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92.9fm Regional News

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Photo by Chris Kaloustian

The next country music star could be just on the horizon, as the top 10 Finalists for the Toyota Star Maker competition have been announced.

The 42nd annual event will see rising country music stars battle it out next January during the 50th Anniversary Tamworth Country Music Festival.

After being postponed this year due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the return of this event will be a highlight of the festival and is taking place during the opening weekend.

For some of the artists, this is a huge chance for them to get their message out there.

Loren Ryan, who is a Tamworth resident and proud Gamilaraay first nations Australian, said she wants to use this chance to spread her message through music.

“I like to use my voice and my platform to raise awareness to revive a lost language of mine … I’m a Gamilaraay girl so I sing quite a lot in my traditional language” she said.

Ryan is known for combining her love of music and language, and said she is very excited for the Country Music Festival as a whole.

“For me country music is better than Christmas” she remarked.

Ryan is among a handful of local finalists, with Armidale’s own Charlie Fittler also vying for the win.

Charlie is just 18 years old but has already been making waves in the country music scene.

“…got a guitar when I was real young and started belting out … played a few open mics back home and came down to Tamworth and that’s where it all started”.

Charlie says that he says he hopes to travel the country and that he has a few tours in the near future to be excited for.

The artists will be performing two of their songs on stage at the Grand Final in front of an acclaimed panel of judges, including Country Music Association of Australia chairman Dan Biddle and long-time manager of Troy Cassar-Daley, Roxanne Brown.

The full list of finalists has talent from across the country and is sure to make for an exciting Grand Final. They are:

1. Billie-Jo Porter, Age 38, Coffs Harbour NSW

2. Brittany Elise, Age 27, Boyne Island QLD

3. Charlie Fittler, Age 18, Armidale NSW

4. Clancy Pye, Age 29, Orange NSW

5. Heath Lancaster, Age 20, Kempsey NSW

6. Jade Gibson, Age 23, Wangaratta VIC

7. Jake Davey, Age 25, Taree NSW

8. Katie Jayne, Age 33, Scone NSW

9. Loren Ryan, Age 27, Tamworth NSW

10. Max Jackson, Age 29, Carrington NSW

Written by Chris Kaloustian


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