MANY young aspiring singers dream of getting paid gigs and performing in front of people on stage.
Boggabri’s Tom Manning lived this dream at this year’s Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Tom comes from good country music stock, with his paternal grandparents being performers and his uncle being bush balladeer Matt Manning.
During the 2013 festival, Tom played 11 paid gigs between the Balladeers Homestead, Oasis Hotel and Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School.
The nine-year-old plays mostly bush ballads, in keeping with the family tradition, and has been taking the stage long before he could speak.
He performed on stage solo for the first time when he was just six years old and came to his first Tamworth Country Music Festival when he was four days old.
“I love watching the crowd and meeting all the new people,” he said.
The Sacred Heart School Year 4 student at Mungindi also plays guitar and said he might start writing songs when he gets a bit older.
Tom said country music was something he would like to pursue as a career and eventually would like to attend the CMAA Academy of Country Music in Tamworth.
He will perform a similar number of gigs next year and is already looking forward to the 2014 festival.