4 X GRAMMY WINNER
4 X GRAMMY WINNER
KUK’S TOP 10
LIFE & STYLE
CURRENT & FUTURE
AL GREEN RADIO - PANDORA
WHERE WE ARE GOING
WRITER, VOCAL PRODUCER, ARRANGER
For Kuk Harrell, one of today’s most sought after vocal producers on one of the hottest writing and production teams in the industry, success starts with being open to the creative process and letting it all flow. While this is half of the equation, the other half is Kuk’s indescribable ability to interpret music.
The chart-topping songwriter/vocal producer has worked with some of the biggest names in the business, but insists on keeping things simple. Whether he’s in the studio doing a ballad with Nicole of the “Pussycat Dolls” and the legendary Sting, a pop song with Rihanna, an R&B classic with Usher, or guiding a newly signed artist, Kuk’s goal is “to take the artist to a level that they haven’t been to before no matter who I’m working with.”
Born into a musically gifted family with a natural inclination to create music Kuk started out as a drummer/vocalist in his hometown of Chicago, IL. There, he grew up singing jingles, went on to become a session musician as a young adult, and ultimately became a successful commercial writer and producer. Working for legendary “Joy Art Music”, Kuk counts McDonald’s, Coke, and Kraft as a few among his roster of a-list clients His talent earned him the opportunity to tour overseas with a local band BG Vox. His early musical influences include legends such as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, LA and Babyface, and David Foster.
After his stint as a jingle writer and musician, Kuk went on to serve the Christian community as a prominent children’s worship leader, and a touring vocalist and choir director for the “Promise Keepers”. At the same time, Kuk sang on songs penned and produced by such greats as Dianne Warren and David Foster, to name a few. In 2004, Kuk joined his cousin super-producer Tricky Stewart at the Atlanta-based RedZone Entertainment. Kuk believes his non-traditional journey to the top of the charts granted him an invaluable virtue: patience. His years working with various genres of music and personalities taught him the importance of diplomacy in the creative process. “I learned a lot about yielding, being open and patient. It prepared me to be able to gel within a team. Many teams are short-lived because the members are out to prove something individually. At RedZone, we’re out to prove something together.”
When asked what advice he would give aspiring writers and vocal producers, he stresses the importance of being in touch with one’s own strengths. “Write and produce as much as you can, always be open to move into the mode. Study successful people in your lane that have gone before you, and actually take the time learn the business.” he advises. “Most importantly, bring professionalism to all that you do.”
According to Kuk, the ingredients to successful songwriting and production are: God-given talent, patience, professionalism and efficiency. “This business moves fast, you need to get in the studio and create quickly and precisely. This can be very challenging; Working with any artist can feel like marrying a stranger. You have to commit and produce something beautiful without the advantage of getting to know each other first. Create a comfortable atmosphere and build a rapport with the artist so you feel instantly familiar and connected. I do my homework before the artist gets there. I’m at the studio at least two hours early, that way I’m prepared. You have to stay a few steps ahead of the artist in order to utilize everyone’s time productively and efficiently.” he explains.
Today Kuk Harrell is one of the most in-demand vocal producers and songwriters in the business. He has a publishing deal with Sony/ATV, is a member of the hit songwriting and production team of RedZone Entertainment, and is managed by RedZone Entertainment. In addition to co-writing the record-breaking hit of 2007, Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’; the remainder of 2007 has Kuk in the studio with heavyweights such as Mary J. Blige, Usher, Nicole Schwessinger, Celine Dion, and Sting. Kuk is looking forward to putting his own stamp on each of those projects but admits being especially excited about Mary J. Blige’s and Usher’s projects. When asked what he’s looking forward to in the future, Kuk answers without hesitation, “Having at least ten more number one records, sweeping the Grammys, and a continuing peace of mind.” To sum it all up, Kuk says “The blessings of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” Proverbs 10:22