AAP Entertainment

Sammy crowned as Tamworth’s Star Maker

By AAP Newswire

Sammy White has had to quickly get used to a very different lifestyle.

The 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Townsville, who grew up listening to Johnny Cash and Charley Pride, played her first ever gig way back in 2009.

She sung 'Pony' by her idol, Kasey Chambers, at a festival in Charters Towers on an unplugged nylon string guitar - just to get used to the feeling.

But White's world turned upside after she won the 41st Star Maker competition at Tamworth's Country Music Festival on Monday.

Previous winners include country music legends Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan and Gina Jeffreys.

And White said it's been her lifelong dream to follow in their footsteps by becoming a touring musician.

"Singing and performing is the only thing I'm half-okay at," she told AAP on Thursday.

"If I can make a full-time career out of this I'd be a very happy girl."

Winning the Star Maker quest saw White take home a prize package worth more than $100,000, including the recording of a four-track EP and a trip to Nashville in the US to attend a country music festival.

It's been an immediate game-changer, she said, with people now turning out in impressive numbers to watch her perform original songs.

And the media has come knocking on her door - White was up at 4.30am on Thursday to speak with a morning news show before squeezing in four shows.

"It's been pretty full on - very different from what I'm used to," she said.

"I think I'm just running on adrenaline, but that's Tamworth. I don't know what's in the air ... whenever you're here you get some kind of energy."

White, a veteran of "five or six" Tamworth festivals, said her favourite thing about the iconic event was getting the chance to see all her favourite musicians and close friends in the one spot.

"It's so important having a festival like this for communities," she said.

"But especially after everything we've gone through with droughts and fires, especially here in NSW, being able to give people a break and that outlet...I hope it all helps."