Wade Forster Named 2024 Toyota Star Maker Winner

22 January 2024 | 8:50 am | Mary Varvaris

Wade Forster stole the hearts of audience members and judges alike after performing his two songs, 'Second Chance' and 'Rodeo Romeo'.

Wade Forster

Wade Forster (Source: Supplied)

25-year-old Winton, Queensland-based singer Wade Forster has won the 2024 Toyota Star Maker competition.

Forster stole the hearts of audience members and judges alike after performing his two songs, Second Chance and Rodeo Romeo. His fellow competitors, including Jay Santilli and Piper Rodrigues, all performed two songs for the competition hosted by the 2022 winner, Max Jackson, as part of the 52nd Toyota Tamworth Country Music Festival.

In 2017, Forster left his hometown to pursue a career in refrigeration in Mount Isa. He bought his first guitar for just $50 and has since gigged around Western Queensland, performing at Winton’s Way-Out West festival and the 2023 Savannah in The Round festival.

Star Maker Coordinator and judge Cheryl Brown said about Forster’s win, “Over the past couple of months, we’ve had the opportunity to watch each of the incredible finalists on their journey to the grand final, but after careful consideration, we felt Wade was most ready to take the next step.”

Brown continued, “Each year, the Toyota Star Maker competition provides a platform for emerging Australian country music artists, no matter the outcome of the grand final. While there can only be one winner, the nine grand finalists should be proud of their performances tonight and their growth throughout the competition.

“We look forward to seeing what’s in store for the remaining finalists and wish them all the best for the future.”

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Toyota Star Maker Producer Barry Harley added, “Congratulations to each of our 2024 grand finalists, and of course, a very special congratulations to Wade, who joins our incredible lineup of Toyota Star Maker winners.”

Previous winners Max Jackson, Loren Ryan and Travis Collins were also at the event, with Jackson hosting and Ryan and Collins performing a selection of tracks.

Brown said, “It was so special to have three previous Toyota Star Maker winners, who are also 2024 Golden Guitar nominees, take the stage for tonight’s grand final. The talent that we’ve seen come through Star Maker across its 44 years is a testament to its success.”

Regarding Forster’s win and the “comprehensive prize pack”, Toyota Australia Senior Manager of Marketing Integration Tim Stuckey added, “On behalf of Toyota Australia, I would like to congratulate Wade on becoming the 2024 Toyota Star Maker.”

“Wade was up against some fierce competition in this year’s Grand Final but ultimately was a well-deserved winner this evening. We hope the comprehensive prize pack Wade takes home will help accelerate his music career this year, and we wish him all the best for the future.”

As part of the said prize, Forster has won 12 month’s use of a brand new, fully-serviced Toyota motor vehicle, a return flight and accommodation to Nashville for the CMA Festival in June 2024, a performance opportunity and two tickets to four nightly concerts at the CMA Fest Nashville, a $5,000 WIN television media package, a new $3,699 Maton acoustic guitar, a $1899 Fender electric guitar, microphone and other recording equipment, CMT music video placement, a year of representation with the Wheelhouse Agency, 12 months of media promotion in Australia’s country music magazine, Country Music Capital News, and the Official Guide (valued at $12,000), and even more.

WIN Television Tamworth’s Station and Sales Manager Damian Sheridan said, “WIN Television would like to add to the already incredible prize package for the 2024 Star Maker winner with a television advertising campaign valued at $5,000.

“We hope this will further assist the winner to promote themselves and their music and launch their country music career.”

As well as Forster, the 2024 Star Maker top-ten finalists were Felicity Dowd, Jake Whittaker, Jemma Beech, Jay Santilli, Nathan Lamont, Dakota East, Ethan Calway, Piper Rodrigues and Jimbo Stokes.