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Local Limelight: Made in Manhatten

This rocker's ambitions are as big as the cities she's lived in

 by Megan Salisbury
 published on Thursday, September 14, 2006

Eclectic rocker Jenn Hartmann's ballads range in topic from heartache to life in the Big Apple
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Photo courtesy of Jenn Hartmann/issues/arts/697671
Courtesy of Jenn Hartmann
Eclectic rocker Jenn Hartmann's ballads range in topic from heartache to life in the Big Apple --- Photo courtesy of Jenn Hartmann
 

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Jenn Hartmann, an ASU '01 theater graduate, is a Madonna-obsessed, former speech-and-debating, midnight music-writing, big-city devotee from Mesa.

This spunky and spontaneous 27-year-old woman of many talents is a folk/rock singer who made the voyage from Mesa to New York to begin her career.

Although she recently moved to Los Angeles, Hartmann's new album, "Silly Urban Girl," reflects her east-coast experiences.

"I really shouldn't have gone to New York, but I wanted to go," Hartmann says. "This is what I am supposed to be doing. Life is too short. You need to follow your guts. You will make mistakes, but you will land it."

Hartmann's passion for music began when she was 5 years old and her parents gave her a Fisher Price piano.

After listening to her banging on the keys for a while, she says her dad swore he could make out a verse and a chorus.Hartmann says she was destined to become a musician and adds that her parents have been a constant source of support.

"My parents have been awesome about it," Hartmann says.

In New York City, Hartmann ironically ended up living in the East Village, her childhood dream neighborhood.

"When I was younger, I was obsessed with Madonna, and one day I watched her movie 'Desperately Seeking Susan.' It was set in the East Village, very grungy and rock 'n' roll, and from that moment I decided I was going to live in New York," Hartmann says.

In 2002, as a wannabe folk rocker who had never had singing or guitar lessons, Hartmann released her first album, "I Admit."

Her self-taught guitar rhythms and fiery vocals burn through her songs so that the audience sub-consciously drifts into her world of happiness, broken hearts and spontaneity.

On Hartmann's new album, "Silly Urban Girl" is not only a song title, but also the name she hopes to someday use for her own record label - Silly Urban Girl Entertainment.

"It was something that my boyfriend put in an e-mail to me once. It inspired me, and I wrote a song," Hartmann says.

"It was supposed to be a big pop song, but it turned out different. It's the simplest song on the whole album," she adds.

Hartmann moved to L.A. nine months ago and works for a theater company teaching children how to perform. But she says her heart is still in New York, and she may only live in L.A. for a few years before moving back.

She is now on a three-city CD-release tour that will be stopping in all the places that have shaped her life - New York City, Los Angeles and Arizona.

"I am proud of my first album as a venture. I am proud of this new one as a product," Hartmann says. "I don't know what it is I am looking for per se. I just let the universe take me where I want to go."

Reach the reporter at Megan.M.Salisbury@asu.edu.



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