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“His vocals are pristine! He's fantastic!”
— Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional
“7/31/2020 was my first time to hear Steve Hartmann. What a gift. As soon as he began my body and spirit just relaxed. How would I describe his voice? Haunting.” - new fan
“I was blown away... speechless.”
— Livingston Taylor
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When asked to describe his music, Jericho Vermont based singer-songwriter Steve Hartmann usually hides behind the closest fan or friend to help him out despite his 30+ years making music. As with most singer-songwriters, he’s hesitant bordering on uncomfortable categorizing his sound, boxing it into a genre, or comparing himself to more readily familiar artists, but to provide a point of reference, his most flattering description was bestowed upon him by a fan after her first Steve Hartmann show. “You’re like the ‘grey’ between an acoustic Dave Matthews and Damien Rice; I wanted to dance one minute, cry the next, and in the moments in between, I couldn’t help but find myself gently swaying back and forth. I was captivated the whole time.”
Steve started playing classical piano at age 12. The agreement between he and his mother was that he agreed to pay for them, and she agreed to drive him to his lessons. That continued for 6 years. In the meantime, at age 15, Steve’s mother also taught him the three most important basic guitar chords every beginner should know: G, C, D… in that order. Steve took it from there, pulling lyrics from his journal and putting music to them like a soundtrack. For years, this was his process… how he dealt with his adolescence. He always felt better after a song was finished, but he knew this is what he wanted to do the first time
Like a lot of aspiring musicians, Steve found himself in the restaurant business early. He attended The Restaurant School of Philadelphia right out of high school and graduated with a culinary arts degree, and went on to be a chef, which enabled him to play most nights. In between carefully preparing Chateau Briand and escargot, he met bassist Drew Breder. They formed the band, Simon, named after one of Steve’s closest friends. They released their first EP; a live recording on cassette tape, called Live ’97.
In his mid 20’s, Steve took a leap of faith and applied, and was accepted, to Berklee College of Music. He moved to Boston where he was a piano principle and double majored in stage performance and songwriting. He met and was taught by the incomparable Livingston Taylor, where Taylor said, “I was blown away… I’m speechless”. During his time in Boston, Steve met 5 other musicians to help him carry on the Simon name… so much to the point, that fans started calling Steve, Simon. They recorded and released Simon’s first, and only, full length studio album called, Sweet Angel. They started gaining traction in the Boston, NYC, and Philadelphia areas, and were being scouted by major labels, but after about 4 years of touring relentlessly throughout New England and the greater Philadelphia tri-state area, Simon dispersed, and Steve went on as a soloist.
Steve moved to Colchester, VT to be closer to his then girlfriend who was from South Burlington. After getting a quick lay of the musical landscape in VT, Steve went right to work, winning The Advance Music Singer-Songwriter Contest. Since then, Steve has married, has had a son, released his first solo studio album called Waking Up the Echoes, won Vermont’s Original Music Competition, books talent for 2 of New England’s largest festivals, and continues to grow his musical community through his love of playing and writing.
“Sometimes, the life we dream of it tends to fall asleep”, Steve sings of the things we dared to dream we could be when we were kids. “And sometimes, in the faces we meet, you can hear them cry for sweet release”, Steve speaks to the hope we can find in the people we meet along the way… hope for us all, that we can still dream, and achieve, together.
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