First recipient of new Keith Urban scholarship revealed
The Academy program precedes Australia’s largest music event – the Tamworth Country Music Festival – held each January.
The inaugural recipient of the Keith Urban Scholarship is Heath Lancaster, who originally hails from Gladstone, near Kempsey.
The two-week residential skills and career-development program was, and still is, a unique and world-leading initiative which has helped launch the careers of many of our current genre’s stars.
Alumni include Sara Storer, The McClymonts, Travis Collins, Amber Lawrence and The Sunny Cowgirls.
Over artists have graduated since the Academy was established 21 years ago.
“We chose Heath as the first recipient of this special scholarship as he has shown great musical talent and potential as an all-round artist – as a musician, singer and songwriter,” said academy director Lyn Bowtel.
“The Academy staff members can see a bright musical future for Heath if he chooses to pursue it as a career.”
Urban’s stellar career began in 1990 when the then 22-year-old won Australia’s premier talent search competition, Star Maker at the Tamworth festival.
Following the 1991 release of his self-titled debut album that produced four charting singles, Urban relocated to Nashville.
The rest, as they say, is history. He’s won US Entertainer of The Year (2005, 2018), establishing him as one of the brightest stars in the world’s largest music market and one of our most successful music exports ever.
Many of The Academy graduates have targeted Toyota Star Maker as the first rung on the ladder to success, with fourteen of the past twenty winners of the prestigious title having come through the program.
The program focuses on songwriting, presentation and career/business skills and features guest lectures and mentoring by our leading artists – many of them ex-graduates themselves.
On receiving the news, CMAA President Dobe Newton, who helped establish The Academy said: “This generosity is typical of the man who has never forgotten the part Tamworth played in launching his stellar career…
“The Keith Urban Scholarship will create a lasting legacy and hopefully allow a talented and determined young artist to follow in his footsteps. Thanks mate!”