SHE'S headlined regional concerts and festivals for years but Hervey Bay's own country music star Keri McInerney is finally about to hit the big time.

On Saturday, Ms McInerney entered into a life-changing agreement with international record label CSM Words and Music.

The Los Angeles-based company manages some of the biggest names in the industry and yesterday Ms McInerney said she couldn't be happier.

“I am absolutely blown away,” Ms McInerney said.

“I have been doing this forever and I just never would have expected for something like this to come along at this stage of my life.”

In the coming months Ms McInerney will be jetting off to America to kick-start the next chapter of her career with the lucrative US country music market beckoning.

Her first stop will be Nashville, Tennessee, where she will get the chance to record new songs of her own.

While there she will also work as a backing vocalist for some of the industry's superstars including chart-topper Phil Collins.

Later in the year, she will have the chance to attend exclusive music industry networking events in Hollywood and take part in writing sessions with well-known lyricists.

The dream deal came about at a meeting with a CSM executive last year.

CSM manager Shelle Sondheim expressed a serious interest in Keri's music when they met at the World Championships for Performing Arts in Los Angeles.

However, the phone call didn't come on Keri's return home to the Fraser Coast.

She thought that was that and got on with her career until her luck changed last week.

“He rang and asked for a phone link-up and we did that on Saturday and then he just blew me away,” Ms McInerney said.

In the past 20 years, Ms McInerney has had a taste of fame but not on this type of international scale.

She first performed with a group in 1989 with band Fat Tuesday.

She signed with a Sydney record label in 1994 and went on to have success with a number of singles on country music channels.

She came to the attention of US audiences in July last year when she won one gold and four silver medals for Australia at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Hollywood.

This record deal is set to take her voice into the homes and hearts of many more American country music fans.

“Honestly, it's just fantastic,” she said.

“This is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me.”



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