Ten years have passed since Jasmine Rae arrived at the Tamworth Country Music Festival for the first time.
Back then she was a finalist in the Telstra Road to Tamworth, among a field that included a future Star Maker winner in Liam Brew, and Tammy Moxon who is a Star Maker finalist this year.
But it was the pint-sized city girl with the powerful voice, and had grown up listening to Dolly Parton, who triumphed.
Jasmine Rae quickly became a well-known name on the country music scene, signing a record deal with ABC Music.
“I had just finished studying music, I studied jazz and contemporary music for a couple of years,” Rae recalled.
“I watched the Country Music Channel a lot, and they showed the winners on there and the competition, and I thought ‘I’m just going to give it a go, I know I won’t win the first time around’.
“I drove up with a couple other musician friends of mine from Melbourne, and we just gave it a go,” she said.
The final for that national talent quest was held at Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre (TRECC), and despite her belief that she could not win it the first time around, her name was read out at the end of the night.
“It’s really funny going back to TRECC to do the Golden Guitars, and to think that’s where it all began, it’s really nice.”
Over the decade since, Rae has been had seven number one singles, been nominated for nine Golden Guitars and released four albums.
Her latest album, Heartbeat, was released in 2015, and the current single Fly Away is one Rae said she was looking forward to playing, especially at a couple of songwriter showcases she is playing in Tamworth.
“It’s a really personal song, it was inspired by my manager who passed away (last) year, but I actually wrote it three years ago
“It was about just taking your own journey, and listening to what you need to do, even if it breaks somebody’s heart
“It’s a really special song for me, and a few people have said to me that they really relate to that song. Even when you leave your parents house, or if you leave a relationship, it’s a very general song that can be about any of those types of things and making decisions that are true to you.
“And that’s a stage that I’m at in my life, and so it’s a special song to be able to play it acoustically at these shows and share it with people.”
On the first Sunday of the festival she is at The Pub, and two days later she is playing at Southgate Inn on Tuesday, January 23.
“This is my first time doing songwriter shows in Tamworth, so it’s kind of cool to strip it back in that way.”
Rae is also one of the headline acts at Live and Loud, a free concert in Bicentennial Park on Tuesday, January 23. Also performing is Judah Kelly who won The Voice, Kaylen’s Rain and Melanie Dyer.
“I’m really excited about these shows, because all three of them are shows I haven’t done before, I just love trying new things and hopefully it will be really fun,” she said.