ON THE ROAD TO STARDOM: LUKE DICKENS DECLARED 32ND TOYOTA STAR MAKER
Bondi local Luke Dickens has stars in his eyes as he was tonight announced the winner of the 2011 Toyota Star Maker competition, Australia’s oldest and most successful music talent search.
Held at the Tamworth Entertainment and Conference Centre, Luke was declared 2011 Toyota Star Maker from a field of 20 finalists and six grand finalists.
All 20 finalists were joined by 2010 Toyota Star Maker winner Luke Austen, whose year as Toyota Star Maker has culminated in a remarkable four Golden Guitar nominations, including Male Artist of the Year, at the 39th CMAA Country Music Awards of Australia.
As the 2011 Toyota Star Maker, Luke said that he is excited by the prospects that lie ahead.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be awarded a prize that has started the careers of some of the biggest names in country music. It’s a huge opportunity and I intend to make the most of it,” he said.
“Seeing 2010 winner Luke Austen go from strength-to-strength, culminating in four Golden Guitar nominations, has been really inspiring and I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months have in store for me.”
A country kid with a love of the outback, Luke Dickens left school at 16 and plied his trade shearing sheep in Young for the next nine years - but his success on Australian Idol (2008) ended that chapter.
Luke toured with Country’s New Stars alongside Amber Lawrence, Luke Austen and Victoria Baillie. The year 2010 was a major one in Luke Dickens’ career. In July, he released his debut album, Underdog. He and his band kicked off the album tour performing for Aussie troops in Afghanistan. For Luke, the tour was a career highlight and one of his most humbling and unforgettable experiences.
General Manager for Rural Press Events, Barry Harley, said that the quality of performers continues to grow, in line with interest in the event.
“It’s difficult to believe that the event is heading into its 32nd year and still continually manages to take country music to new heights. Toyota Star Maker continues to set the benchmark in showcasing Australian country music’s best new talent,” he said.
“Last year’s winner, Luke Austen, has made fantastic use of this opportunity and I have no doubt that Luke Dickens will do the same,” Barry said.
Toyota’s Manager of Promotions and Event Management, Wayne Gabriel, said Toyota’s support of the competition stemmed from its commitment to supporting emerging country music talent and Rural Australia’s communities.
“Following in the footsteps of Australian country music royalty including Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan, Kylie Sackley, and Samantha McClymont (of The McClymonts), the success of previous Star Maker winners has no doubt provided motivation for many of our finalists today. The title, as well as the prize package, provides Luke with everything he needs to really kick start his career in 2011,” he said.
“The quality of the performances was excellent and all finalists have spent an incredible amount of time fine-tuning what they presented. Rural Press Events has done an amazing job of building on the calibre of the talent. The judges certainly had a tough job and I don’t envy them,” Wayne said.
The Toyota Star Maker 2011 prize package is bigger and better than ever and includes:
Use of the title Toyota Star Maker 2011 winner;
An album recording contract;
A big budget recording session with Australia’s top musicians and producers;
12 months use of a brand new, fully-serviced Toyota motor vehicle;
A fuel card for the 12 months after winning Toyota Star Maker;
50 copies of the album for personal distribution;
Distribution and promotion of at least two tracks to radio and other media;
Production of a professional video clip of one of the tracks by and award-winning director;
A Maton acoustic guitar;
Media promotion including monthly exposure in Australia’s monthly country music magazine Country Music Capital News, media exposure in the Directory of Australian Country Music;
Photographic portfolio with Image Design Photography;
An album launch at the National Music Muster at Gympie Queensland;
Guaranteed performance bookings at a designated list of events including the Tamworth Country Music Festival, National Music Muster at Gympie, The Urban CM Festival at Caboolture, Mud Bull and Music plus a special showcase performance at the Toyota Star Maker Grand Final in 2012; and
Return air tickets to Nashville for the CMA Festival in June 2011 courtesy of Travelworld Tamworth.
This year’s Toyota Star Maker is brought to you by the 60 Years of LandCruiser. 60 Years of LandCruiser is a celebration of the loyal relationship between rural Australia and the Toyota LandCruiser.
For further media information on Toyota’s support of the Tamworth Country Music Festival, please visit http://www.toyotacountryclub.com.au
Audio packages from the 2011 Toyota Star Maker Grand Final available for download from: http://www.countrymusicradio.com.au
Anna Reynolds Megan Kirkcaldie
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