COFFS Harbour-based country music singer Jesse Emmanuel is being billed to become one of Australia’s next big stars after her success at the MusicOz Awards last weekend.

On Friday night, Jesse enjoyed a fairytale evening when, in front of a national television audience, she was announced as the 2010 APRA Songwriter of the Year at the awards night for unsigned and independent artists.

“From walking the red carpet, talking to the media and having crazed photographers fight for my attention, to sitting with my fingers crossed backstage before they announced the winner of my category, I was absolutely pumped,” Jesse told the Coffs Coast Advocate.

“It was crazy. MTV was filming and I had to do heaps of interviews and pose for photos. I felt a bit silly – I’m just a Coffs Harbour gal who drove down in her Mitsubishi Lancer to maybe win an award and they were fully treating me like a star. Lucky I wore a really cute outfit.”

Lucky indeed. The stunning crooner still finds it hard to believe she won.

“When they announced it was me and I got up on stage to accept it, I didn’t even have a speech prepared, that’s how surprising it was,” she said.

“I’ve been recognised for something that I have done nearly all my life, all by myself, never really thinking about accolades and awards but doing it for fun and to help me deal with certain moments in my life.

“It feels good to know that all my hard work, passion and drive is finally being recognised, and that my music is starting to get out there, being heard by some very important ears in the industry.”

Jesse’s father, guitarist Phil Emmanuel, couldn’t be prouder.

“I’m very proud of Jesse, firstly as a father and secondly as a musician,” he said.

“Her musical originality and abilities are pretty much as good as it gets.”

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