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Jason Hartley: a man of many genres

Brie Coder

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Optimistic and easygoing not only describes Jason Hartley’s view on music, but also on life itself. The current junior is double majoring in music business and jazz studies. On campus, you can see him at times carrying around his guitar. His guitar-playing ability has helped provideassistance to many breakout artists overtime. He enjoys performing many different genres, and through influentialpeople, he has found ways to incorporate it into his music.

Hartley realized that music was his calling at the age of 11 when he heard one of B.B. King’s albums. Blues became a passion of his, and he began picking up on King’s playing ability, and from there learned many different ways to play.

At first, Hartley played saxophone for nine years before college. He then started playing guitar at his church, and it was there where he learned to play gospel music, which lead to his experimentation with hip-hop.

“Through my church I met Larry Westbrook,” Hartley said. “He is a relative of the Westbrook Singers. He gave me more insight on gospel music, and through that it helped me understand other genres including hip-hop.”

The Westbrook Singers have had quite a legacy since preforming in 1975. The siblings began singing upbeat gospel music during their father’s (Reverend Charles Westbrook) sermons at the Community Outreach Church of God in Christ in East Moline, Illinois. Throughthe years, the family went on to singing outside of the church, including on the Quad-City Public Broadcasting Service Station. Not only did Hartley study blues, gospel and hip-hop, but he also started looking into rock and metal.

“Next to B.B. King, I was also influenced by Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin,” Hartley said.

Throughout his playing, Hartley realized he enjoyed playing but also the recording side of the music industry. For a while now he has been running his own studio entitled Invictus Studios.

“The pros of working in the studio are being able to work with multiple artists, including solo artists,” Hartley said. “I will say the con of working in the studio is not being able to focus on live shows.”

He has performed many different genres and enjoys getting to know the artists he is working with. In the past, Hartley has had difficulties with recording labels. However, he has a different perspective on how to run his studio, as he does not want his clients to go through the same issues he did.

When he is not in the studio, Hartley is out touring. He especially loves performing in the Chicago area, and has had the privilege to open up for bands such as Flatfoot 56, an American Celtic punk band from Chicago, and Children 18:3, a Christian punk band from Morris, Minnesota. When talking about what life is like on the road, he said he enjoyed being able to play music all the time to different fans around the area. The only downfalls of touring are that at times it can be boring, and physically and emotionally draining. Last Christmas, he got to perform at the iWireless Center and said he really enjoyed it. Even during the school semester, Hartley performs between Macomband the Quad Cities with various artists.

When he is not performing or working on music, Hartley enjoys watching baseball. His favorite team is the Chicago White Sox. During the interview, he wore all his White Sox gear and hopes that they will have a good season this year. He also enjoys working out to keep in shape to play softball. Besides sports, he enjoys comic books as well.

“Growing up I read a lot of Deadpool and The Avengers,” Hartley said. He went on saying he is a Marvel fan and enjoys seeing the movies made about his favorite superheroes.

Something that shows Hartley’s artistic perspective is his collection of tattoos. He said he has quite a few, but his favorite piece is what is on his right arm. He has asleeve dedicated to the Battle of Armageddon.

As a music major, Hartley said he wished that there were more art appreciation courses offered to students. He feels itis important for people to understand the arts and how we use them on a daily basis. He also stated he is very optimistic to see how the arts will increase overtime.

When asked what he plans to do after graduation Hartley said he would like to go to San Francisco. He enjoys the beach and the warm weather. To concluded the interview, he advised people “to continue to use music as an escape from the negativity of the world.” Overall, Hartley has a great future ahead of him in both the performance and recording industry. His brilliance will be recognized and help many future artists in time.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Jason Hartley: a man of many genres