Writing Songs
Jan Bentley has been writing original songs (music and lyrics) since she was about thirteen years old. Over time, she has come to realise that her gift of writing songs should be shared with others, and hopes her music can inspire, entertain, teach and encourage. It’s a challenge for her, and most importantly, she enjoys it. Many of the songs she writes are personal and provide an insight into her beliefs, thoughts and observations of life. Some songs are simply for fun and celebration, because sometimes life can be too serious.

Jan’s music style includes elements of contemporary folk, country, celtic, gospel and pop music. She doesn’t like putting restrictions on her music; ultimately her music reflects her life and life is full of change.

In 2016 Jan branched out and wrote her first ever 'bush poem', adding an new dimension to her creative writing and performance.


Songwriting awards Jan has received include 'Best Lyrics' & 'Runner Up Best Lyrics' (Red Gum Festival 2000), 'Best Local Songwriter' and 'Best Song: Community Participation' (Red Gum Festival 1999) and ‘Runner Up Best Gospel Song’ (Australian Gospel Songwriting Awards 2003). She was a Top Ten finalist in the 1999 and 2003 Australian National Songwriting Contests (1999 - Gospel category; 2003 - 5th place for 'I Wonder' - From the Inside category). Jan was a Top Ten finalist in the Port Fairy Songwriting Award in 2002 and 2004, and a Top Three finalist in the Port Fairy Songwriting Award for 'Best Song of Tolerance, Peace and Understanding' in 2004. In 2007, Jan was a finalist in the 'Roddy Read Memorial Songwriting Award' as part of the Maldon Folk Festival. Two songs achieved recognition in the Professional Contemporary Section of the 2011 National Country Songwriting Contest, organised by the Tamworth Songwriters' Association: 'Just Passing Through' (finalist) and 'Country Hospitality' (semi-finalist).

For the 2005 Victorian and National Country Music Awards, Jan was a Top Five finalist in the Victorian Section (Female Vocalist) and a Top Ten finalist in the Victorian Section (Album - Slow Down) and National Section (Female Vocalist).

In 2016 Jan entered The Man From Snowy River Bush Festival - Bush Poetry competition (written humorous section). She was awarded 2nd place, Highest scoring novice (in humorous) and Top score for the Written section (Victoria). During the Festival she entered the One minute poem and came runner-up.

Jan enjoys performing her songs to a variety of audiences. She has performed at the National Folk Festival, Maldon Folk Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival, National Celtic Festival, Tamworth Country Music Festival, Mildura Country Music Festival, The Man From Snowy River Bush Festival, Ocean Grove Live Music Festival, Aireys Inlet Open Mic Music Festival, Bonnie Doon Music & Busker Festival, Black Stump Festival, Swan Hill Red Gum Festival, ABC radio (live on Derek Guille's programme), at a shopping centre, and at churches, pubs, weddings, schools and community events. She has performed in a couple of pubs in Ireland.

Jan’s debut album, ‘For I Am With You’ focuses on the theme of ‘journey’. This album is a clear expression of her faith and includes fourteen original songs.

The second album, ‘Slow Down’ was created in the midst of taking a year off ‘work’ in 2003 and being reminded about what’s important in life. ‘Slow Down’ was produced by Andy Sorenson and showcases Jan’
s ability to clearly communicate a message through song.

Album number three, 'Just Passing Through', was recorded, mixed and mastered in Melbourne with Phil Gaudion's capable assistance and there were wonderful contrbutions from the other talented musicians - Prue Farnsworth, Matiss Schubert and Jared Haschek. Singles were released to radio via CRS Publicity: 'Build it Up' (March 2011) and 'Blue Sky' (July 2011).

The journey continues..

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What prompted Jan to write songs and make albums?

While growing up, Jan developed an appreciation for music. She took piano lessons for about one year when she was ten years old, enjoyed singing choruses at church, looked forward to the sing-alongs at primary school, and liked to listen to good songs on the radio. Soon after finishing her piano lessons she started sitting down at the piano in her own time, trying new melodies and attaching words and poems. It was a form of expression. As years went by, she went to University and worked as a teacher, mainly in country Victoria. During that time, Jan was keen to learn more about songwriting and be more proactive in sharing her songs with others.

2. What comes first, the music or the lyrics?

When Jan writes a song, usually the music (maybe just a few notes) comes prior to the lyrics, and she likes to attach words or titles as soon as possible in case the melody is forgotten. The lyrics help Jan 'sing' the song to remember how it goes and to add more music and lyrics (such as a chorus and other verses). The lyrics must suit the melody. Occasionally Jan starts writing a song with a title or an idea for a theme.

Information for Music Festivals / Media
Jan Bentley - Biography (.pdf file)
Page last updated: 15/4/2016

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