THEY are young, talented and share a passion for country music.

Damien Agius, 17, Karrie Hayward, 14, and Tia Gostelow, 12, all won spots at the CMAA Australian Academy of Country Music in Tamworth recently.

Only 21 places were up for grabs at the renowned academy, which teaches solo artists throughout Australia and New Zealand the skills required for song writing and singing.

Karrie was fortunate enough to gain her spot after winning the Queensland Champion of Champions Award at the Brisbane Country Music Festival.

"We flew down to Brisbane and I won my scholarship for the academy then," she said.

However, Damien and Tia had to audition and go in the pool with some 300 other applicants.

"I couldn't believe it when I got in," Damien said.

Once selected for the academy, it wasn't simply a walk in the park for the talented trio.

"We were up at quarter to seven, to have breakfast, and then we would have to be down to class by 9am to warm up," Damien said.

"Sometimes we didn't finish until nine at night."

The classes consisted of song-writing workshops, vocal lessons and instrumental master classes.

However, the learning wasn't just restricted to the promising young performers.

Karrie's and Tia's mothers went to Tamworth as well.

They learned how to nurture their child's talent and how to deal with the media.

Damien's mother attended the course when he was at the academy as a junior performer two years ago.



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