Given the electrifying buzz of coffee and excitement in the production room, you would never know it was a dreary, raining, abnormal Queensland day.
It was a Wednesday, and CMC had just arrived in the sunshine state to host the biggest fan-voted music awards in the southern hemisphere, the CMC Awards.
Over the next 36 hours, my Bachelor Australia co-star Mary O'Neill from Honey On The Railroad and I were to take over CMC's social media. Reporting on all the behind the scenes action as a direct connection to over 200,000 Country Music Channel fans, concluding our last hour hosting Facebook Live as we interviewed the stars from the Red Carpet.
What an experience! Even through my damp windblown hair from the Brisbane sidewalk, I radiated a beaming smile, courageously ready to take on the challenge.
Mary and I had the incredible opportunity to interview Adam Harvey, Shane Nicholson, Beccy Cole, Kelsea Ballerini, Jason Aldean, Kip Moore, Amber Lawrence, Jasmine Rae and Drake White.
We spent the Wednesday and Thursday in our own private performance at sound check and dress rehearsals in awe of some of the world's biggest country music stars absorbing their inspiration.
One of my highlights was meeting Kelsea Ballerini and admiring her playful spirit shining brightly as she welcomed Australia with open arms. Her team was so friendly, enthusiastic and they were simply beautiful people. After our interview, we spent some time and talked for a while. You can't really describe a checklist for the "X-Factor", you just know it when you see it and Kelsea definitely has that kind of star quality.
I was nominated at the very first CMC music awards. Over the past six years, I feel incredibly proud to have watched the growth of these awards. Coming from a humble "industry only" function in the Hunter Valley this year's awards were hosted by QLD's QPAC, seating an intimate 1500 people.
The reason why the CMC Awards are so special is because it is decided by the fans for the fans. CMC has the ability to give Australian Country Music supporters a voice and has become one of the leading music awards our industry has to offer.
Being involved in the industry for over 10 years I got to catch up with many of my friends on the red carpet. I've seen new talent come through and continue to push the boundaries, I've watched star's like Amber Lawrence, Jasmine Rae, The Wolfe Brothers and Catherine Britt emerge from humble beginnings and blossom into the incredible, admired artists they are today.
Mary and I have never hosted before, so you could imagine the nerves that were running through our veins. What would we talk about for an hour? But all in all we surprised ourselves and are incredibly proud of our efforts having over 11,000 viewers join us on Facebook Live on the red carpet.
Mary's love for country music is a passion that is deep to her core, her enthusiasm and work ethic is one driven by pure love for our genre. Early this year Mary created an online platform to promote country music artists through interviews and country lifestyle check out Honey On The Railroad. Only new to the industry, I couldn't help feel excited as I watched her eyes fill with wonder as she continued to meet some of her favourite artists. I feel really special to have seen her inner child beaming so brightly with excitement and watch as her dream become a reality.
'Being a part of this years CMC Music Awards has filled me with so much gratitude and love for the Country Music community. It was a dream come true having the opportunity to represent CMC as a blogger and interview artists who I respect so much. Being brought together with so many amazing people, the fans, crew and artists, all for our mutual love of the same thing is truly a beautiful thing and I will cherish this memory forever' Mary O'Neill - Honey on the Railroad
Someone who impressed me was Caitlyn Shadbolt. Discovered on X-factor in 2014 she recently signed to ABC and took out the new Oz Artist Of The Year. I found her to be a dream to interview with such maturity beyond her years. Her music and film clips are fresh and captivating, and I'm very excited to see what the future holds for her.
The Wolfe Brothers are one of the hardest working bands I've seen in years. 2014-2015 saw them tour endlessly with Lee Kernaghan. Last summer they farewelled Australian BBQ's and double pluggers as they packed their bags to write and record a brand new album in the midst of a cold Nashville winter. I was so proud to cheer them on as they collected their win for CMC Group or Duo of the Year. Surrounded by such strong competition alongside The Adam Eckersley Band and Adam Brand and The Outlaws I'm sure the boys would have been stoked to be called Australia's favourite.
"The CMC awards are all about the most important people in the industry, the fans! They vote for the winners, they listen to the songs and they are the reason we get to do this. It is such an honour to win an award and be in the industry!" The Wolfe Brothers
For the second year in a row Amber Lawrence was crowned CMC Female Oz Artist of the Year bringing a proud tear to my eyes, she was dressed in stunning red. One of the things I admire so much about Amber is her ability to connect with her fans. I am such a believer in her and always love to rejoice in her achievements. Last Thursday night was no exception.
"It was a wonderful event mixing with the best of Australia's and USA's talent. Country music fans were loving it just as much as the artists" Amber
Winning awards for CMC Oz Male Artist of the Year, CMC Oz Video and the ARIA Highest Selling Australian Album, Australian icon Lee Kernaghan didn't have enough hands to hold them all.
Australia's favourite ratbag Adam Brand become CMC Oz Artist Of The Year.
"For me th CMC awards are the mos special of all, because they are decided not by critics, experts or industry insiders. They are decidd by the people that matter the most. The power to dish out these awards are in the hands of mums, dad, sons, daughters and grandparents. And it'struly humbeling to recieve one of these awards". Adam
As I wrap up this week's blog I would like to firstly send a huge shoutout to everyone at CMC. I feel so blessed to have been given such an experience and also to the fans, thank you for reaching out and letting me be your voice.
A side note, this week my GO FUND ME CAMPAIGN has skyrocketed to almost $3,000. I would love if you could please continue to share. I am creating a brand new mini album to raise funds for me to move to Nashville and continue my dream of becoming a songwriter. However it won't be commercially released, so the only way to get a copy is to secure one through this campaign.
A huge thank you to everyone for supporting me, you have the ability to give me the biggest opportunity and completely change my life forever. Please keep sharing and show your friends my music. I need all the help I can get. x
Head to Country Music Channel on facebook to view interviews and Mary and I live from the red carpet! xx