing a character imagining where they are from, and what the are doing helps me a lot.
8. Candles and incense
I’ve discovered that they smell of a room can greatly affect the environments energy. Just as important to me is how it’s lit. I find that candle light is a great mood set for creativity and relaxing.
Gut health is very important. I suffered from poor food & drink choices early on in my career. Acid reflux and digestive issues would put a holt on my creative process. As a singer and just to be a happy functioning person this is a big one for me.
10. Family & Friends
One of the greatest inspirations for me and my creativity are my family and friends. A host of artists, writers, photographers, musicians, actors and just all around creatives. I can’t pick my family but I can definitely choose my friends who have untimely become family as well. Without that support system and wisdom I gain from them I highly doubt I’d be as creative as I have been.