Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University student Taylor Moss has been announced as a finalist in Australia’s largest and most prestigious country music competition.
The 19-year-old, who is set to graduate with a Bachelor of Popular Music (BPM) next year, will compete for the 2015 Toyota Star Maker award at the iconic Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.
The award is now in its 36th year and is the same one that helped launch the careers of some of the industry’s biggest names including Lee Kernaghan, Keith Urban, James Blundell and Becky Cole.
Taylor says the announcement is “truly a dream come true”.
“Just to be a part of the top 10 is such an accomplishment and I will not let this opportunity slip through my fingers!”
“I hope to make a bunch of new friends and experience even more of the Australian country music scene.
“Meeting the other contestants, it’s so clear we all have the same passions and dreams, so why not communicate together and be a team.
“I can’t wait to hear the amazing music from each of the contestants.”
Success close to home
It’s no surprise she sees the clear potential of such an accolade, as this kind of success is not too far from home.
The Toyota Star Maker is the very same award that Taylor’s friend and fellow BPM student Jared Porter won earlier this year, seeing him nab a recording contract, a trip to Nashville and a mentorship with Lee Kernaghan.
“Jared is such a hard worker and also an amazing musician to go with it,” Taylor says.
“I truly look up to him and everything he has done with Toyota Star Maker – it’s made me strive to do the very same thing.”
Taylor herself is certainly no stranger to the Australian country music scene, having released her first EP at just 16. The same year she also won first place in the Urban Country Music Festival Talent Search.
Her 2014 single ‘Centre Stage’ hit the charts at number eight on 98.9FM within the first week of release, she performed at The Gympie Muster and toured as the support act for The Black Sorrows and Mental as Anything, before heading to Nashville to immerse herself in the home of country music.
Taylor joined four other BPM students on her latest visit to Nashville in November, after winning a scholarship through the course, which allowed her to also attend the TAXI Independent A&R Road Rally Convention in California.
During the year, Taylor performed live regularly as one of the key artists for the Seed Project – a weekly mini-festival at QPAC, South Bank, to showcase the best emerging talent from the BPM at the Queensland Conservatorium.
Unearthing emerging talent
On speaking of the finalists, Toyota Star Maker Co-Ordinator and Editor of Country Music Capital News, Cheryl Byrnes said the competition continues to unearth some of the most exciting new country music talent.
“Every year we skim the very top of the talent pool and bring them on this journey. There’s no doubt the judges find it tough but it’s a sign of just how healthy the industry is and overall, that excites us,” she said.
Regardless of her success in the Toyota Star Maker final, Taylor says her goals for 2015 are to “perform and write as much as I can”.
“I also want to create stronger links and friendships with my incredible fans and maintain contact with everyone I meet in the industry.”
Taylor will compete with the nine other finalists at the 36th Toyota Star Maker final, which has been the main event on the first Sunday (18 January) at the iconic Tamworth Country Music Festival since 1979. Three grand finalists will be selected to compete in the grand final on Friday 23 January as part of the Toyota Concert For Rural Australia.
2015 Toyota Star Maker finalists:
- Dana Hassall, Kingsthorpe Queensland
- Gretta Ziller, Oakleigh Victoria
- Jess Holland, Mudgee NSW
- Mickey Pye, Bathurst NSW
- Rachel Fahim, Cherrybrook NSW
- Sian Evans, West End Queensland
- Taylor Moss, Cooroibah Queensland
- Tommy Contor, Gilleston Heights NSW
- Tyler Hudson, Echuca Victoria
- Jonny Taylor WA
Watch Taylor’s story here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Marino, 0418 799 544, [email protected]