I grew up as a missionary kid in the country of Albania. My parents moved our family over there shortly after communism fell, in 1993. I pretty much lived solely there until I graduated high school in 2005. I loved every minute of it and it really shaped my view of how music is perceived around the world and much a song can cross all kinds of barriers. It doesn’t matter what race, creed, or background you come from, people can unite around good music and that’s what drove me to pursue songwriting and the performance arts. I studied music in university and released some music during that time and shortly after graduating, but I never really felt content with where I was with my music progression. I settled down and got married like all good people in the South do and more or less put my passion for music aside, all while trying to save a failing relationship. We got divorced in 2017 and I decided that I needed to “risk it all” and make the jump to Los Angeles as a last ditch effort to take music seriously. I had tried my hand at recording in Nashville in the past, but it never really set well with me. So, in the summer of 2017 I packed up my life and moved to LA with my ex-friend (another story for another time) without a place to live or a solid job. Luckily my ex-roommate and I found work in the Brand Ambassador world and I soon grew my network of side hustles until I was able to fully support myself and live fairly comfortably. It took us about a week to find an apartment, but we finally found the perfect one in the knick of time! That roommate would end up screwing me out of a bunch of money and a long friendship, but I feel like we all have to a crazy roommate story whilst living in LA haha! That tragedy did lead to better life situations though, so I’m thankful it happened. I started putting feelers out for music and for people to collaborate with and soon found a wonderful community of creatives, all on this same path of creating honest music and supporting each other. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my music career in LA and it’s pushed me to grind and hustle for something I really love. The venues are great out here and the opportunities are endless! Moving to the West Coast has been the best decision I’ve made in a very long time.
One of the biggest struggles is just developing your talent and your “sound”. It can seem hard to get people to support you career, but it all comes down to being kind, humble, and driven. Nobody likes stuck-up, egotistical people especially artists. People like…good honest people and that’s important to me. I don’t care if I’m ever known as famous, rich, or powerful. I’d rather be known as genuine, kind, humble, approachable, and down-to-earth. But no matter how good you are, there are always struggles. There are always those gigs where hardly anybody shows up, despite people promising they will. You create a buzz and feel like you’re gaining traction with music, money, or connections then stuff falls through, it happens to everyone and tragedy knows no master. But the key is to KEEP GOING! You are your own worst enemy and if you don’t believe in yourself and work your hardest, then no one will for you. Perfect your craft and always be a student. You can always learn from anyone. You can never progress in life if you situation is perfect. It takes tragedy and pain to produce character and triumph. The greatest stories are birthed from failure.
My Hartmann music brand is one of authenticity. I don’t just want to create music for a good time. I want it to mean something to the listener. To help someone through a tough time, lift someone up, or make them think. I’ve never really gravitated towards a genre and I’ve been accused of not having a “sound”, but I look at a lot of different pop artist that like to experiment and try different flavors and in the end, its still them. I might put a different spin on a song like a more folky or rock or pop or jazzy feel, but in the end my guitar playing and vocal style stands true to who I am. My live shows incorporate powerful vocals and searing lead guitar lines, combined with thought provoking and captivating music. You could say I’m a variety show. I’m not opposed to that. I like surprising people on stage and giving them different flavors of who I am, because no one listens to only one style of music. Why should I play only one style of music?
I’m a studio guitarist and trained vocalist, with an enormous interest in production. This 4 song project I’m working on is self-produced. I had co-writers on 2 of the songs, I then had my good friends Matthew Steeper and Haliene produce my vocals (they’re the best in the biz), and finally I outsourced mixing and mastering to my friend Jason Bond of Starbond Productions. But I produce all of my own tracks and I have my hand in everything else. My first single “This Time” came out Sept 13, 2019 on all streaming platforms, and my newest single is set to come out May 15th, 2020. It’s called “Finally Over You” and you guessed it, it’s about my ex who pushed me to move to LA. It will also be out on all streaming platforms including Instagram and Tik Tok! The next 2 songs will be released before October comes around. “I Miss The You” will come out mid-summer and is a power ballad about love found and lost. “Livin’ In The City” will come out early fall and is a rock/blues song about the thrills of being new to LA. You will love them all!
My definition of success would be being able to support myself fully on my music salary. That would be ideal. But success is far more reaching than just money for me. Are you happy with yourself? Are you content with your life? Do you crave material things? How do you treat others, especially those who have no benefit to you? Success in music would be great and I do hope I am able to support a family by just that someday, but I’d rather find my idea of success in the people I impact and how I’m known by others. I want to be a successful human being not just a successful musician. My music will last a while, but how I’m remember and loved will last in the hearts of my family, friends, and fans long after I’ve gone on to heaven.