STAR IN THE MAKING: Local musician Mickey Pye won the 2015 Star Maker competition at the Tamworth Country Music festival. Photo: Casey Bayliss StarmakerLocal country music performer Mickey Pye has won the prestigious Toyota Star Maker competition in Tamworth.
Mickey has now joined the ranks of Australian country music stars like Keith Urban, Beccy Cole and Lee Kernaghan, who were all previous winners.
He said he has been working towards this win ever since an unsuccessful bid in 2010.
Mickey said instead of coming back every year to try his luck, he went away and started working hard to prove he was in it for the long haul.
In the meantime, the 26-year-old started his own business, the Bathurst Academy of Music, tosupport a long-term career in music.
“I am so ready for this. I’ve had five years to prepare for it,” he said yesterday.
It is the second time in three years a musician living in Bathurst has taken out the award. Kaylee Bell won it in 2013. Last year’s winner Jared Porter lived for a time in Orange.
The Star Maker final was held on Friday and Mickey performed two of his original songs, Back Road and Hillbilly Girl.
He said Hillbilly Girl has atwo-minute guitar solo, and believes it was this that set him apart.
“It has real fast chicken picks in it,” he said.
“It’s 11 years since the judges have heard that kind of playing.”
Mickey said he believes only Keith Urban and Travis Collins have shown that kind of mix of vocals and guitar skill in the competition.
He said he was so happy hisfamily were able to be there for his Star Maker performances.
His sister Clancy was named Aristocrat Entertainer of the Yearearlier in the week.
“Clancy and I have been coming up here for years – since we were old enough to drive,” he said.
“It has been so hard for us. We have both played for so many other musicians.
“Sometimes it feels like we have been helping other people’s careers over our own.
“It is such a great feeling to flip that around.
“It’s really nice that we got our chance in the end.”
Mickey grew up in Oberon and has been living and working in Bathurst. He wants to thank both communities for their incredible support.
He believes that working the pub scene here has made him and Clancy into seasoned performers.
“We have played in pubs almost every Friday and Saturday night since we were 18 years old,” he said.
“Getting people to listen and then holding their attention has really toughened us up.”
For his efforts, Mickey has won the use of a fully-serviced Toyota and fuel for 12 months, an acoustic guitar and a trip to the country musiccapital of Nashville. He also gets to record an album, something he is very excited about.
“I think not having an album has held me back over the years,” he said.
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