Australia’s emerging country music artists are being encouraged to enter the nation’s biggest country music talent search, with entries for the iconic Toyota Star Maker now open for 2024.

Now in its 44th year, the highly regarded Toyota Star Maker is an opportunity for 10 aspiring country music artists to take their career to the next level, with only one being crowned the final winner.

Toyota Star Maker Manager, Cheryl Brown says the competition is a positive opportunity for all 10 artists to use as a springboard into the industry.

“Star Maker is a launch pad, designed for artists who’ve already begun their journey as a country music artist and who are ready for a long and successful career in the music business.

“If you’re passionate, determined and ready to make your mark in this industry, then I encourage you to get your entry in.”

As the nation’s longest running talent search, Star Maker has been a launch pad for some of Australia’s biggest country music stars, including Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan, Travis Collins, Beccy Cole, Lyn Bowtell, Kirsty Lee Akers, Samantha McClymont, Kaylee Bell, Blake O’Connor and Max Jackson.

In January 2023, after her second attempt at the competition, Tamworth artist, Loren Ryan became the 43rd Toyota Star Maker, and since her win, has been performing at music festivals across the country, while also working on her Toyota Star Maker winner’s EP.

“Toyota Star Maker is what musical dreams are made of,” said Loren.

“It propels you right into the centre of the country music industry and provides more opportunities than you could ever imagine.”

As part of a $100,000 prize package, the 2024 Toyota Star Maker winner will also have 12-months use of a brand new, fully-serviced Toyota motor vehicle, thanks to Toyota Australia.

Toyota Australia’s Chief Marketing Officer, Vin Naidoo said Toyota is proud to continue its support of the Toyota Star Maker competition as it enters its 44th year and encourages emerging country music artists across the country to enter.

“The competition is an amazing opportunity for talented country musicians new to the scene and provides a real boost for their careers, which is evident with the Star Maker alumni that have gone on to become successful country music stars following the competition,” he said.

“The fantastic prize package and competition experience will enable the winner to immerse themselves in the industry and provides them with enormous career opportunities in the future.”

Artists wishing to enter must submit two original tracks, plus a list of their achievements and describe why they are ready to be the next winner. The top ten finalists will be announced later this year and will be invited to perform at the 2024 Toyota Star Maker Grand Final in Toyota Park on January 21, 2024 at the 52nd Tamworth Country Music Festival.

“Star Maker has supported me as an artist and I cannot thank the team enough for the experience. I’m so excited to see what the rest of the year brings,” said Loren.

“I encourage any up and coming artist to give it a go. You never know what it might lead to.”

Star Maker winners continue to sit high on the charts and headline festivals throughout the country. A number of the more recent winners will be flying the Star Maker flag at the 50th CMA Fest in Nashville this June including Kaylee Bell, Kirsty Lee Akers, Max Jackson and the current winner Loren Ryan, while Blake O’Connor has relocated to Nashville, to share his talents.

The 2024 Toyota Star Maker prize package, valued at over $100,000, includes:
• Use of the title 2024 Toyota Star Maker;
• 12 month’s use of a brand new, fully-serviced Toyota motor vehicle;
• A fuel card for the length of reign;
• Return air flight for one, including 4-nights’ accommodation to Nashville for the CMA Festival in June 2024 courtesy of Chris Watson Travel; *all other costs are the responsibility of the winner;
• Two tickets to four nightly concerts at the CMA Fest Nashville from the Country Music Association of Nashville;
• Photographic portfolio;
• A Maton acoustic guitar;
• Fender guitar;
• Products from Jands Australia;
• A recording session with Australia’s top musicians and producer;
• Recording, distribution and promotion of a four-track EP;
• Production of two professional video clips by an award-winning director;
• 12 months media promotion in Australia’s only country music magazine Country Music Capital News;
• Full colour promotional material;
• Benefit from the organiser’s 40 years of industry knowledge through personal, one-on-one introductions to relevant contacts;
• Guidance and support;
• Media promotion including radio, print and television;
• Hair and make-up styling by Plush Hair Designs & Make-up of Tamworth for photographic portfolio;
• A minimum of three performances for Toyota as part of sponsorship
• Guaranteed paid performances at a designated list of festivals and events.