Star is born


THERE are plenty of sought-after cars in the world, but one of the most wanted at the Tamworth Country Music Festival was the Toyota Star Maker mobile.

And when Grafton performer Samantha McClymont started going in talent quests around 12 years ago, she never thought it would lead to her winning the car and one of the biggest country music talent quests in Australia.

On Monday night Samantha did just that at the Toyota Star Maker Awards in Tamworth, through a stunning three-song performance of two originals and one song written by her sister Brooke.

Samantha said Star Maker's reputation was intimidating, however, she managed to compose herself to a few flutters before going on stage to sing to a packed auditorium.

"I didn't hear anyone else (perform) because we were all out the back so that was good because it was a more relaxed atmosphere and you weren't hearing what other people were doing so it was more just like a gig for me ? getting out there and having fun," she said.

Samantha said it was amazing to win the prize and she looked forward to getting her name and talent further recognised.

"Because this is the biggest quest while Tamworth is on a lot of people here know about it and know who's won so they do know me," she said.

"But the best part is the media exposure and finally getting my name out there to the public ... and the car of course."

The next 12 months will be busy for the newest star of country music, as Samantha heads to Sydney to study communication as well as travelling to country music festivals around the nation.

"I'll do both (studying and performing) because uni is a lot less hours now and you can do a lot of it on-line as well. I juggled singing, travelling and school so I'm sure I can do this," she said.

Samantha also will record two singles, a film clip and get media coverage of her performances during the next 12 months before she hands back the keys to her car.

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