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A Sydney teen has won Australian Idol’s country music counterpart, the Toyota Star Maker award, a centre-piece of the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Nineteen-year-old singer-songwriter Travis Collins from Glenfield in South West Sydney decided he would enter Australia’s premier country music talent search three years ago.

He had been dreaming of a country music career since age 12.

“At 16 I decided I was going to have a shot - but I didn’t want to dive in too soon, I wasn’t quite ready,” Travis said.

“I wanted to wait until I knew what I would do if I won. Now I know.”

Toyota Star Maker executive producer Barry Harley said Travis won because he stood out as the singer with the greatest potential to take advantage of the opportunities offered in the Star Maker prize package.

“He has demonstrated that he is ready for what there is to come,~ Mr Harley said.

Ten finalists performed to a full house in the Toyota Star Maker Grand Final recently at the Toyota Country Theatre after another 10 had bowed out in the Star Maker Final.

“Just being in the top ten and getting to perform in the Toyota Country Theatre was fantastic, let alone winning,” Travis said.

“The Toyota Country Theatre is an excellent venue - it’s amazing to see what Toyota has done with it.”

By winning the Toyota Star Maker contest Travis Collins has joined a country music tradition that has launched the careers of stars such as Lee Kernaghan, James Blundell, Gina Jeffreys and Keith Urban.

Collins has won a prize package that includes the recording and release of two songs on the ABC Country label and the production of a video clip, along with promotion and publicity, and the use of a new Toyota Corolla for 12 months.

The Toyota Country Theatre at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre is now being prepared for Tamworth’s premier event, the Toyota Golden Guitar Awards.

After a few gigs at Tamworth with his band “Whiskeytrain”, Travis Collins was preparing to sit back and enjoy the Toyota Golden Guitars finals on Saturday night (January 24).

“This year I’m going to watch it - and next year I’m going to be in it,” he said.

For further information please contact Alan Skeed, ph. 0417 248 897.


Winner of Toyota Star Maker 2004, Travis Collins.