Former Waimate songstress Kaylee Bell has reached another musical milestone.
Bell was crowned the 2013 Toyota Star Maker at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in Australia last week.
She battled it out for the title against fellow grand finalists Christie Lamb, Nathan Lamont and Sarah Head.
Bell is the first female New Zealand-born artist to take out the award and joins a prestigious roll of winners, including Keith Urban, Luke Dickens and Lee Kernaghan.
"It's a truly amazing feeling to be the next Toyota Star Maker," she said.
"The competition has kicked off the careers of some of the biggest names in country music, so I'm very excited to be given the chance to launch my career with the backing of such a prestigious title."
Her win secured her a recording deal and a new Toyota vehicle, which also came with an unlimited fuel card for 12 months.
At just 23 years old, Bell already has an impressive list of accolades to her name, including New Zealand's Gold Guitar award, which she won at the age of 18.
She has also had chart success and was also a Toyota Star Maker grand finalist in 2011 and 2012.
Last year was busy for Bell, who played the Rocks the Hunter 2012 festival, headlined by country music power couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.
She has performed all over New Zealand and has a Bachelor of Performing Arts degree, specialising in musical theatre, from the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art.
She moved to Australia in April 2011.
Her debut album, Wayward, was recorded in both Australia and Nashville, United States.
- The Timaru Herald