IT'S been a wild ride since Toyota Star Maker winner Blake O'Connor left Tamworth on a high.
The 18-year-old has just written and recorded his first album Everything I Feel under the watchful eye of friend and mentor Adam Eckersley.
The hardest thing about his new life as a full-time musician for O'Connor? Answering emails.
"It's been full on," he said.
"I had high expectations of what it would be like and it's lived up to it, that's what I wanted.
I had high expectations of what it would be like and it's lived up to it, that's what I wanted.Blake O'Connor
"The album is called Everything I Feel and it's about everything I've been through in the last year with my emotions and experience." The Star Maker took out the competition ahead of two Tamworth girls.
Not long after O'Connor left school in Year 11 to pursue music full time, the young artist threw himself into performing where a chance meeting with country music power couple Adam and Brooke Eckersley at a backyard birthday party shaped his career.
"He's an absolute legend you wouldn't meet a nicer fellow and a freak of a musician and ear for music - he's my most influential person I look up to so it's cool to have him work on the album," O'Connor said.
Asked by a mate to play at his mum's party, Shannon Noll, Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley were the last people O'Connor expected to meet.
From there he went on to win Toyota Star Maker at Tamworth Country Music Festival in January and has been on the road with the Eckersley pair ever since.
For a young artist his new album has a mature sound, it's a mix of Americana, blues and acoustic country.
Grammy award winner Nick DiDia mixed the album and for O'Connor it was a huge win to work with someone who has fostered the talent of Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Powderfinger.
"I was stoked," O'Connor said.
"I just made an album I would want to listen to, I think it was super cool when we were recording the album my songs came to life.
"It feels pretty cool, I didn't think I would have a full length album out at 18."
O'Connor will launch Everything I Feel at Tamworth's Hats Off to Country Festival at Moonshiners Honky Tonk Bar with a three-piece band on July 13.