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Songstress Finds Support, Success in Santa Fe Community

Songstress Finds Support, Success in Santa Fe Community

Eryn Bent has taken the local music scene by storm

Local Musician Becomes a Force of Nature

Everyone knows Santa Fe, as a city, has saved lives.

If one was fortunate enough to be able to relocate to the small desert town while suffering from tuberculosis at the turn of the century, there was a much better chance of survival. Maybe it was that shared near-death experience that helped spur the creation of the artist’s haven Santa Fe is today.

As a young performer, Eryn Bent was enchanted by the desert landscapes on her many visits, but it was when Bent sought refuge in the city during crisis that she truly understood that support for artists is the lifeblood of the city.

The Montana-born songstress’ sound is firmly rooted in country, with some folk and pop overtones mixed in. Her voice dominates every song, excellently controlled through every note, its own instrument, truly melting into the melody.

Bent has worked hard for that sound – she began training with a vocal coach when she was 12, continuing until she was 18, when she left Montana for the University of Idaho to study vocal performance and opera. But within the first year, she realized she would need to switch gears.

“I excelled at the program, but I very, very quickly realized that I did not want to be an opera singer. … My heart just wasn’t in Opera,” she said.

Bent realized she longed to write her own lyrics and belt over the sound of a guitar strummed by her own hands. Performing her own music was an exciting and motivating thought, and she began pursing it.

She experienced one more heartbreak, the divorce from her husband, before finding support in the art community of Santa Fe. Lisa Carmen, her vocal coach from her teen years turned mentor, had moved to the artist haven and helped her get settled in her new desert home.

Before getting right into the music though, Bent felt it was time to deal with some issues that had gone unresolved for far too long.

Bent began to search for help and support for her Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, and eating disorder.

“I come from a very small town in Montana, and it’s like ‘you don’t talk about that’ because you get labeled as crazy and I still feel that stigma a little bit. But really, there are so many people that deal with exactly what I deal with, if not even worse, on a daily basis so why not talk about it?” she said.

The artist community in Santa Fe gave Bent the support and space she needed to find a path through her diagnoses. And in taking care of her mental health, Bent found the solid foundation to launch a successful career. The proof of that success started to come in the form of awards in 2015.

Bent received word that her freshman album, “Firefly,” was up for four nominations at the New Mexico Music Awards including “Best of the Year.” Bent walked away with the award for “Best Adult Contemporary” for the song “Friends, Foes,” the sixth track on the album.

“I was up against Lisa herself, my vocal coach. She has won many awards and she was up for the same award in the same category … so that was super special to me.”

Closely following the freshman album, Bent released the 31-track “In the Gray,” which is a collection of live recordings from her first 10 years of performances, an excellent sample of her evolution as an artist over her career.

Bent is currently living in Albuquerque, but she gets up to Santa Fe often. She said she is fortunate to only be working as a musician, but she does all her own legwork too. She writes all her songs and books her own gigs.

Eryn Bent will perform live on Thursday Jan. 19 at Rio Bravo Brewing Company at 7 p.m. You can also find more on her website, Facebook and Soundcloud.





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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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