Wagga Wagga's Nathan Lamont demonstrated from a young age that singing would play a part in his life.
And that lifelong talent will be on show at the 2024 Tamworth Music Festival when he competes in the 44th Toyota Star Maker contest.
Nathan was one of four NSW artists named among the top 10 finalists.
"I was elated and super excited; it was a goal I had set at the beginning of the year," Nathan said.
"I mapped out how I wanted the next 12 months to look and how to get into Star Maker, among other things.
"For me, it was reaffirming I am on the right path and achieving what I set out to do.
"I wasn't sure what the outcome would be. Nothing was certain about me getting in by any stretch, particularly when you factor in the amazing talent and the number of emerging artists coming up through the country scene, so I had no idea as to the outcome.
"Obviously, for me, it was news so welcomed, and I was very excited by it."
Nathan said he also felt a sense of relief, as he has competed twice before in the nation's longest-running and most respected country music competition.
More than 500 artists have performed in Star Maker over the past 43 years, uncovering the likes of Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan, Beccy Cole, James Blundell, and its latest star, Kaylee Bell.
"That was well over a decade ago," he said.
"It feels like a lifetime ago; it's a bit of a blur, to be honest.
"I had some great company the last time I was in Star Maker.
"I shared the stage with Kaylee Bell, who has gone on to do amazing things and Christie Lamb, who has won several Golden Guitars.
"So even then, the competition was stiff, and I imagine it will be just as challenging this time around."
Between the ages of one and five, Nathan lived in foster care, where he said he was being primed by his stepmother Millie, who ran Leeton Country Music Talent Quest.
Ironically, his first time on stage was at the Tamworth Country Music Festival at about nine years of age.
"I think she saw something in me. She used to tell me, when she was still with us, that I was singing from the time I was one year old, and she would push me in the stroller from one side of town to the other, and I would sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star the whole way," Nathan said.
"I think she saw early on that I had a natural knack for music, as do many of my other family members.
"The exposure I had growing up around music with my other siblings. I have 23 siblings, and a lot of them can sing. I think country music is in our veins, so I inherited that gene.
"My Dad was a singer, and it flowed through to all of us - so it was something I was just born into."
Growing up, Nathan's musical influences were Lee Kernaghan, Alan Jackson, and Garth Brooks, then later Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts, and, in recent years, Dan and Shay influenced his music.
He said the audience and judges can expect an upbeat show.
"My experiences in the past 14 years with my wife have been that of positivity, and we've been able to build a life together, so a lot of my songwriting has been centred around that," Nathan said.
"I pride myself on my strong vocals and melodies, so I think if people enjoy the likes of Dan and Shay, then they will like my music.
"Uplifting and fun is what I would describe it as."
The Toyota Star Maker Grand Final is one of the most significant events of the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
It begins at 7pm on Sunday, January 21, 2024 at Toyota Park.