In January 2019, Blake O’Connor became the 40th winner of Toyota Star Maker – Australia’s longest running and most prestigious country music competition.
Blake was born in Windsor, 60 km north-west of Sydney before his family moved to Bathurst and then onto Port Macquarie on the New South Wales mid-coast
His grandparents gifted him an acoustic guitar for his eighth birthday which sat under his bed for two years, until such time that he started guitar lessons.
He didn’t enjoy the lessons but instead paid attention to the music that his grandparents and parents listened to, in particular, Johnny Cash.
At an early age, Blake was a keen Rugby League player which led him playing rep junior football for the group 3 Newcastle Knights Academy.
His passion however was music, so he made that his focus.
At 14, Blake had his first gig, for a wedding, which inspired his first song he wrote especially for the occasion.
In 2015, he was a featured artist in the NSW School’s Spectacular in Sydney and then made the decision to leave school to focus full-time on music.
Since then, Blake has been developing his song writing and practicing playing every day.
His entry into his music career has gone like clockwork, having headed to the Country Music Capital – Tamworth to busk on Peel Street – the Boulevarde of Dreams – in 2017. That same year, he entered and won the Coca-Cola Country competition and CCMA Junior talent quest, receiving a scholarship to attend the CMAA Academy in 2018, and followed that up by winning the biggest country talent search in Australia in 2019 – Toyota Star Maker.
In 2018 Blake released his debut self-titled EP which resulted in a #1 on the National Australian Independent Record Labels Chart, #4 on the ARIA Country Chart and #2 on the ARIA Australian Country Chart.
He will release his first Star Maker single in March 2019 and commence touring with one of Australia’s top acts, husband and wife duo Adam Eckersley & Brooke McClymont (The McClymonts) before performing at most of the biggest festivals in Australia throughout the year.
Blake will join the artists line-up at this year’s Cruisin’ Country and can’t wait to be part of this exciting festival on the water. Cruisin’ Country has teamed up with Toyota Star Maker for the first time with this fabulous prize valued at $12,000. Not only does Blake win a Toyota for a year, and a fuel card, a trip to Nashville and now the UK but on Cruisin’ Country. Blake said, “I’m blown away with this new prize which organisers of Star Maker kept a surprise until after I was announced the winner.
“Thank you so much to Cruisin’ Country for jumping on board with Star Maker.”
Professional Achievements in Country Music 2017-2018
- Opened Adam Brand’s 20th Anniversary Concert Main Stage Toyota Park.
- Invited to be the Entertainment for the ABC Music Artist Party at TCMF 2018.
- Invited to perform at ANZ Stadium for Round 1 of the 2018 NRL Season.
- Toured with Adam Eckersley & Brooke McClymont opening 14 Shows throughout North Queensland & NSW for their Highway Sky Tour.
- Opening artist for Russell Morris show in Coffs Harbour.
- Opening artist for Drew McAlister’s show in Muswellbrook.
- Opening artist for Adam Eckersley Band Tamworth Albert Hotel and 2 shows throughout NSW.
- Opening artist for 3 shows Winter Warm Up Tour with Adam Eckersley & Brooke McClymont.
- Performed Gympie Music Muster 2018.
- Performing at Ballina Country Music Festival 2018 and Opening for Adam Brand.
- Performing at Clarence Towns River Hoedown Country Festival 2018.
- Performing at Wingham Akoostic Music Festival 2018.
- Performing at Tunes on the Turf Music Festival Dunedoo.
Amateur Achievements in Country Music
- 2015 featured artist at School Spectacular Sydney singing “Spirit of the Anzacs” by Lee Kernaghan.
- 2016 Performed at the Sydney Opera House.
- 2017 Graduated from Senior Academy of Country Music CMAA.
2017-2018 Amateur Competition Wins
- Coca-Cola Country Tamworth.
- Mount Franklin, Tamworth.
- CCMA, Tamworth.
- People’s Choice Award Gympie Music Muster Emerging Talent Quest.
- Country Music Showdown Brisbane Ekka.
- Australian Country Music People’s Choice Awards Tamworth – Most Promising Future Star.
2019 Toyota Star Maker winner
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