Vince Harder needs no introduction. He is after all, the voice behind one of the biggest songs to come out of New Zealand in the last five years.
His collaborative hit with P Money, 'Everything', soared to number one in the Kiwi charts in 2008 and received extensive airplay in Australia. The following year the single made its mark in Britain when it was named Record of the Week on the notable BBC Radio 1.
Now, having honed his individual sound in the studio, Harder is back with his self-produced, debut solo album The Space Between Us.
With a host of esteemed guests including K.One, Young Sid, PNC, Dei Hamo and David Dallas, Harder has set about making a record that traverses urban influences, yet seamlessly crosses into up-tempo pop.
From the velvet smooth tones of the opener 'Say This With Me' (which cracked the NZ Top 40 chart) to the laid-back vibe of 'Summer Dayz' featuring Young Sid, and the dancefloor pop anthem, 'I Want This Forever', it is an album that’s set to catapult Harder into another stratosphere.
The singer grew up in Henderson, West Auckland, one of four children to Samoan parents, and surrounded by music.
“My love of music comes from my family. There were instruments all throughout the house and I just kind of picked up everything – the guitar, the keyboards.”
Then came Harder’s realisation that he could make a living out of performing.
“I think I knew I had a voice when I was about 15. I’d sung in the school choir and in talent quests. But then a group from Excel [The School of Performing Arts] came to Henderson High School and I saw Polynesians up on stage and I was like, ‘Man, that’s what I want to do’.”
By the age of 21 Harder had been plucked from obscurity and his job as a “footwear assistant”, landing a lead part, playing Simba, across the Tasman in The Lion King. It was a role that led to the young singer entering the first season of X Factor Australia in 2005. Mentored by award-winning Melbourne songstress Kate Ceberano, Harder made it to the final stages, before bowing out in third place.
It is this diverse musical background that has driven the 28-year-old’s determination to succeed. And it is these life-changing experiences that have culminated in what he now describes as the highlight of his career so far – The Space Between Us.
“I’m so proud of this album, it’s almost as if it marks the end of one chapter in my life and sets the scene for the next.”
“I’ve seen the highs and lows of where you can go in this industry - everything from being picked up in a limo to being picked up in a bus. I’ve been waiting a long time for the opportunity to release my own album. And it’s finally come.”
It is undoubtedly, Vince Harder’s moment to shine.
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