Caitlyn's star continues to rise
IF CAITLYN Shadbolt were to win her second CMC Music Award, it would come as a pleasant surprise.
The 22-year-old, born and raised in Gympie, is up for Female Artist of the Year for the second year in a row at the eighth annual awards, which will be broadcast live from The Star Gold Coast tonight.
This year she's up against veteran Kasey Chambers, Christie Lamb, Amber Lawrence and Fanny Lumsden. She, Lamb and Lumsden are CMC's past three New Oz Artist of the Year recipients.
"A nomination is never anything I expect to get," Shadbolt says.
"I am up against some incredible women, who've all worked so hard over the past year. If I was to be chosen as the winner it would be a pleasant surprise, and a big shock."
The New Oz Artist gong has been renamed this year in honour of late CMC Rocks co-founder and country music promoter Rob Potts.
"I got to have really good chat with Rob in Nashville when I went there for the first time," she says.
"He gave me some really great advice. He just made time for me off his own back, which was a really nice and generous thing for him to do. Of course his advice was very honest, which is sometimes hard to swallow, but I feel so fortunate to be able to say I had that chat with Rob."
The singer is once again teaming up with Sunshine Coast-based fashion designer Judy Copley for her awards dress after stunning last year in a voluminous black tulle gown.
"It's totally different to what I wore last year, but it's equally amazing," she says.
Like many country music fans, Shadbolt will travel to Willowbank after the CMC Awards to attend the CMC Rocks Music Festival, which sold out in record time after American superstar Luke Bryan was announced as the headliner.
"I played the past two years, so this year I'll just go and check it out as a fan," she says.
"I'm keen to check out all the international artists. Luke Bryan is not someone you get to see every day. I'm also excited to see Brothers Osborne. They're new to the scene and I really like their music."
Later this month Shadbolt takes to the stage for one of her biggest shows to date in support of Billy Ray Cyrus at Bribie Island's first ever By The Bay Country Music Festival.
"He's a legend; he's so iconic. It feels so weird to have my name on the bill with him," she says.
"I don't think you can go past Achy Breaky Heart. I can't wait to see that performed live."
She also plans to release her new single Me Without You, featuring Reece Mastin, next Friday in the lead-up to the show. It's from her successful debut album Songs on My Sleeve, which hit No 1 on the ARIA Country Albums chart in May last year.
"Isn't it crazy my album's been out for almost a year?," she says.
"Reece and I shot a lot of the film clip (for Me Without You) in Tamworth when we did a show together there, so keep an eye our for it."
After a quiet start to the year at home in Gympie, Shadbolt will return to Nashville this winter to continue songwriting for her next album.
"I've had a bit of quiet time here at home just been sitting back with my guitar and figuring out what my heart wants to say," she says.
"It's been refreshing to sit down and start from scratch again. Sometimes you think 'I can't write anything' and other times it's heaps of fun.
"Once you release an album you learn so much about the whole process, and you also learn more stuff about yourself and your taste changes. It will be cool to spend a few months of this year discovering what the next movement will be in terms of how I will sound."
The 2018 CMC Music Awards take will air on Foxtel's CMC channel tonight at 7.30pm Qld, 8.30pm NSW. The CMC Rocks music festival is on at Willowbank today through Sunday.
Bribie Island's By The Bay Country Music Festival is on March 25 at the Sandstone Point Hotel.