He started producing music in 1997 when he teamed up with Moises Modesto to form MODU Productions. Harden's first project was a co-producer and songwriter of "The Love That I Once Knew", for Tekitha Washington.
Harden's first track was "Don't You Ever Give Up", released as Innervision feat. Melonie Daniels, produced by MODU and released in 1998 by Frankie Feliciano's label Ricanstruction. In 1999 he had two major dance hits: he sang on "U Don't Know Me", a track by Armand Van Helden that peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play and topped the charts in the United Kingdom. It is this song for which he is best known. Later in the year Harden hit #1 on the Hot Dance Music chart with "What You Need", a song credited to Powerhouse featuring Duane Harden, produced by Lenny Fontana. In 2000 he climbed to number nineteen with the hit "Sunshine (Dance With You)", a track credited to Infinity featuring Duane Harden, produced by John Kano.
As a songwriter, Harden has written "Believe" for Ministers De La Funk with Jocelyn Brown on vocals, "Stop Playing With My Mind" for Barbara Tucker, and "Pow Pow Pow" for Lenny Fontana with Darryl D'Bonneau on vocals, all between 1999 and 2000. He also sung to Chicane's song "One More Time".