Charlie Fittler has his sights set on attending the Academy of Country Music in July after he made the final of the Toyota LandCruiser Country Music Busking Championships in January.
The teenager from Armidale was at his second Tamworth Country Music Festival, where he was again busking in Peel Street.
And it was while he was busking, his mother Nicole, was approached by a festival official who told her Charlie had been selected for the final of the busking competition. That saw Charlie take to the stage in front of several thousand fans in Toyota Park on the final Saturday night of the festival.
“Backstage in the green room I got to meet a lot of people and listen to their stories, and their talents were amazing,” Charlie said.
He played two Brooks & Dunn songs - Boot Scootin’ Boogie and Brand New Man - in the final.
“I grew up on Lee Kernaghan, Slim Dusty, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, that kind of old-school country, I’ve always been influenced by that,” Charlie said.
While he has started to write original material, the year 9 student said his busking setlist included a lot of the songs from those artists he grew up listening to.
The O’Connor Catholic College student is now back at school in Armidale, which is where he was first drawn to playing music.
For now he is already looking ahead to the future.
“If we can get into the Country Music Academy, that would be the next step up,” he said.