Wanna Be A Country Music Star? Entries Open For Toyota Star Maker 2024

9 May 2023 | 2:26 pm | Ellie Robinson

The biggest competition in Australian country music is returning for its 44th edition.

(Image: Supplied)

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Few talent quests have the kind of gravitational pull as the Toyota Star Maker. The annual event has made icons out of budding songsters like Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan, Beccy Cole, Travis Collins, Kaylee Bell and Blake O’Connor – and next year, it’ll return for its monumental 44th edition!

The legendary competition seeks to platform ten up-and-coming artists in Australian country music. It’ll provide opportunities for all finalists to elevate their career, but of course, one lucky winner among them will be crowned the ultimate Star Maker, with a $100,000 prize package (including 12 months’ use of a brand new, fully serviced Toyota vehicle) to boot.

To enter the Toyota Star Maker contest, budding artists (over the age of 18) will need to submit two original tracks, a list of the goals they’ve kicked in their careers thus far, and a detailed summary of exactly why they’re ready to be the next big star in the Australian country scene. Entries close on Friday September 1, and can be submitted here

Finalists will be announced later in the year, with all being invited to perform at the 2024 Toyota Star Maker Grand Final; that will take place on January 21, 2024 at Toyota Park in Tamworth, being held as part of the 52nd annual Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Announcing next year’s event, Cheryl Brown (manager of the Toyota Star Maker) called the lucrative competition a “launching pad, designed for artists who’ve already begun their journey as a country music artist and who are ready for a long and successful career in the music business”.

She added: “If you’re passionate, determined and ready to make your mark in this industry, then I encourage you to get your entry in.”

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This year’s Toyota Star Maker winner was local Tamworth artist Loren Ryan, who is currently working on an EP funded by her win. It was her second attempt at the competition, and in a statement shared alongside the announcement of next year’s, she said it’s “what musical dreams are made of”.

Ryan expounded on the sentiment: “It propels you right into the centre of the country music industry and provides more opportunities than you could ever imagine… Star Maker has supported me as an artist and I cannot thank the team enough for the experience. I’m so excited to see what the rest of the year brings. I encourage any up and coming artist to give it a go. You never know what it might lead to.”

In addition to the yearlong rental of a new Toyota (with a fuel card for the length of reign included, of course) and the funding for recording, distribution and promotion of a four-track EP, the grand prize package sports a trip to Nashville for the CMA Festival in June 2024, guitars from both Maton and Fender – plus other gear from Jands Australia – a professional photoshoot, a recording session with some of Australia’s top musicians and studio talent, and the full production of two professional video clips by an award-winning director.

A full breakdown of the Toyota Star Maker’s grand prize can be seen here.