Tell us about yourself and your music
I picked up my first guitar, a fender electric, when I was nine years old. A few year later I was playing originals in a local garage band. In 1973 I heard Harry Chapin on the radio and I found my musical identity. I bought my first 12 string and never looked back! I began playing professionally in the Northeast over 39 years ago, playing covers and originals. Now I live and play in South Florida. Most of my songs are stories inspired by something that happened to someone I knew or a personal experience. My hope is that when you listen they will spark a memory or an emotion and for a moment you will find yourself living the story I am sharing musically.
Talk to us more about your latest release
Most of the songs on my Just Like Water CD are about changes, how time affects us and our relationships and the way we see ourselves and the people in our lives. Stay or Go relates to how life often demands we make choices. If I Only Knew came out of a failed project and a broken trust. The project took three years, but for me every minute was worth the end result.
What inspired you to write this release?
A few years ago, my younger brother and his wife went through a rough divorce. The conversations I had with them inspired the story in the title cut, Just Like Water. Working on the song made me reflect on many of the people who had touched my life. I felt the need to tell their stories, or at least my version of them.
Any plans to release a video?
Absolutely. I currently have the story board for Just Like Water and I am anxious to sit down with a videographer and get started.
Any plans to hit the road?
I host and perform at a weekly Musicians Showcase at The Living Room in Boynton Beach in addition to solo shows at several other South Florida venues. I have been putting a lot of time into booking shows statewide. The CD has also grown my following and brought me a few opportunities, like your interview. I’m going to keep promoting Just Like Water and hope a road trip is in the very near future.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I think every artist struggles with this one. I have several 12-string guitars that I alternate playing. The Seagull 12 is my favorite. It has a unique chiming tone. You will see that on my logo I am wearing a fedora. I put one on for a show a few years ago, and it has become my signature look. My wife complains that I have more hats than she has shoes.
Who have you been listening to lately?
I like to listen to a variety of artists. Recently I have been following Eddie Vedder, Oasis and Passenger in addition to several FM stations geared to newer artists. Of course, James Taylor, Harry Chapin and Cat Stevens rank high on my list of my favorite artists
Tell us about your passions
Life! I love to see, hear and taste as much of life as I can. My two goofy bassett hounds occupy a lot of my down time. I do read a lot. I love to cook. I work hard and try to play just as hard. And, of course my wife Gloria is the biggest passion in my life.
What else is happening next in your world?
Right now, I am focused on marketing the CD and booking more shows. I do have a couple of new songs I am playing with for a new project. And I plan to get a video or two out. I don’t plan on taking any time off in the near future. You never know where Bill Hartmann will show up next.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Bill!