Who will be the 2018 Toyota Star Maker?

The CMAA and the CMAA Academy of Country Music congratulate the Toyota Star Maker finalists for 2018. With eight of the ten finalists being past graduates of the Academy of Country Music, the CMAA is delighted to show our support for Australia' top emerging country artists at the 39th Toyota Star Maker.

All finalist will vie for the honour of becoming the 39th Toyota Star Maker in a winner-takes-all, free musical event at Toyota Park, in the leafy heart of Tamworth, Australia’s Country Music Capital.

Toyota Star Maker continues the tradition as the main event of the first weekend of the 46th Toyota Country Music Festival in Tamworth, and will be held on Sunday, January 21. For the second time in its long history, and thanks to the support of Toyota, this event will be free to the public, with all 10 finalists being judged on the night, and one winner emerging.

The winner will receive a prize package which includes the use of a new Toyota motor vehicle and an unlimited fuel card for 12 months, plus guaranteed performances at major festivals and events throughout Australia.

Toyota has a long and proud history of supporting country music in Australia, including 23 years of sponsoring the emerging artists of Star Maker and 26 years of the overall country music festival in Tamworth.

Among the exclusive Star Maker alumni are Lee Kernaghan, Keith Urban, Beccy Cole, James Blundell, Darren Coggan, Travis Collins, Kylie Sackley, Samantha McClymont, Kirsty Lee Akers, Kaylee Bell and many more.

The 2018 Toyota Star Maker finalists, chosen from across the country, are:

1 Brad Cox, Jindabyne, NSW, Snowy Mountains

2 Cassidy Rae Gaiter, Flagstaff Hill, SA

3 Emily Joy, Sorrento, WA

4 Hayley Wilson, Aspley, Qld

5 Heath Milner, Mackay, Qld

6 Jake Sinclair Springhurst, Vic

7 Tammy Moxon, Hermit Park, Qld

8 Tanya Cornish, Tintinara, SA

9 Taylor Pfeiffer, Walkerville, SA

10 Chloe Styler, Gold Coast, Qld

Toyota Star Maker co-ordinator Cheryl Byrnes said it was always a joy seeing who applied for Toyota Star Maker each year.

“Within the industry, the quest is a highly-respected vehicle and there are any number of aspiring artists wanting to emulate the feats of previous winners such as Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan and Beccy Cole,” Cheryl said.

“It’s the ideal platform for artists to showcase what they have. It’s the perfect jumpstart to any career, with the $100,000 prize package that goes along with the prestige of the title.”

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

Toyota Australia’s Corporate Manager Marketing Integration Andrew Wearing said he was delighted to continue Toyota’s support of Star Maker.

“It’s a wonderful thing that Star Maker continues to be accessible to a worldwide audience through live-streaming in the park. Toyota is delighted to be able to present the event absolutely free to the public,” Mr Wearing said.

“This company is very proud of its long association with such a prestigious quest and we offer our hearty congratulations to the 2018 finalists.

“It is a pleasure to play a role in launching another new career onto the Australian country music scene. We wish all the finalists the very best of luck.

“Toyota has a long legacy supporting rural and regional Australia. Toyota Star Maker is yet another way we continue to show our commitment to the bush.”

CMAA Academy of Country Music


Toyota Star Maker will be held in Toyota Park at 7pm on Sunday, 21 January 2018. 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 Rachael Fahim and Darren Coggan.


*1979 Grand Junction *1980 Tommy Miller *1981 Leanne Douglas *1982 Lee Kernaghan *1983 The Vic Lanyon Band *1985 Great Divide *1986 Jane Maddick *1987 James Blundell *1988 Jenine Vaughan *1989 Craig Robertson *1990 Keith Urban *1991 Gina Jeffreys *1992 Warren Derwent *1993 Beccy Cole *1994 Clint Beattie *1995 Tanya Self *1996 Darren Coggan *1997 Lyn Bowtell *1998 Kate Ballantyne *1999 Brendon Walmsley *2000 Grant Richardson *2001 Kylie Sackley *2002 Kieran Lancini *2003 Todd Williams *2004 Travis Collins *2005 Samantha McClymont *2006 Cat Southern *2007 Kirsty Akers *2008 Talia Wittmann *2009 Liam Brew *2010 Luke Austen *2011 Luke Dickens *2012 Bob Corbett *2013 Kaylee Bell *2014 Jared Porter *2015 Mickey Pye *2016 Karin Page *2017 Rachael Fahim

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