Twenty-two-year-old singer-songwriter Sammy White from Townsville in Queensland has become the 41st Toyota Star Maker winner after performing an exciting rendition of her 2019 debut hit single Drowning my Sorrows in the Grand Final held at the Toyota Country Music Festival in Tamworth.
Sammy joins an illustrious list of country music stars including Keith Urban, Gina Jeffreys, Sam McClymont, James Blundell and Lee Kernaghan who all got their big break after winning the Toyota Star Maker competition.
Sammy won over the judges ahead of the nine other predominantly female finalists: Chloe Styler (QLD), Clancy Pye (NSW), El Cosgrove (QLD), Hannah May (NZ), Jarred Taylor (NSW), Juliet Oliver (SA), Leigha Moore (QLD), Taylor Pfeiffer (SA), and Zoey Mills (QLD).
In winning the 2020 Star Maker, Sammy took home a prize package worth more than $100,000 including the use of a Toyota vehicle for a year, recording of a four-track EP and a trip to Nashville in the US to attend the CMA (Country Music Association) Fest.
Far more than a talent quest, the Toyota Star Maker is designed to give talented musicians a significant boost in their careers with the prize also including performances at other music festivals and events throughout the year, production of two music videos and a recording session with some of Australia’s best musicians and a producer.
Toyota Australia Vice President Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley presented the award and said: “Each year, the Toyota Star Maker competition helps unearth some amazing new artists, showcasing the huge amount of talent we have coming up in Australian country music.
“On behalf of Toyota Australia, I would like to congratulate Sammy on taking out the 2020 Toyota Star Maker title.
“She joins the ranks of past winners which include Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan and Sam McClymont. It’s a well-deserved and significant achievement, and we are so pleased to have been able to be part of what will no doubt be a huge career in music,” he said.
Sammy drew rapturous applause from the crowd of country music fans and, along with the other finalists, entertained the audience in true country style as each performed two songs to compete for the title of Toyota Star Maker.
Toyota Star Maker producer Barry Harley said: “Congratulations to Sammy White on winning the 2020 Star Maker 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 the 2020 Toyota Star Maker,” he said.
Growing up in Townsville with Johnny Cash, Charley Pride and Willie Nelson on high rotation in the family home, Sammy had country music ingrained so it’s no surprise that her debut single Drowning my Sorrows, shot straight to #5 on the iTunes Country Charts within 24 hours of its release.
Since then Sammy has toured extensively, also fitting in a trip to Nashville for a week-long songwriting trip, a place she will relish returning to as the winner of the Toyota Star Maker.
Sammy was chosen as the 2020 Star Maker by a judging panel of industry professionals including CMAA Chairman and artist manager Dan Biddle, Program director of KiX Country Radio Network Justin Thomson, Manager of the Pub Group Craig Power, founder of HSF Artist Services Tom Inglis, artist manager Greg Shaw, and journalist and presenter on the ABC’s Saturday Night Country program Scott Lamond.
Source: Toyota Australia