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Get to know NBC "The Voice" contestant Chevel Shepherd of Farmington. Wochit, Farmington Daily Times

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RUIDOSO — A concert June 23 is just the next stop for Farmington's Chevel Shepherd, who will share the stage with headliner Chase Bryant and another up-and-coming performer, Lee Brice, at the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero.

Shepherd won NBC TV's "The Voice" reality talent competition in 2018 and has been busy ever since. In May, she performed "God Bless America" at the Indianapolis 500. Earlier this month she opened for Little Big Town at the Sandia Resort & Casino in Albuquerque.

A beginning

A  Farmington native, Shepherd said she's been a singer for as long as she can remember, and was shocked by her recent win.

“It was crazy for me. I had a four-chair turn and I was very grateful. I had so much fun throughout the entire journey,” said Shepherd.

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Shepherd was coached by Kelly Clarkson on the show. 

“I had to go with Kelly, even though I wanted to pick Blake (Shelton) at the same time,” she said.

Clarkson will assist Shepherd in the recording of her new album.

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Shepherd has headlined shows, opened for Little Big Town on June 14, and will travel to Kentucky to headline another show.

Shepherd will perform several shows in New Mexico.

“I will begin touring and planning to start working on an album. I will be remaining (in) school taking online courses. I hope to sing at the Grand Ole Opry," she said.

Shepherd will be a senior in the fall with only one course to complete.

“I want to thank all of New Mexico and everyone out there that supported me. I am very excited for my future,” she said.

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A dream begins early

In 2014, Bryant released his first hit single “Take It Back” that made it to the to the top 10 of Billboard County Airplay chart. Bryant was born and raised in Orange Grove, Texas, and has a musical lineage that runs back to the days of Roy Orbison and Waylon Jennings. His grandfather, Jimmy Bryant, performed with the two. 

His musical lineage does not stop there. His uncle co-founded the band the Ricochet that had several hits in the 1990s.

“From then on, I knew that all I really wanted to do was play music,” Bryant said.

He began his musical endeavors at the age of 2 when he earned to play guitar — but with a bit of unusual twist.

“I learned how to hold my guitar backwards. I took playing it very seriously from a young age. I knew then it was who I was and what I wanted to do,” he said.

Growing up, Bryant was influenced by from family, friends, and everyday life, which is reflected in his music. 

“Jerry Lee Lewis and George Strait are two of my all-time favorites, but there are so many more musicians and bands I am very fond of. My father listened to Strait religiously,” he said. "You could always hear his music in our house when I was growing up.

“I used to listen to Lewis play piano and I become addicted to him."

Bryant said his music is focused on those normal moments of life.

“We all have dreams we want to follow. I’m no different than anybody else, I just sing about them,” he said.

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A tough decision to make

Once he graduated from high school, Bryant found himself facing the a decision to either pursue a music career or attend college.

“My parents were on the fence about me leaving, letting me go. I had to make a decision about my music or going to college. I chose music,” he said. “Music fit me like a good pair of shoes.”

Bryant signed with Red Bow Records in August of 2013. A year later he released his single hit song “Take It Back.”

After hitting the charts, his music became more in demand from the public and he began to tour more frequently.

Bryant recently finished a tour with Brad Paisley, is headlining shows, and is working hard in the recording studio on new music.

“I wrote 'Take It Back' 19 years ago, and I was recruited after my first record. I am thankful for that song. It started my career and will always be one of my favorites to play,” he said.

Life's reflection

Bryant wrote “Little Bit of You” early in his career, and was the first song he wrote about “a girl.”

“It was about young love and being in her presence while living 1,200 miles apart,” he said.

Bryant said the biggest influence on his music remains his grandfather.

“I can remember listening and watching him play music. He was a huge influence on me,” he said.

Bryant is working on a new album currently.

“There is going to be a lot of depth to my new album. I am writing it from a new place, about the things that happen in life that I can relate to. I am, we are, hopeful that in the upcoming year to have it finished,” he said.

“We’re excited about coming to New Mexico, and hope everyone there will come out and enjoy our show,” Bryant said.

For more information about the show, and available seating and pricing, visit www.innofthemountaingods.com.

Pamela L. Bonner can be reached at 575-202-5555, Pbonner@Ruidosonews.com or at 575-257-4001 ext. 4102.

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