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Bella Mackenzie KIX-starts her career

Introducing the 2021 Groundwater KIX Starter winner!

Women are forging ahead in the world of country music, with Groundwater Country Music Festival set to showcase an unprecedented ratio of female artists, with a new gifted country sensation joining the incredible line-up for Groundwater 2021; KIX-Start competition winner, Bella Mackenzie.

Remember the name. The self-taught, 16-year-old country-pop talent hails from a small coal-mining town in Central Queensland, where she developed a love for live music and entertaining people from an early age at her family’s hotel pub. Flash forward to 2021, and Bella is set to bring her incredible musical ability and showmanship to Broadbeach to perform a 45-minute set in front of thousands of fans at this year’s Groundwater CMF! A far cry from the modest rural hotel she grew up in.

This incredible opportunity arose thanks to Groundwater’s inaugural KIX-Start competition, a collaboration between Groundwater CMF and KIX Country Radio Network designed to discover budding country music stars and to help KIX-Start their career.

Needless to say, the competition has certainly achieved this, bringing together an exciting variety of country talent.

Gina Jeffreys, country music icon and competition judge, was in awe of the young talent on display in the competition.

“I was so honoured to have been asked to be a guest judge for this wonderful initiative KIX-Start. For me, it’s an absolute passion to encourage and nurture the next generation of country stars and I get so excited when I see a new artist come along who ticks all the boxes to make it in the industry.

"We had a huge range of artists enter and I’m proud to say that it was the young females who dominated the auditions.

"The level of talent was just incredible, and it makes me so excited for the future of country music in Australia,” she declared.

Indeed, the strong female presence extends to Groundwater’s festival line-up, with an incredible 22 female artists set to showcase their talent. It is almost unheard of for an Australian music festival to have 47% of its performers be women, with 2017/18 festivals across the nation averaging just 23%.

Ultimately, despite some exceptional competition, there could only be one KIX-Start winner, and Bella Mackenzie’s mesmerising blend of vocal virtuosity, performing flair, songwriting ability, and distinct self-taught guitar style and technique wowed the judges and assured Bella the opening spot at The Back Road Theatre stage, whetting the country music appetite for festival-goers before the likes of Troy Cassar-Daley, Sara Storer and Graeme Connors.

Bella cannot wait to bring her infectious charm, exceptional talent, and youthful exuberance to Groundwater 2021.

“Performing at Groundwater, on the same line-up as the Aussie artists that I have looked up to and listened to over the years is simply a dream come true!” Bella explained.

“I just can't express how excited I am to be performing at Groundwater and how much it means to me. It is such an iconic Queensland event and as a proud Queenslander, I am so excited to be heading to the Gold Coast to play some country music.

“I would like to say a thank you to the judges... picking just one winner out of the amazing top ten finalists would have been a crazy hard task, every entrant was so worthy!

But mostly I would like to thank KIX and Groundwater CMF for running the KIX-Start competition and for giving us emerging country music artists something positive to look forward to,” Bella said.

Make sure you head to Groundwater CMF 12-14 November to catch Bella Mackenzie’s sensational performance and get a taste of the future of country music in Australia.