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      Eric Benet in Annapolis

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      December 23, 2019

      Monday   8:00 PM

      31 West Street
      Annapolis, Maryland 21401

      Eric Benet

      From barefoot dreadlocked troubadour to suave standard-bearer for contemporary R&B. Eric Bent may have changed his look, but one thing has remained consistent: his dedication to crafting authentic music that engages the soul.Im not chasing any current whatevers, says Bent, a four-time Grammy Award nominee. Its about music that gives me goose bumps and touches my soul. Thats always been a good barometer for me.Case in point: the singer-songwriters latest top 5 Urban AC single, Sunshine. The pure soul/R&B track provides the perfect backdrop for Bents heartfelt reflections on a relationship that has lost its spark. The hit has since sparked a remix version featuring Tamiathe singers memorable duet partner on his career breakthrough hit, 1999s Spend My Life with You.Spend is almost like the national anthem vocally, notes Bent. Youve got to have so much in your arsenal to successfully sing it. Not many singers can do that. But Tamia is all that and more. So it was such a joy to reunite with her on the Sunshine remix.Both tracks are featured on Bents eighth studio album. The self-titled, 13-song project, available on Jordan House/Primary Wave Music, once again showcases the depth of the singer-songwriters musical scope. Sometimes its almost like artists pick a color and stay with that for most of an album, says Bent. I dont like to do one-note albums.Thus, fans are in store for another aural treat from Bent and his longtime collaborator Demonte Posey. Theres the unadulterated, unfiltered sex appeal of the 80s-vibed Insane, which is already being ramped up as the follow-up to first single Sunshine. From there the album veers into a combination of Cameo and Minneapolis funk on Cold Trigger before rap icon and longtime friend MC Lyte joins in on the fun Holding On. Famed jazz musician Arturo Sandoval lends his talents to the Afro Cuban-spiced Run to Me, a sonorous ride that Bent describes as Latin meets soul.Adds the singer, whose smooth tenor-to-falsetto range still rings crystal clear, When you listen to my songs, they start off with nice intros and builds. Then they slowly bring you back down to earth. I wanted to do that with this album too: take people on a journey, get their hearts jumping and feet moving before getting down to the intimate and lovely side of things.That musical M.O. dates back to the Milwaukee natives early days, first as the singer for a pop group called Gerard in the late 80s. Later, as a founding member of the band Bent with his sister Lisa and cousin George Nash in the early 90s, Bent began experimenting with all the voices he was hearing in his head.Back then I was discovering who I was artistically, he recalls. I was so influenced by Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Chaka Khan, the Beatles, Queen. It was just this hodgepodge of where do I go with all of this?Bent ultimately went straight to Warner Bros., who signed him as a solo artist in 1994. His 1996 solo debut True to Myself put both music fans and the industry on notice. But it was the 1999 sophomore set A Day in the Life, featuring Georgy Porgy as well as his first No. 1 R&B single, Spend My Life with You featuring Tamia, that hit home. What doubled as Bents career breakthrough became a gold record that later notched his first Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group. Since then the singer has released five more studio albums, scored more hits including Youre the Only One and Sometimes I Cry and added three more Grammy nodsthe most recent in 2012 for Best Traditional R&B Performance for Sometimes I Cry.Beyond music, Bent is heavily involved in two charitable organizations. Mission Save Her (, co-founded by him and actor/singer Reggie Benjamin, fights against the human trafficking, slavery and sexual abuse of women and girls around the world. In a Perfect World (, established by Bents wife Manuela Testolini, pushes to break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy in economically poor countries like Haiti, Nicaragua and Senegal. Now in its 10th year, the organization has just built its 30th school and, in the process, benefited more than 30,000 children and teens around the world.Currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of his solo debut, Bent believes one thing accounts for his ongoing success.When my sister and I recorded our first album as Bent, recalls the singer, we had some control creatively but not all. The label put out a single and then dropped us right away. I told myself then that if I ever got the chance to do another record, I was going to have complete autonomy. That I was just going to do music that made me fall in love with music.In Spring 2016, Eric joined fellow contemporary R&B standard-bearers Anthony Hamilton and Lalah Hathaway for a 16-date tour. Bent relished the opportunity to keep paying it forward. The conversation that happens between me and the audience while Im performing compares to almost nothing. At the end of the day, my heart lives in R&B/soul. In fact, I feel like Im just getting started.

      Cost: 75.00

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