In a family of musically inclined individuals, Frederick Hardman wanted to stand out in his own musical talents. The Shippensburg University communication, journalism and media major has showcased his talent for the university community at both The Reflector’s Post-Love Open Mic and Ship’s Got Talent.
“Because of my competitive nature, I wanted to do my own thing. So, I chose the guitar because I thought that was what girls really liked,” Hardman said.
Hardman is a self-taught musician who began writing music when he was 18-years-old but took a four-year break from music until he was 22.
Hardman’s brother wrote a musical when he was 15 and has been composing music ever since, he explained. He began his musical interest by learning the piano, but later moved on to other instruments like the guitar.
Before attending university, Hardman also took a gap to join AmeriCorps as a volunteer. He then worked as a landscaper for a bit and joined the National Guard. He originally attended Bloomsburg University before transferring to Shippensburg University.
While he does not love the veteran’s program at SU, Hardman said they are working on changes that will make the experience better. He explained that before the COVID-19 pandemic there was a lounge for veterans but that it has not been open since. After college, Hardman plans to put more of his time into the military.
“I’m as indecisive as a squirrel,” Hardman said.
During his time in college, Hardman has bounced around different majors and tried a bit of everything. He started by studying exercise science before switching to music therapy, though he then switched again to business management.
After a few classes, Hardman realized that the business major was not for him. A friend recommended communications, journalism and media to him and he has enjoyed it ever since.
“I enjoy the classes and everyone is super helpful,” he said. “It is much more exciting than business management was. I just started so I don’t know if I want to be behind or in front of the camera yet.”
When it comes to his music career, Hardman is working on getting more exposure and being comfortable on stage. His main focus right now is on learning more covers so that he can book more gigs to play at. His favorite performance experience was a showcase of up-and-coming artists in Sugarloaf, Maryland.
“I had to play with glasses on because I had gotten pink eye and really didn’t want to miss it,” Hardman explained. He also noted that the venue had breathtaking outdoor seating and he even got to sign the stage afterward.
“I really like Taylor Swift and the legends like John Mayer and James Taylor,” Hardman said.
Within music styles, Hardman said he appreciates the added complexity of finger picking with the guitar rather than strumming. He employs this pattern into his own songs.
“I usually come up with a tune on the guitar while fiddling around and then I add the lyrics,” Hardman explained. “Other people have told me that it is usually done the other way around, so I guess I have it backward.”
Often his songwriting occurs when procrastinating homework, according to Hardman. “I wrote ‘Mrs. Know It All’ in a day while I ignored the assignments I needed to do,” he said. “I often write in random spurts of musical energy.”
Hardman played his song “Mrs. Know It All” at Ship’s Got Talent in March. The song was written in order for him to find closure with a certain situation, he said.
“Regardless of who listens to my music, it will always be for me and to help me get through different things,” Hardman said. “I want to branch out into more topics than just break-ups or love.”
“I don’t think songs are ever truly completed,” he explained. “I have a lot of songs in the workshopping stage that I am trying to play around with and finish.” He is waiting until the semester is over to put more focus into his music.
“I don’t think my favorite song has been written yet — but I think it is coming,” Hardman said.
Hardman added that he has noticed a progression in his songwriting and explained that he likes where it seems to be headed.
“My end goal is to release at least one album, even if it is just for me,” he said.