By Garrett Cote
As Friday, Oct. 14 winded down, yet another typical fall semester week was coming to a close for the Springfield College community. Classes were wrapping up, sports teams were putting the finishing touches on practices and weekend activities on campus were set to begin.
Aidan Harmer had other plans.
When the Springfield College senior walked out of his final class of the week, he rushed to practice to prepare for his cross country meet the following day. After his workout, Harmer scooted over to Cheney and downed a plate of food before hopping in his car and picking up his friend, Charles Duncan. Soon enough, Harmer was off to his next stop: Yale University.
Harmer and Duncan were set to shoot a music video for their single September that was released on Sept. 16 (Harmer’s birthday), and Yale was a midway point for them and their New Jersey-based cameraman, Andre Costa. Once they recorded enough footage for the video, they returned back to Alden Street at 1 a.m.
Now it was time to sleep in and enjoy the weekend. But the only problem was that Harmer had to be on the team bus at 7 a.m. the next morning to leave for his meet at Connecticut College.
“His work ethic is crazy,” Duncan said of Harmer. “He works so hard. He put together all the stuff for the song. He’s the engineer, the producer, he does everything. He’s dedicated, and he already has his own production company and his own name. He knows what he wants to do, and he’s smart.”
Although Harmer, a Hawthorne, N.J.. native, didn’t perform to his standards in that meet at Connecticut College, he understands the sacrifices that have to be made in order to balance all of his passions while also being a full-time student at Springfield.
“[That weekend] was an example of having to balance everything,” Harmer said. “I ran terribly that next day, but it’s a sacrifice I have to make. I had so much fun the night before. I’m like living a dream for myself, making a music video with my friends. Being able to make these sacrifices, I have to know what’s going to last.”
During Harmer’s first year on campus, he lived across the hall from Duncan on the fifth floor of Reed Hall. As the two grew close, and Duncan opened up about his ties to New York City and the connections he has with rappers such as French Montana and A$AP Rocky, it would have been silly for Harmer to not dive right into collaborating with Duncan.
“My big brother is really connected, he knows a lot of people,” Duncan said. “Like A$AP, that’s his boy, like he’s cool with him. He knows a lot of people in the music industry. Anytime, to put someone on, I’m not gonna hold them back. I want Harmer to be great. If I can set him up in any position, I will. It’s just being a good person.”
Similarly, Harmer – or A Harm, his stage name – had the same mindset when he began working with Duncan.
“When I first met him, I was like, ‘This kid is from the Bronx, and he always talks about knowing French (Montana) and all that. If I don’t take this opportunity to work with him, I’m missing out,’” Harmer said.
Harmer’s musical talents didn’t transpire overnight. This is something that he has been manifesting since his early years of high school.
A Squared Productions, a business started by Harmer and his high school friend Alex Zawojski, was set to DJ the 2016 homecoming event at Hawthorne High School. This group consisted of only Harmer and Zawojski, who were two young sophomores with a love and devotion for music.
After the event went so well, A Squared Productions was essentially merged into Blue Bands Productions, another record label started by other students at Hawthorne that was a bit further along in the music industry than Harmer and Zawojski at the time.
“[The homecoming event] introduced us and pushed our name into them, and that ended up just being a huge music production group in my high school,” Harmer said. “Those guys pushed me to start making my own stuff because they were doing it first.”
It didn’t take long for Harmer to begin dropping his own music, and that year his very first single, Nightfall, was released on SoundCloud.
“My first song, I had a bunch of kids from my high school’s soccer team come over and record,” Harmer said. “I would show people in the hallway, and they would be like, ‘Okay, the hook is good, but the verses are trash.’ That’s because all the kids on the soccer team did the verses.”
Music continued to be something Harmer turned to constantly as high school progressed, and as he got closer to the start of his collegiate years, he knew it would be what he leaned on for an escape during his free time.
Because both of his parents, Brian and Lea Harmer, participated in track and field at Springfield College, the decision for Harmer to follow in their footsteps and run for the Pride was effortless. He didn’t get to officially compete in an event until this season, however, despite being a member of the cross country team for all four years.
Injuries have plagued Harmer and his terrific running abilities, but being a Physical Therapy major has helped him with the recovery process as he better understands how his body works in certain situations.
“I told myself I could either be upset about it, or keep on moving forward,” Harmer said in reaction to the injuries. “I focused on cross-training. I had no other options except to put my head down and keep on working. Luckily, with my background in PT, I’ve been able to build up a routine of strength exercises and rolling out every night. It’s all stacked on top of each other.”
Being in an environment like Springfield also helped his music prosper like never before.
“I’m able to find connections from all over the country and be around people who have the same interests,” Harmer said. “I’m a little scared for after college, because [Springfield has been] such a great outlet to promote music and be around a bunch of people who will listen.”
On Tidal, a platform to stream music, Harmer has reached over 50,000 streams, and was even compensated for those numbers. To grow to something this big was always a goal for Harmer, but watching it come to fruition is a feeling like no other.
“All the love he’s been getting is crazy to see,” Duncan said. “Nobody does this expecting something big, but people actually mess with it. Harmer can really rap. All your friends are gonna say you’re doing good because they’re your friends, but seeing other people that you don’t really know say that you’re making good music, that’s when you start to realize.”
Despite all of the success in the studio, and despite finally being fully healthy and feeling free during cross country meets, Harmer knows his future relies on his efforts in the classroom. And above all, that’s what matters most, especially considering physical therapy is one of the more difficult majors at Springfield.
“Academics always comes first for me,” Harmer said. “Running and music are just outlets. My whole undergraduate career, it’s been getting my homework done first, and then running is just ingrained in my mind. Then it’s like, now it’s okay for me to focus on music a little bit.”
With Harmer set to drop his first album, With Love Comes Harm, on all platforms at some point this November, it is clear his dream is no longer just a dream. It has now become a reality.
The Aidan Harmer spotlight is only getting brighter, and there’s no stopping him now.
“I’m telling you right now, this boy (Harmer) is going to be legendary,” Duncan said. “He already got the plan. He’s going to be great, for real, for real.”
Photo by Garrett Cote/The Student