Born in Burderop Park, England to Robert and the late Della Harding, Carolyn is the oldest girl of four children Bobby, Kim Davis and Ricky. Her vocal career started in 1977, as a student at Roosevelt High School, Roosevelt, NY. While busy doing community plays and concerts, Carolyn was discovered by Lori Butler. Lori became her manager and took Carolyn under her wing to help develop the studio professionalism that Carolyn still holds strong today. Later balancing a production deal while attending the New York School of Theatrical Arts, Carolyn landed a job with Disney World. Under the strict guidance of a very talented team of directors, stage managers, musicians, stylists, dancers and entertainment executives Carolyn developed and grew into a well polished performer. This is the foundation on which she has based the many levels of show business that her career has been so blessed to have experienced. Her brother Ricky introduced Carolyn to Dance Music in 1986. He was an original member of the famed Paradise Garage, as did many of the key players in dance music at that time, Ricky passed away in 1990. “Ricky was my biggest fan”. In his memory Carolyn vowed to have a dance record released every year.
She has done that and more. Some producers include Winston Jones, Joey Negro, Seamus, Deep Zone, Soul Solution, FUKUTOMI, Shinji Takeda, Al MacDowell and Randy Muller among others. She has created an enormous following in the dance market world wide. Carolyn has recorded for many top Dance Labels in the U.S. and abroad. Her records have climbed to the top of numerous charts across the world. Some of her earlier works include background vocals for Sal Soul Orchestras, Jocelyn Brown, Louie Vega to name a few. Carolyn has performed in many countries for thousands of adoring fans. “When I sing, I wish to touch people in the most positive way.” She has shared the stage with such greats as Phyllis Diller, Little Richard, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Shannon, Gwen Guthrie, Sylvester, Thelma Houston, Shirley Bassey, Jeff Krasner and so many more. Carolyn has had the honor of performing as one of the Shirelles. While the dance market is known more as an underground industry, it has done wonders for Carolyn’s popularity. In this isolated arena, she still struggles to find true success.
After a two ½ year tour up and down the eastern seaboard, in 1993 Harding returned to New York with her three year old daughter Brittney and settled on Long Island. Looking for a weekly income at her craft, Carolyn was introduced to the wedding industry. As a freelance vocalist Carolyn worked for Hank Lane, Steven Scott, Jerry Kravats, Starlight Orchestras, Ken James, Dance Jock and a host of other companies. Late in 1996, Harding started working with Peter Greco Music & Entertainment as a freelance vocalist. Soon after, Peter made a move to his own North Shore office and Carolyn began a new career as Production Consultant, which also included other office management duties. Carolyn dedicated many hours in the years to follow cultivating new skills on the business side of the industry. In May of 2000 just four months after the birth of her son Jaylin, Carolyn suffered injuries from a car accident. This made it difficult for her to maintain such a heavy schedule at the office and performances with Peter Greco. With much regret, Carolyn resigned from her position to commit more time to rehabilitation and family.
By October, eager to participate in a business that she has grown to love, “As a freelance artist I saw so many nightmares, where brides were crying because a bandleader didn’t even care about special song presentations that had been requested months in advance…” Carolyn decided to open an office of her own “CAROLYN HARDING MUSIC”. “I want to be there for as many brides as possible to help in any way that I can…” Quickly established relationships with elegant, five star Caterer’s on the north and south shore, as well as Event Coordinators who share the same ethics and commitment to excellence, quality, and professionalism as Carolyn. She takes pride in customizing each package to fit the individual needs of the client. In spite of its newness, the business started to grow and grow. Corporate Events, Weddings, Anniversaries, Birthdays, Night Clubs and Track Dates the phone started ringing. Harding’s first love has always been Jazz and Blues. Her repertoire expands decades also including R&B, Pop, House, Gospel, Island, Jewish, Italian, Irish, and other ethnic specialties.
Carolyn was asked to perform at a wedding to be held on the island of Bermuda in August of 2003. She was cruising on NCL’s Norwegian Sea along with the bridal party and some thirty other guests of the bride and groom. While on board, the group encouraged Carolyn to participate in the Star Seekers talent contest and won first place with a standing ovation. According to cruise director Colin Kerr, 364 Star Seeker winners later Carolyn was chosen as the overall Star Seeker winner and was asked to perform her own 45-minute show onboard the beautiful Norwegian Dawn, September of 2004. This was her first cabaret style performance ever on a cruise ship. “This is like a dream come true,” says Harding. In June of 2005, she was asked once again to perform, without hesitation she boarded the Norwegian Crown to dazzle the audience and was offered the ultimate grand prize of a contract to perform for the Norwegian Cruise Line. “This has clearly been the highlight of my career. Being a Star Seeker Winner has been a phenomenal experience for my family and I. “Thank you Norwegian Cruise Line for this wonderful opportunity.”
Carolyn also spent many hours in the studio collaborating with Jazz impresario Al MacDowell on several production efforts. The first single “What is Love” was released early in 2004 on Gossip Records. Also Released “Shine” and “Something About You”. In 2005, Carolyn recorded a few tracks for “Brass Constructions” Randy Muller of Plaza Records, featured on the well-known hit “High” and a jazz song called “Magic”.
Harding along with Roy Morrison spent three years writing the book “Memories” and still Movin On. The book is a collection of Carolyn’s memories combined with those of close friends and family members, an assemblage of accounts about growing up, personal relationships and various experiences in the music industry… She has recorded a double CD promotional collection set produced and written with her brother BeWise (Bobby) and DJ Delmar Brown, of her very own favorite house music hits and her new neo/soul creations. BeWise and Carolyn's daughter Brittney are singing background on the tracks and have been performing them live; keeping it all the family. This will be Harding’s Neo Soul / R&B debut after making such a strong presence in the Dance Music world for more than two decades. The CD was a special bonus for the Book Release party that took place in Miami for the 2009 Winter Music Conference. Some of the most talented artists, DJs, and producers in the industry attended this event. Some came from as far away as Austria and the U.K. determined not to miss the event.
In 2010, while on the road touring with “Sophisticated Ladies” Carolyn met the very talented tap sensation Calvin Booker. With a strong love for house music, an unbelievable flare for DJ'ing and a fresh young vibe to contribute, Calvin was invited to join the team and has been traveling and performing with Carolyn making stops in Atlanta, Miami, Detroit and several countries abroad. They joined forces in the studio with a few producers including Detroit’s Piranha Head, Mike Clark and up and coming South African producer Dj Mtshpang…with a list of hot DJ/Producers in the cue. A star in his own right this will definitely be just another springboard for Calvin and the energy that Carolyn needs to keep her career ignited…
Back in October of 2008, in an effort to keep Mom and Dad active the family decided to start an internet radio show called “Boochies Basement Radio Show” The radio show aired every Tuesday from 3-to-5pm EST only on Insoulwetrust.com with Calvin (C Boogie) on the decks. Now the show is podcasted on the website and available for download. www.bigbandtap.com . The duo stayed busy working on the “Safe Routes to School” program with the Hempstead Community Development Agency, producing exciting and engaging shows educating the children about safety. In addition, they have founded the A.I.M. (Arts in Me) Workshop sharing their talents with the community instructing in dance, voice, and music theory.
Currently, with no intentions of slowing down Carolyn is busy recording, traveling and performing while building yet another extension of her musical conglomerate. The Big Band and Tap Preservation Society. This is the main base for A.I.M. and now the booking source for Ms. Harding as well as other Musicians and Dancers. “BBTPS provides a platform to encourage the youth to embrace our musical heritage while entertaining our seniors with the music they so love. Also, like Carolyn Harding Music, BBTPS is providing the full range of entertainment for events of every kind”
The book “Memories” and still "Movin On" by Carolyn Harding and Roy A. Morrison can be purchased at www.xlibris.com
Contact Ms. Harding, The Big Band & Tap Preservation Society ~ 516-444-6619 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
www.CarolynHardingMusic.com ~ www.bigbandtap.com