A Townsville country music singer has won the prestigious Star Maker award at this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Sammy White last night was named the winner of the competition, known for helping the careers of music artists such as Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan, James Blundell and Beccy Cole.
She said she's still in "utter shock" following the announcement.
"It still hasn't sunk in," she said.
"I've been told by friends who've won it before to give it four or five days until it feels real."
White, 22, who grew up on a nine hectare hobby farm at Deeragun, has loved country music from a young age.
"When I was younger, about nine years old, I saw an ad in the newspaper for the Charters Towers Country Music Festival and I decided I wanted to do that," she said.
"I've gone to the festival in Charters Towers almost every year, the only time I didn't go was in about 2009.
"For me when I was growing up I was a weird, shy kid and when it came to talking to people and telling them about my feelings I didn't do well, so I turned to writing out my feelings in songs and that's what I still get out of songwriting."
After launching her debut single Drowning My Sorrows in May last year, she's had a whirlwind year of touring, appearances at festivals and rodeos and even a songwriting trip to Nashville.
White, who also works as a private vocal and guitar coach, recently relocated to Newcastle, NSW, to tak advantage of its music scene while working to take her career to the next level.
"There's a small music scene in Townsville but just in terms of opportunities, Newcastle was a better place for me to be right now," she said.
"Just being able to catch a gig on a Wednesday night is great."
Toyota Star Maker producer Barry Harley congratulated White on winning the title.
"Sammy is in good company with other female artists who have taken out the Star Maker crown and who are now leading the way in Australian country music including Beccy Cole, Gina Jeffreys, Lyn Bowtell and Kaylee Bell, and we look forward to watching her journey as 2020 Toyota Star Maker," he said.
White's prize package includes the use of a new Toyota vehicle and a fuel card for 12 months, a return trip to Nashville for CMA Fest and performance in the Aussie showcase. She will also perform at major festivals and events throughout Australia, and will also join the artists' line-up on Cruisin' Country in October.
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