Murwillumbah talent wows country crowds
WHEN you hear her voice, it's difficult to believe Emmagen Rain Bryan is just 10 years old.
But the Murwillumbah girl can smash out pop tunes that rival their originals.
And when it comes to country, she has the sort of voice that gets right to the soul.
The Sathya Sai student, who said she just "likes making people happy" through music, recently claimed the People's Choice award at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Emmagen, who looks up to Miley Cyrus and her Gold Coast-based mentor, 14-year-old India Dupriez, said she was "overjoyed" to have claimed the award.
Her mum, Justine Christian, said her daughter - who goes by the stage name Emmagen Rain - was "improving all the time".
"She gives people goosebumps," Ms Christian said.
Having begun training with Vocal Adrenaline Performing Arts on the Gold Coast two years ago, the young star has performed at eisteddfods and plenty of small gigs.
Her step-father, Adrian Bagley, said Emmagen's talents were apparent to all who watched her perform at Tamworth.
"It's pretty hard to get a place busking (at Tamworth)," Mr Bagley said.
"But the second she started singing, shops opened up spaces for her. By the second day, there were people noticing her."
Of a total of 450 buskers competing, Emmagen was one of just 10 chosen as a finalist - no mean feat as a newcomer.
"There was a couple that have been busking there for years and got into the final for the first time (this year)," Mr Bagley said.
"Emmagen won the People's Choice award and I think they were a bit taken aback. She won that by a mile. We couldn't believe it, really."
He said she was the youngest to make the finals, followed by a boy of about 14 years.
Proud father, Shyam Bryan, who is himself a musician, said his daughter had loved music since a young age.
"Emmagen has been good at everything, she has always been really switched on ever since she was a baby," he said.
"She sings in the shower, she sings in the car, she sings everywhere she goes. There is never a dull moment with her. She has always loved music since she was a baby. And she is good at it. She has just got better and better.
"I am so proud of her as a father for her to have come as far as she has, I'm blown away with it."
* An earlier version of this story said Adrian Bagley was Emmagen's father. He is in fact her step-father and Shyam Bryan is her father. - Editor