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On the road with Gwen Sebastian

Gwen Sebastian's musical career has skyrocketed since her appearance on NBC hit, "The Voice" last season.

A country music artist, Sebastian and her band returned to her home town of Hebron for a benefit performance on Thursday. She plays another concert at 7 p.m. today during the Bowman County Fair.

"Hebron is one of my favorite places to play," Sebastian said while visiting her parents, Gerald and Debbie Sebastian. "It's nice to see familiar faces out there, and to spend time with my family. My parents occasionally sing with me and I love that too."

Sebastian grew up in a musical family and occasionally performed with her parents when they played with the band, Midnight Ride.

"I love country music and I always knew as a kid that's what I wanted to do," she said.

She enrolled in nursing school right after high school graduation, but quickly decided to pursue country music and songwriting in Nashville.

"It was intimidating right away, mainly because everybody is so good," she said. "Secondly, I needed to have a job and pay the rent so it took me a while to get back into music."

She's been on the road with her band for the past nine years. The band includes Louis Newman, drums; Jason Hoffman, bass, Paul Brittain, guitar and Glen Michel, guitar.

"'The Voice' is the best thing that ever happened to my career," she said. "I wanted to share my music with more people and 'The Voice' gave me that opportunity."

Sebastian was selected as a member of Blake Shelton's TeamBlake, but was eliminated during the competition.

However, Shelton selected Sebastian to sing backup with his band while they toured around the country.

"I've been doing that ever since and will still go on the road with Blake and with my own shows," she said.

Sebastian travels at least three-fourths of the year and admits there are sacrifices.

"It's different from a normal job, but all worth it being on the road with Blake," she said. "He's so personable and down to earth. His wife, Miranda Lambert, helps me in many ways and is singing on my latest album."

Sebastian recently released her new single "Suitcase" from her self-titled album. She co-wrote the single with songwriter, Nicole Witt. She wanted to release a song that had an up-tempo feel, but also had a story behind it. Her album was released June 25 and is distributed by Warner Music Nashville. She has entertained at the Grand Ole Opry. She also was recently featured in the People magazine's country edition and interviewed by a country cable channel regarding her new single.

If a successful career isn't enough to make her happy, Sebastian recently became engaged to Louis Newman. They are planning a wedding in the near future.

"I don't consider my career a job because I love what I do," she said. "It's like a dream come true, but to have a dream, there is a lot of hard work and sacrifices along the way. Nobody is an overnight success. There's a lot of stuff behind the scenes that must come together."