While it is far from her first performance at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, Felicity Dowd is ready for her biggest moment when she will take to the stage alongside nine other performers as a Toyota Star Maker finalist in 2024.
"I was pretty excited. It was something I wished to happen for so long, so getting the news I had made the top 10 out of so many artists who apply every year was incredible," she said.
"It's an honour to be part of this amazing competition."
Felicity has attended the festival since she was 14, and this will be her seventh year performing.
"I started where we all do as country music artists, with the busking and talent quests," she said.
"Over the years, I met so many people at those events and then took part in the junior and then senior academy for country music, and I was able to cement my footings in the industry.
"Now, as a result of the legwork I have done in the past few years, it feels incredible to finally be at a stage where I'm not just being acknowledged for my songwriting but for my overall work as a performer."
Felicity has been influenced by a range of artists over the years, but she said Casey Chambers had been one who stayed true throughout her whole life.
"I feel pretty lucky to have grown up with a diverse taste in country music and music as a whole," she said.
"Growing up in Cobargo, I also participated in the Cobargo Folk Festival and learned about the folk industry.
"My inspirations within both genres have come from the wonderful storytellers - John Williamson, Felicity Urquhart, Luke O'Shea - there are so many who blur the lines between country and folk.
"They inspire me to keep making music that appeals to those who want to hear music and those who want stories as well."
Felicity lives full-time in a vintage caravan called 'Van Morrison', with no fixed address.
She spends most of her time travelling between Bega, where her family still lives, and Wollongong.
"I feel so lucky. In the past 12 months, I have travelled to five states and travelled further than I could have ever dreamed of, performing my music to as many different people as possible," she said.
"I'm trying to reach as many regional communities as possible throughout the country."
Felicity said the judges and audience can expect a "real and honest" performance from her in the grand final.
"I always try to create moments that the audience can relate to," she said.
"My goal has always been to make people feel - whether that's happy, sad or excited.
"I will come as myself as a true, authentic, and nomadic storyteller ready to entertain and make them feel something."
The Toyota Star Maker grand final kicks off at 7pm on Sunday, January 21, 2024, at Toyota Park.