“It’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
– Geoge Carlin
About Free Pxrn
“Free Pxrn: The Memoir of an American Heathen” is the culmination of all my life’s experiences up to 2016. Two years in the making, the songs on this album bookmarked specific chapters in my life, my highs and lows. Free Pxrn was my last attempt at fulfilling my purpose and living my dream as an artist. I was born and raised in New Jersey to a lower middle-class household and many of my family and friends were either considered poor or lower middle class. I had one vacation in my entire life. The paycheck to paycheck lifestyle was all we knew. The daily struggle I witnessed day in and day out frustrated me and many people close to me were telling me to abandon my dreams and get a “real” job. But I graduated school in the midst of the Recession and full-time jobs were hard to come by, especially with my minimal experience.
So, I worked several odd jobs for years, including substitute teaching until I decided to freelance as a graphic designer and website designer. I was self-taught and would spend 12-16 hours a day studying and researching online. I’d visit TGIFridays for the free wifi and use coupons they sent to my email to order food. Calling potential clients and writing songs. I hustled weed on the side to make ends meet. I sacrificed having a cell phone for almost 2 years and slept in my car when necessary. I lived hand to mouth for several years.
Over time I saved up and maxed out credit cards to build my own studio after sleeping on my friends’ couch for six months. Being a young black man, searching for a breakthrough during a period when it seemed there was no longer an American dream to live for was disheartening. Many of my friends were experiencing similar circumstances. Bouncing between clicks was common for me because after I while I noticed most people were completely full of shit, and I’m as real and honest as they come. Everyone wanted the dream but no one was truly willing to work hard for it. I was depressed but driven. If no one else was gonna do it, I would. All the frustration and anger, dealing with family and raising a child in an unstable relationship made its way into my music. A few good friends believed in me and helped along the way. This album is the result.
I titled the album Free Pxrn because of America’s obsession with sex, glamour and aesthetics. It hurts to admit but it made me who I am. I have a love/hate relationship with our country’s morals and standards. I love to indulge in excess and I hate that I love it. I love America for the freedoms I’ve been blessed with but I hate the price we pay for maintaining those freedoms. I dislike the fact that our communities tend to use our “freedoms” for selfish motives and mundane lifestyles. We love to own “things” and we use material gain as a symbol of social status. This is the American “Dream.” I’ve lived year after year on the so-called “hamster wheel”, in a vicious cycle, searching for more but ending up three steps back from where I began. I know the struggle and every day I work to overcome the monotony. There has to be more and I want to let the world know that there is more. So without further ado, here it is. My memoir, my life, my hurt and pain, my reality and my arrogance. Take a listen and please spread the word.
Free Pxrn: The Memoir of an American Heathen by Jase Harley
Belief in the American dream is woefully misguided when compared with objective reality. Addressing the rising economic gap between rich and poor in society, it seems, will require us to contend not only with economic and political issues, but also with biases of our psychology.