An early elimination on not just one but two televised talent shows might not be the most auspicious of career starts, but that hasn’t stopped Karen Harding from becoming one of the most dominant dance-pop divas currently around.
The 24-year-old first came to attention in 2010 when she was knocked out of the penultimate round of Your Country Needs You, the BBC’s search to find an entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest, and then again three years later when she failed to make it past the boot camp stages of The X Factor UK.
But adhering to the “if at first you don’t succeed” approach, Karen Harding’s perseverance finally paid off when she was spotted performing Disclosure’s “Latch” on YouTube by Grammy-nominated songwriter MNEK.
The pair subsequently began working together, resulting in recent UK Top 10 hit “Say Something,” a ‘90s house throwback which evoked the likes of Ce Ce Peniston and Robin S, and a deal with the Lawrence brothers’ label, Method Records.
Harding hasn’t looked back since, appearing at various festivals including Lovebox, Ibiza Rocks and Parklife, recording with hitmakers Rodney Jerkins (Destiny’s Child), Jimmy Napes (Sam Smith) and Richard Stannard (Spice Girls) and hooking up with two of the hottest new floorfilling duos.
First up, Belgian dance act Arches invited her to provide the vocals for their euphoric recent single, “New Love,” and then British chart fixtures Blonde utilised her talents on the suitably titled Italo-house of “Feel Good (It’s Alright).”
Inspired by both the vocal acrobatics of Mariah and Whitney and the turn-of-the-century two-step garage of Craig David and Artful Dodger, Karen Harding’s debut album is scheduled for release later this year, and will no doubt leave the Simon Cowell machine regretting that they let another gem slip through the net.