Tiny Tia a star in the making
SHE may be only 13 years old, but don't let her age fool you.
Tia Gostelow knows her country music.
Hot on the heels of a win at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, Tia has returned home a rising star.
The teenager, who grew up on Groote Eylandt off the Northern Territory until 2010, was a self-taught guitar player up until she moved to Mackay. She also plays the banjo, harmonica, ukulele and keyboard.
"Mum bought me a $50 guitar off eBay and I just taught myself," she said.
"I grew up listening to it (country music). Mum and dad always had it playing, I just sang along to it."
Tia said she'd always wanted to perform at the music festival.
"There are so many different people, you don't know who's going to walk by and who could change everything for you," she said.
Although it was her first time at the festival, Tia took out the Toyota LandCruiser Busking Championships People's Choice Award. The avid Taylor Swift and Mumford and Sons fan said she was thrilled to win the award.
Tia's mother, Kristy Gostelow, said the family was proud to watch her perform to a crowd of 3000 people. "It was acoustically, so it was just her and her guitar on this huge stage," Mrs Gostelow said.
"It was the first time I'd ever played to an audience that big. I hadn't really played for anyone (before), I was very nervous, there were 3000 people there and a huge screen with my face on it," Tia said.
The Mercy College student said returning to school last week was extra special because she was able to share the news of her award with her friends.
And though she has performed at school functions before, Tia said she finds that more nerve-racking than playing for 3000 strangers.