RISING star Megan Kelly has taken another step towards forging a career in country music.
The 20 year old Milawa songstress was one of just 22 performers from Australia and New Zealand selected to take part in the country music academy at Tamworth last month.
The aim of the Country Music Association of Australia's two-week boot camp is to help the new generation of hopefuls hone their skills and understand the industry.
Since becoming interested in a music career at age 15, Ms Kelly has worked hard at reaching her goal.
And she said the academy was perfect for anyone chasing a career in the industry.
"It opens up so many doors and opportunities for young and upcoming artists," she said.
"We had access to some of country music's top musicians, mentors and industry leaders.
"It was pretty full on we started at 7am and often worked through to 10pm, then spent time jamming till 12 at night."
Participants were able to work on their areas of need, including songwriting, vocal technique, performance, business and marketing.
Ms Kelly also enjoyed the opportunity to mix with some of her musical inspirations, including Lyn Bowtell, Amber Lawrence and Tamara Stewart.
She said the academy has inspired a change to her musical style.
"It has taken me in a different direction, towards trying to achieve a crossover into roots 'n' blues," she said.
The two-weeks of training and mentorship culminated in a concert where each participant was called on to perform a song.
Ms Kelly performed an original called 'Down on the railway line', which she described as 'rootsy'.
She now plans to perform at Darwin entertainment centre with past Telstra Road to Tamworth Finalist, Yuliana Pascoe in August, before heading out on a mini tour along the NSW coast and Queensland in October.
The Gang were a massive hit at Cattlemen's cup on 14th and 15th of Jan. Over 1500 people attended the very alive crowd on Friday and Saturday night. Towards the end of the night the Gang came out wearing glow sticks that started a craze; so much energy was pumping off the stage with beach balls thrown out to the crowd. Megan Kelly Gang brought everyone together with happiness and tears, as the Gang all came forward and sang we are one as there finally.... What a proud country we are!
“Coca-Cola Battle of the Bands would like to congratulate all winners and finalists... Cindy from Deception Bay Qld, Aiming High from Widgee Qld, Megan Kelly Gang from Milawa Vic, The Noisy Minors from Boonah Qld and The Conundrums, Qld,”
Kelly gang is second best
Wangaratta North East Newspapers
COUNTRY music singer/songwriter Megan Kelly has kicked off 2011 in a big way, coming second in Tamworth's battle of the bands in January.
It's a massive achievement for the Milawa based singer and her band, the Megan Kelly Gang, competing against 25 groups from around the nation, at Australia's famous country music festival.
"It was really good, and we had a ball," said Megan.
"All the bands were really competitive, and there was such an age difference between them."
"The judges would have had a hard time picking winners, because they were all really talented muso's."
The band spent 10 days in Tamworth, playing their way down the outdoor stages of Peel Street, in front of thousands of country music fans.
The trip followed the band's appearance as headline act for the Cattleman's Cup in Omeo, receiving a great reception from the country music-loving audience that was "in a good party mood."
"It was the biggest gig we've ever done, and the crowd was just awesome and had a great vibe," she said.
The band is planning to perform locally in coming months, and Megan will spend some time song writing for a new album, before heading to Nashville in October.
Catch the Megan Kelly Gang at the Northo in Wangaratta on Sunday, February 6 between 3pm and 7pm.