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Who will be the 40th Toyota Star Maker Winner?

22 November 2018

Today we announce 10 of Australia’s top emerging country artists as grand finalists in the 40th Toyota Star Maker – Australia’s most significant and longest-running search for a new country music star.

Toyota Star Maker has been a crucial launching pad for some of Australia’s biggest country music stars including Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan, James Blundell, Travis Collins, Gina Jeffreys, Beccy Cole, Sam McClymont (The McClymonts), Darren Coggan, Lyn Bowtell, Kirsty Lee Akers, and Kaylee Bell. 

In 2019, the competition will reach an extraordinary milestone – 40 years of influencing the Australian country music industry.

The 10 grand finalists will compete for the honour of becoming the 40th Toyota Star Maker at a free musical event at Toyota Park, in the leafy heart of Tamworth, Australia’s Country Music Capital.

Toyota Star Maker will be held on Sunday, January 20 and continues the tradition as the main event of the first weekend of the 47th Toyota Country Music Festival in Tamworth. 

All 10 finalists will be judged on the night, with one winner emerging.

The winner will receive a prize package which includes the use of a new Toyota vehicle and a fuel card for 12 months, plus guaranteed performances at major festivals and events throughout Australia. A full prize list can be found at

Toyota has a long and proud history of supporting country music in Australia, including 24 years of sponsoring the emerging artists of Star Maker and 27 years of the overall country music festival in Tamworth.

The 2019 Toyota Star Maker finalists, chosen from across the country, are: 

1.    Arna Georgia, Sans Souci NSW
2.    Blake O’Connor, Port Macquarie NSW
3.    Chelsea Berman, Terrigal NSW
4.    Jake Sinclair, Springhurst Vic
5.    Juliet Oliver, McLaren Vale SA
6.    Leigha Moore, Sippy Downs Qld
7.    Linc Phelps, Gympie Qld
8.    Lizzie Steadman, Kootingal NSW
9.    Matt James, Mt Gambier SA
10.  Stephanie Penrose, Moore Creek NSW

Click here here for more information on finalists

Toyota Star Maker producer Barry Harley said: “Many of the benefits of being part of the Star Maker family are intangible – but absolutely priceless. The networking among the past alumni and the current crop of Toyota Star Makers is extraordinary. You can’t put a price on that.” 

This year’s winner Brad Cox, from Jindabyne, has had a stellar year taking advantage of every opportunity presented to him. He was ready to run, and work hard he did. Added to that was the fact he had an album filled with great songs, three of which were released during his Toyota Star Maker year and he has received two nominations in new talent and contemporary album of the year in the 2019 Toyota Golden Guitars.

Toyota Australia chief marketing officer Wayne Gabriel said he was delighted to continue Toyota’s support of the event.

“We want to inspire people to start their impossible, and Toyota Star Maker is the perfect platform for young artists to launch their career. Last year’s winner Brad Cox, as well as previous winners such as Lee Kernaghan and Sam McClymont are perfect examples of that.”

“We wish all the finalists the best of luck, and we look forward to seeing them progress in the future.” 

On Wednesday, January 23, 2019 Toyota Star Maker will present its spectacular journey in concert with 28 former winners. It will be hosted by Nick Erby. Tickets are on sale now through Entertainment Venues by phoning 02 6766 2028 or online at

Toyota Star Maker will be held in Toyota Park at 7pm on Sunday, January 20, 2019. The event is FREE and one winner will be decided on the night from the top 10 finalists.
Darren Coggan returns as the esteemed compere and there will also be a performance by outgoing Toyota Star Maker Brad Cox.

Tamworth Regional Council acknowledges the Gamilaroi/Kamilaroi people, who are the Traditional Custodians of this land. We would like to pay respect to Elders past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in and visiting our region.