LYNN BRYANT’s NASHVILLE LIFESTYLE STORY – Lynn Bryant’s country music career, her non-profit and her West End loft all point in one direction—up’

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In the best of circumstances, the overall design of a home is a direct reflection of its inhabitant(s)—and that’s certainly the case with Lynn Bryant, who has transformed a spacious loft overlooking West End into a personal paradise. While it was interesting enough to feature on its own before Bryant came along, the owner and her passions made it even more so. This is a space with a story behind it. And though it’s relatively new, years of drive, personality and talent are alive within the walls of this modern penthouse.

Bryant, who moved to Nashville in 2000 to pursue her music career, chose the space for several reasons. She was looking for something fresh—which I quickly found was a true (and fitting) buzzword for all things associated with her current life. She wanted a comfortable, relaxed feel, but also an environment that felt alive and full of light. She also loved the neighborhood: being able to walk to Houston’s, for instance, or to jet over to Fido in Hillsboro Village for coffee. With-floor-to-ceiling windows, the main living area (which also has a two-story rise ) fit the bill. A single bedroom and small office space overlooks this light-filled gathering spot, with two cozy sofas placed perfectly for conversation. It was here beneath the soaring ceiling that I got to know the person behind the house. And I was as intoxicated with her personality as I was with the surroundings. She’s as inviting as the home that she’s created in one of the city’s most vibrant areas.

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Although this is not her only home—she also has a house on the water in Maryland that recently piqued the interest of Traditional Home magazine—it’s the one place she can truly concentrate on her creative side, and with the soft, lavender walls and open-air feel, I instantly understood why this loft was the perfect spot for anything positive. What I did not realize was just how positive this phenomenal woman really was. Yes, she’s a great muscial talent, and has recently produced an incredible album (Woman Enough) with some of the best names in the business, but there’s much more to Lynn Bryant than a beautiful voice. The number of aspiring artists who come to Nashville is almost too large to count, but very few aspire to make the kind of impact she has. After meeting hundreds of people in the industry, I can say firsthand that it’s rare to see an artist with this much passion and dedication—and all for a reason totally opposite from those of most musicians seeking a career. I found out in a short time that she had already had her real career—in the business world, of all places—and was doing this for love, and not money.

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You may see her new video on MusicChoice or hear her music on the radio, but Bryant’s primary concern is making her mark in a totally different arena—The Nancy Ferro Learning for Life Foundation. Dedicating proceeds to this foundation for children, which Bryant is committed to, only makes her music sound even sweeter. It’s truly is a labor of love, and goes a long way in explaining why she chooses to spend the majority of her time here, where she can give back, rather than closer to her East Coast home where her family resides.

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Not that it’s a burden to be here. This elevated home has been a godsend, and one that she’s worked hard at perfecting, with a little help from her friends. And I found out very quickly just how many friends this big-hearted girl has. Her decorating help came from an old friend, Dan Webster, who operates out of Washington, D.C. She must have had some influence in order to have convinced this busy “big-city” designer to head south to create this haven, but it was worth it: it was his input that pulled it all together. And while she admits that many of the items were ordered from his D.C.-area vendors, they also did some local shopping at Bradford’s, among others, to complete the decor. During our first meeting, some details were still being finished, and within only a few weeks of finding out that her loft had been chosen as a feature, Webster made sure that she had drapes to frame the massive windows and small items placed in just the right nooks throughout the apartment. Another helper, local Chad James, filled in the blanks—and the end result is this dramatic but livable and modern home.

I was equally impressed when I came again for the shoot and found her hair-stylist, Marco, on hand to help with photos. This celebrated NYC staple has been featured in several national publications, including a recent issue of Allure (see www. emstudio.com). Talk about having some well-connected friends! I even got a haircut while winding up the interview. Between the amazing Oscar de la Renta screens and special-order rugs in the living room and the conversation, I was having a hard time concentrating on anything but the sheer experience. I was especially drawn to the magazine rack by the same designer—but that’s just one of the many objects that make this home special.

The best description I can give is one the owner gives herself: She wanted something that felt “real” and “fresh.” I definitely think this task was accomplished. The entire space can be summed up in the same way I’d describe the owner—a breath of fresh air.

This is a space with a story behind it. And though it’s relatively new, years of drive, personality and talent are alive within the walls of this modern penthouse.

The Nancy Ferro Learning for Life Foundation, founded by Lynn Bryant and named for Bryant’s grandmother, helps schools help children. It gives at-risk youngsters opportunities to survive, to grow and to succeed. The organization works at the grassroots level, each school, each child at a time, finding out what’s needed, what works, and then helping make it happen. They fund programs that provide teachers, counselors and materials needed to tutor children while fostering the importance of character and compassion. To date, through this program, the children are improving grades (the Learning For Life program is offered to students at the local St. Pius X Elementary School, where Bryant recently performed a concert). More importantly, they’re learning skills that build character, self-esteem and empathy toward others. These skills lead to personal growth and success far beyond the classroom. Bryant donated all of the proceeds from the sale of her debut album, Stone’s Throw Away, to her non-profit organization, and continues her mission to help those in need with her new album, Woman Enough, on the Sunrise Productions label. To find out more, go to www.lynnbryant.net.

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