Jacob Hurt is spreading a message of peace one song at a time.
“My message is to spread love, peace, and to change the modern perspective on how we view each other as humans,” said Hurt.
The 18-year old Portales High School senior is a budding reggae artist, complete with dreadlocks and a guitar.
Hurt, who goes by the stage name Malu, meaning peace in Hawaiian, has been trying to break into the local music scene and is putting in the footwork. He’s already recorded his first demo disc and performed at an open mic at Roosevelt Brewing Company on Wednesday. He is also performing at the Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell campus on Friday night a 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.
“I recorded at a studio in Roswell with my friend Sam Russell. We were in the studio for eight hours straight, just writing and recording,” said Hurt.
Hurt can commonly be seen on the campus of PHS playing his guitar at lunch and has been passing out copies of his demo at school and around town. Everyone at school seems to have noticed, including students and faculty.
“He’s got a different style. He is always practicing his guitar and I’ve seen him grow as a musician just in a few months since school started. He’s more confident, and he is representing himself in a good light. I think it’s cool,” said Dennis Kerg, a U.S. History teacher at PHS.
Hurt got his first guitar at age 13 while living in Maine. He joined a rock club at his school shortly after, and from there he taught himself how to read and write music as well as play the guitar. He is also teaching himself how to play the bongo drums.
“My guitar is the only one who understands me sometimes,” said Hurt, who cites his musical influences to reggae bands SOJA, Nahko and Medicine for the People, and Bob Marley. He doesn’t consider himself just a reggae artist though.
“I do alternative and reggae. When I perform alone, it sounds more like alternative because it’s hard to get that reggae sound by yourself,” said Hurt.
Hurt is on track to graduate a semester early from PHS and said he will possibly pursue a musical career after high school. But he made it clear that it isn’t about the money.
“That’d be nice,” he said. “I think for every musician it is a dream. Money is good, but when it comes to music it isn’t the most important thing. The most important thing is spreading the message. Peace and love is what it’s all about, and accepting and including everyone.”