LIKE AND SHARE: Gympie rallies to make Linc an Aussie star
LINC Phelps might be Australia's next big country music star but he's not treating selection as a grand finalist in the esteemed Toyota Star Maker competition as a make-or-break in his budding career.
The nomination brings Phelps, who was once likened to iconic INXS frontman Michael Hutchence by a talent scout, the chance to perform alongside nine other competitors at the Tamworth Toyota Country Music Festival in January.
A swathe of lucrative opportunities await if he wins, including a trip to Nashville for the CMA Festival next June and a "recording session with Australia's top musicians and producer”, a prospect that inspires but doesn't overwhelm the 26-year-old.
"I'm excited, it's a good top 10, it's a strong field,” he said.
"I've been watching (the competition) for a few years and was a bit apprehensive in what I could get out of it or what it could offer me but I think I'm at a point in my career where I've got a plan and I know where I want to go.
"The help and the opportunity would be amazing but if I don't win I'm going to continue regardless. I love writing songs and performing and that's where I'm at at the moment.
"The trip to Nashville, getting to make a record with one of Australia's top producers and working with some great musicians would be great but if it doesn't come off I plan to do those things anyway.”
A happy coincidence had Phelps venturing to his "second home” even before he decided to enter the Star Maker competition, with "something like a dozen” shows lined up in Tamworth that week.
He said he'd be taking a wealth of hometown pride with him into the competition.
"I love going to Tamworth, it feels kind of similar to Gympie,” he said.
"I love Gympie and I'm proud to be from here, I'd like to be able to fly the Star Maker flag but fly the flag for Gympie too.”
And what does he make of the Hutchence comparison?
"Totally happy to wear that,” he said.
"I think I was still in Gympie High and we took a band down to Tamworth to perform ... and Joan Douglas, who owns the pub group in Tamworth, said that to one of my teachers.
"Those guys were amazing, they were pioneers of Australian music, the way he performed and delivered is stuff I can relate to. He was amazing.”
Guaranteed paid performances at "festivals and events” around the country, a four-track EP and "production of two professional video clips by an award-winning director” are among the other prizes awaiting next year's Star Maker winner.
Support Linc's Star Maker nomination by following him at Linc Phelps Music on Facebook and stay tuned for a new EP and single in January.