Born and raised in the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands in South Africa, singer songwriter Jason Hartman’s love for music was evident from a very young age. In his teens, Jason and his brother Scott joined their father and formed a 3-piece band out of pure necessity to survive. They spent a decade together performing at various venues and corporate functions earning their keep through their mind-blowing performances. Jason then broke away and moved to Johannesburg where he began busking for a living. Soon after this, he put together a 2-piece duo called Justus, which won the Duo Competition at Tanz Café in Bryanston. This was the beginning of a successful career in the South African music industry.
It was 2009 Idols that truly put Jason on the map as one of South Africa’s finest acts. He lost a bet with a group of friends and was challenged to enter the competition at the age of 29 a year before the contest’s cut-off age. Reluctant at first to enter, he braved the queues and admits that the incredible talent he was competing against overwhelmed him. He nearly gave up but continued to climb up to higher rounds and soon found himself in the top 10 with millions of adoring eyes on him every week. Jason came second to Sasha-Lee but a discrepancy in the voting meant that he was in fact the person with the most votes. However the title of winner of Idols 2009 was shared between the two gifted singers, the first time in the history of the competition that the accolade has been given to two people. Sasha-Lee joined Jason on a track on his debut album, OnThe Run (Sony Music) which was released in 2009.
The predominantly self-penned album has been his biggest dream to date. Two songs, Break The Silence and On The Run, became number one hits on most national radio stations and the third single, Chasing Stars, has achieved considerable radio airplay across the country.
Jason was given the Freedom of the Town of Howick in Natal (his home town) alongside Pixie Bennett, a fellow Idols contestant. The only other person to have been given this prestigious honor was Nelson Mandela.
Since his joint victory as the winner of the most celebrated reality contest in the country, Jason has performed continuously to audiences all over South Africa. His current band consists of his brother Scott on drums and vocals and his father, Sam on guitar and vocals, as well as bass player Quinton. In fact, the quality of his live performance are so highly acclaimed that he opened for USA Idols winner Kelly Clarkson and was also personally invited by the Prince and Princess of Monaco to partake in their wedding festivities. Jason and his band blew audiences away in Monaco with performances at the Monaco Grand Prix and an opening gig for the Eagles, both performances earned them a standing ovation and celebrity status in that country. He also performed for the South African Day at the Monaco Tennis Championships at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Jason turned his hand to acting with a leading debut role in A Million Colors, a South African/ Canadian production set for international release in August 2011 at the Toronto Film Festival. The movie was chosen to open the Hollywood Black Film Festival in November 2011 and Jason and his co star Wandile Molebatsi, walked the red carpet in Hollywood during the week`s screening. The movie release in South Africa is due on 26th April 2012. The story is based on the two stars of the highly successful movie E`Lolipop, after they received international fame and recognition, many years ago. Jason appeared on the sound track to the animated movie, Jock, based on Sir Percy Fitzpatrick’s novel Jock of the Bushveld, which was released in July 2011.
Aside from music, Jason’s passion is the environment, in particular gardening. He has always been at home in the tranquility of Mother Nature and leverages off his celebrity status to put across very authentic messages on sustainability and environmental awareness. Jason heads up an NGO called The Men of Trees and is driving several ‘green’ projects such as sustainable vegetable gardens in schools and townships. Sustainability in the garden is very important to Jason and he proudly shows underprivileged people all over the country how to plant crops in tyres in order to feed their families. Jason’s trip to Monaco enabled him to build up strong support from some of Europe’s most influential people and he will be joining them in a drive to end global poaching and will incorporate awareness and a very serious message into his shows and new music he is working on. The new initiative, of which he is a Board member, is called Conservation Guardians and he started this in Europe. This is a major drive which will assist his projects of sustainable food growing for poor communities in South Africa as well as a campaign against poaching and various environmental issues with which we are faced on a daily basis. Jason prefers to be an action driven celebrity when it comes to Charity initiatives – he is committed to making a difference!
Jason and his Band are hard at work on the second album presently which should be released within the next couple of months.
Jason describes himself, with a grin, as “just an authentic, down – to – earth guy who happens to be a muso!” Backed by his team and stalwart family and armed with his guitar, Jason continues to hold his head up high as a major force in the South African music industry, and quite possibly internationally too.