Dierks Bentley: from Backstage Intern to Front-And-Center Nominee

Dierks Bentley
Bentley and Luke Bryan (photo from Radio.com)

Dierks Bentley wasn’t always a big country star. In fact, he was a butler of sorts for other country stars.

Back when he worked for the CMA Awards backstage as an intern, he would see stuff that nobody else got to see. Wearing a headset and helping stars like Shania Twain get on and off the stage, he saw behind-the-scenes type of stuff.

He recalled one story that turned out to be one of the biggest highlights for him. He remembers leading Twain back to her bus after her performance.

“She had a like a leather jacket, midriff,” he said. “It was pretty cool.”

“I remember the Dixie Chicks came — like everybody had their limos that dropped them off, but the Dixie Chicks came in three really cool old-school cars and kind of broke the rules,” Bentley says. This was before the awards were broadcast from the Grand Ole Opry up until 2005. The awards moved to New York City and then Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

From backstage, Bentley got to see Alan Jackson rehearse and Garth Brooks win awards. Now, Bentley himself is up for some awards: Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Musical Event of the Year, and Music Video of the Year.

“I’ve been nominated a lot … I love nominations,” Bentley recently told media. “I feel like this sounds like a cliche to say, but you get a chance to walk on the stage every night, for 10, 12, 15,000 people — it’s a pretty good award, right there, every night. You have a lot of respect for your peers. It’s awesome to be nominated.”

But out of all four nominations, Bentley says winning Album of the Year would be super special.

“You think about all the great albums that are out there, all the artists that are out there and competing for that, and all the great records that have been nominated …,” Bentley said. “I tell any new artist, being nominated for something — it’s nice to win, but being nominated is a big deal; it’s a really big deal. For me, for this record [Black], for the CMAs, Album [of the Year is] probably the most important nomination.”

He continued, gushing with pride about his new album, “Black.”

“I feel like we put on a great show at the end of the road, and Entertainer would be pretty nice, too,” he adds. “If I ever wanted to be nominated for Album of the Year, and I have been in the past — it’s always an honor, but this [new album] feels like, not only did we pour everything into it, not only was the physical expenditure of time, but it’s just one of those magical things that kind of came together. I didn’t go into it with any preconceived notions. I had no songs left over; it was a blank slate. To come out of that with this album, with something tangible, that’s what the whole thing should be about.”

From backstage to front-and-center, Bentley is moving up the ladder.