The Voice Australia: Lee Harding’s Identity Crisis and Failed Career

Lee Harding tries to escape his cringey past as an emo punk rocker by becoming a Chris Cornell impersonator on The Voice Australia.

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Sunday, a dark, tall and tatted man with long curly hair took the stage on channel 9’s The Voice Australia. Although not many people would have previously known, this man was a runner up on the show 14 years ago. This is Lee Harding.

Lee Harding And His Failed Career

Harding took third place on The Voice Australia 14 years ago. From there he went onto having somewhat successful, albeit short-lived, career as a musician. His single ‘Wasabi’ went gold and managed to sit on top of the Australian charts for 7 weeks. But his old label decided to drop him after his first album.

Lee Harding copies Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) fashion style | Sausage Roll

Who wore it better?

Looking back at Lee Harding’s early work there is no doubt that he’s a talented man, but one still cannot help but cringe. There is something so unsettling about seeing a man who appears to be in his mid-twenties dress like a 13 year old goth girl.

Unfortunately, Harding has always looked like a Reject Store version of an already popular artist. There was no sense of originality in his style. Perhaps he struggled finding his identity as an artist, and that’s why he copied Gerard Way, Billie Joe, Joel Madden and more recently grunge legend Chris Cornell.

Discussion

I believe the biggest downfall of Lee Harding’s career could be, and most likely is, his confused identity. His old-emo-self just didn’t at all come across as genuine, but more like an attempt to win popular points with emo and punk rocker youths on The Voice Australia.

From Emo to Grunge

Harding’s performance of Killing in the Name Of by Rage Against the Machine was one hundred percent on point. It’s an undeniable fact that Harding has an incredibly powerful voice. There is no shock that he managed to get all the judges to turn and fight hard for him.

“I love anybody who is authentically themselves,” Delta Goodrum has previously said. Perhaps Lee Harding should have taken her advice.

But, here is the thing; Kelly and Delta Goodrum both complimented Harding on his style and originality, but why? The second that he walked onto the stage I knew exactly what type of song he was going to play. Lee Harding looked like husky version of the late and great Chris Cornell. So, when he started singing Rage Against the Machine I had one of those knee-slapping moments.

Chris Cornell is the former frontman of two amazing bands: Soundgarden and AudioSlave. The latter of the two actually consisting mostly of former Rage Against the Machine band-members. That should explain my huzzah! moment.

Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder; grunge gods.

It’s a good thing!

Perhaps music dictates fashion, since it seems that most grunge musicians dress and look the same. Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell all sported the tight jeans and the faded colourless tee in the name of grunge. Maybe I should cut Lee Harding some slack.

After all, the show is called The Voice Australia and we should be judging contestants by just that, that’s why the judges listen to the artists with their chair turned to face the audience. And judging by his voice alone, Lee Harding has what it takes to make it far on The Voice. We will have to wait and see how Lee Harding and Boy George get along.

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