THE race for the next two Telstra Road to Discovery winners has been run and won, with 19-year-old Gena Rose Bruce and 21-year-old Melody Pool taking home the prizes.
Gena, from Mitcham in Victoria, won the performer category, and Melody, from Kurri Kurri in NSW, took out the songwriter’s section.
They each receive a 12-month music industry mentorship package aimed at helping them along their musical journeys.
The prize includes the chance to perform in Nashville USA, professional recording and co-writing opportunities, domestic and international gigs and networking alongside some of the most respected names in the music business.
Gena captured the attention of the crowd with her vocals and stage presence as she delivered an original song, Only One, to begin and backed it up with The Rolling Stones’ Wild Horses.
She reached the final of the competition in 2011.
“Since competing two years ago, I’ve taken on board the judges’ advice and really worked hard to improve my performance,” she said.
“I was a little nervous before going on stage, but I wanted to show how far I’d come. I’m thrilled to have been awarded the 2012 winner; I’ve never been out of the country before, so I’m excited about heading to Nashville and the amazing opportunities the Telstra Road provides.”
Gena said she wanted to release an EP this year and gig as much as she could.
“In Nashville, I want to make as many connections as I can and record,” she said.
“I’m really excited about that and I want to experience the whole Nashville scene.”
Songwriter Melody demonstrated she was the full package with her performance of two original songs, The Hurting Scene and Henry.
“I really felt the songs on stage and I was proud of how I performed,” she said.
“The recognition of winning is such a compliment, especially in the company of such esteemed talent alongside me.”
Melody will release her album, The Hurting Scene, next month, so she said she’d use the prizes to push the album and get as much support for it as possible.
“In Nashville, I’m hoping to do a little tour and get the album out there,” she said.
This year the Telstra Road to Discovery is celebrating its 10th anniversary since crowning the inaugural winner, multi-award winning singer/songwriter and actress Jessica Mauboy in 2003.
Adding to the spectacular line-up of live music on the night was a special guest performance by newly formed outfit The Hillbilly Killers in a musical collaboration featuring Bill Chambers, Tim Rogers, Catherine Britt, Michael Muchow and special guest Andy Toombs.
A swag of Telstra Road alumni also returned and teamed up to perform a series of memorable duets to the enthusiastic festival crowd on Tuesday night.
Artists featured included Tamworth local Aleyce Simmonds with David Garnham, Kirsty Akers and Corey Colum, Harry Hookey and Briana Lee and Luke Webb with Neda.
The event also included a special performance by former 2011 Telstra Road winners Andrew Redford and Kelly Menhennett, who relinquished their titles on the night.