It is with great disappointment that organisers, of the annual Toyota Star Maker Competition, have been forced to make the decision to cancel the event, which was to be held in January 2021.
Like so many other events in the country music calendar, COVID-19 has claimed another victim with organisers regretfully announcing there will be no Toyota Star Maker in 2021.
Toyota, the event sponsor for 25 years, has generously offered to extend its support of a car and fuel card to the current winner Sammy White taking her through to the 50th Toyota Country Music Festival – Tamworth in 2022.
Toyota Australia Vice President Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley said it had been an incredibly tough year for those in the music industry and Toyota was keen to continue to support them.
“Sammy was a well deserving winner of the 2020 Star Maker but due to COVID-19, she hasn’t been able to travel or perform to further develop her career for most of the year,” Mr Hanley said.
“So Toyota is proud to extend her prize of the use of a RAV4 for another 12 months to give her the opportunity to get out and perform and showcase her talent to a broad audience as restrictions ease.
“For 25 years, the prize package for Toyota Star Maker, worth more than $100,000, has been instrumental in developing and enabling up and coming country musicians the chance to really grow their careers.
“Many of Australia’s country stars including Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan, Gina Jeffreys and Sam McClymont benefited greatly as Toyota Star Maker winners and we want to ensure Sammy has the same opportunity,” he said.
Like all those affected in the music industry, Sammy’s festival and touring calendar of events, was wiped out in March this year.
No-one could have predicted a year like 2020 as it’s certainly been a challenging one.
Throughout this year, Sammy has had an incredibly positive outlook and has continued working on her music, song writing, and organising and hosting a weekly Star Maker Sessions Live to Facebook over a nine-week period.
Sammy released her single Lay It On Me in May and recently kick-started live performances as a guest artist touring with Brad Cox, the 2018 Toyota Star Maker.
Her brand-new single Home (Feels Like You) was released on October 2 and her Star Maker album Undone will be released on November 13.
The silver lining in all this is that by carrying the winner’s year over into 2021, it will allow all the elements of the prize to be fulfilled and delivered.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to forego a complete year but it was clearly beneficial as the winner had missed out on everything and we see it only fair that she is in the spotlight,” said Star Maker producer Barry Harley.
“I’m looking forward to all the opportunities that are yet to come including festival performances at Gympie, Deni, Ballina, Mildura, a trip to Nashville with Chris Watson Travel and also with Cruisin’ Country,” said Sammy White.
“We’ve had to be flexible this year to manage what should have been a turning point in the winner’s year,” said Star Maker manager Cheryl Brown.
“Sammy’s attitude has been so positive during this unpredictable time and we truly hope that when her album is finally released and she is on festival programs, people will go to her concerts, embrace her talent, buy her music and become a fan.”
Organisers apologise to all those emerging artists who may have looked upon 2021 to take the leap by entering Toyota Star Maker in the hope of starting their dream year.
We will come back, bigger and brighter as we help to celebrate the 50th Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2022.
It’s the second time that Star Maker has missed a year. From 1979, Star Maker was held in October and in 1983 it was held over until 1984 to be a highlight of the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival.