Erin Bentlage, a singer, composer, and arranger from Vermont, won her first Grammy award on Sunday night. She was honored for Best Arrangement, Instruments, and Vocals for “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning” with her vocal group säje. She beat out big names like Pat Metheny and Jacob Collier, who are known for their complex and innovative arrangements.
Vermont Native Erin Bentlage Wins Grammy Award
Erin Bentlage grew up in Burlington, Vermont, where she started singing at a young age. She attended the University of Miami, where she studied jazz vocal performance and met the other members of säje: Sara Gazarek, Amanda Taylor, and Johnaye Kendrick. The group formed in 2019 and released their debut EP in 2020, which featured their Grammy-winning arrangement of “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning”, a classic jazz ballad.
The arrangement showcases the group’s tight harmonies, expressive dynamics, and creative use of vocal percussion and effects. The song also features a guest appearance by saxophonist Bob Mintzer, who is a mentor and friend of the group. The arrangement was praised by critics and fans alike, who called it “stunning”, “breathtaking”, and “masterful”.
Erin Bentlage said she was “overwhelmed” and “grateful” for the recognition, and thanked her fellow group members, Mintzer, and her family and friends for their support. She also dedicated the award to her late grandfather, who was a jazz musician and inspired her to pursue music.
Other Vermont Connections at the Grammys
Erin Bentlage was not the only Vermonter who made a splash at the Grammys. Noah Kahan, a singer-songwriter from Strafford, Vermont, was nominated for Best New Artist but lost to Olivia Rodrigo. Kahan rose to fame with his hit songs “Hurt Somebody” and “Mess”, which have amassed millions of streams online. He released his second album, “I Was / I Am”, in 2021, which showcases his folk-pop style and personal lyrics.
Another Vermonter who caught the attention of the Grammy viewers was Bernie Sanders, the senator and former presidential candidate. Sanders became a viral sensation after he was photographed wearing a pair of mittens made by a Vermont teacher at the presidential inauguration in January. His image was turned into countless memes and merchandise and even made an appearance at the Grammys. A cardboard cutout of Sanders wearing his mittens was seen in the audience, next to celebrities like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift.
Caroline Rose, a singer, songwriter, and producer from Burlington, Vermont, was also nominated for a Grammy but did not win. She was up for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, for her third album, “Superstar”, which she co-produced and mixed. The album is a concept album that tells the story of a fame-obsessed alter ego and features a mix of pop, rock, and electronic sounds.
Vermont’s Success at the Grammys
Erin Bentlage’s win, along with the other Vermont connections at the Grammys, shows that the state has a lot to offer in terms of musical talent and diversity. Vermont is known for its natural beauty, progressive politics, and maple syrup, but it also has a rich and vibrant musical scene, with genres ranging from folk and bluegrass to jazz and indie rock.
Erin Bentlage said she was proud to represent Vermont at the Grammys and hoped to inspire other young musicians from her home state. She said she learned a lot from the Vermont music community and credited her teachers, mentors, and peers for helping her grow as an artist. She also said she was happy to share the spotlight with other Vermonters, and congratulated them on their achievements.
Bernie Sanders, who is a fan of folk music and has recorded his own album in the past, also congratulated Erin Bentlage and the other Vermont nominees on Twitter. He said he was impressed by their talent and creativity, and thanked them for bringing joy and beauty to the world through their music.
Erin Bentlage, a Vermont native, won her first Grammy award for Best Arrangement, Instruments, and Vocals with her vocal group säje. She beat out some of the biggest names in the music industry and made history as the first Vermonter to win in this category. She was joined by other Vermonters who also made an impact at the Grammys, such as Noah Kahan, Bernie Sanders, and Caroline Rose. Vermont’s success at the Grammys reflects its diverse and dynamic musical culture, and its ability to produce artists who can compete on the national and international stage.