A prolific singer-songwriter and lifelong lover of music, Jeff Hartman has been writing and performing uniquely memorable music for over thirty years. He’s developed a soothing, guitar-driven melodic style that blends elements of smooth jazz and soulful, adult contemporary pop, earning him comparisons to artists like Brian Adams, James Taylor, and Richard Marx. What sets Hartman’s music apart is its tender, authentic vocal style, enhanced by his detailed narrative lyrics approach to songwriting. He incorporates Spanish into 3 of his latest releases, shifting the text to embrace both languages and appeal to an even broader range of listeners. His lyrics tend to focus on inspirational yet relatable themes: life’s blessings, the challenges of growing up, and the peaks and valleys of romantic relationships. “I write a lot about love, because love is so important! A number of my songs are written to and for my grandchildren and for their generation— instructional songs about the importance of apologizing when you’re wrong, how to forgive others, lullabies for the young ones, that kind of thing. I want to infuse my songs with love and the lessons I’ve learned in life.”
One of eight children, Hartman grew up in Moorestown, New Jersey, surrounded by music. His father was a jazz trumpet and clarinet player, and his grandmother was a child violin prodigy. Hartman was first drawn to the guitar at age ten, after witnessing a young church member and guitar virtuoso perform rock-ballad praise songs at a contemporary mass service. His father bought him his first guitar, and Hartman taught himself to play and sing along. He learned to play the trumpet and string bass in school bands, and later taught himself to play a little keyboard to support his songwriting. His strongest musical influences came in the form of classic 1970s and 1980s solo artists like Don McLean, Dan Fogelberg, and Carol King— artists whose music told rich, emotional stories that evoked a strong response in any listener.
After college, Hartman began a 30-year career teaching high school English and Spanish in Maryland, then to New Jersey, winning a number of awards for his unique, unorthodox teaching methods and dedication to his students’ development. As a tennis coach, he trained and developed hundreds of tennis players, many of whom earned NCAA Division 1 scholarships. He eventually built a successful business training junior athletes for the state, and international levels throughout southern New Jersey. “Tennis was my second passion and a good part of the reason my musical career took a turn in a new direction.” As various career opportunities arose, Hartman continued to play and write music on his own, and with which led to a serendipitous run-in with Philadelphia rhythm and blues legend Joe Jefferson. When Hartman was just 21, a chance encounter with the artist on a tennis court led to a lifelong friendship and decades-long musical collaboration. Jefferson became an important mentor and music industry guide for Hartman: “He taught me the ins and outs of the business”. “Most importantly, he taught me how to write great songs, and that it takes time, effort and selective use of words with power and punch. He was a model for excellence in songwriting. That’s why he wrote so many hits!” The two men met frequently to discuss music and write songs together, collaborating on the track "Young Love" (co-written with Randy Cantor) which charted on Billboard's "Hot Black" charts for five weeks, and the track “Guilty” performed by Starleana for Virgin Records.
Since that time, Hartman has become an internationally recognized songwriter and acclaimed recording artist with many well-loved releases under his belt, from the 2012 narrative pop-rock EP Curtain Call