Nashville music executives are looking for the next country music star here in eastern Kentucky!
The "Country Music Highway Road to Fame" singing competition kicked off Wednesday in Johnson County.
Contestants get the opportunity to sing in front of Nashville music executives.
Local officials say this will do more than find a star, it will also promote tourism and fund music education in schools.
There is a long list of country music singers from the US-23 corridor, and leaders believe there are more here that are just not discovered yet.
"Seeing the raw talent here is just amazing to me," said Brad Hall.
The newly formed "Country Music Highway Road to Fame" competition is modeled after American Idol.
"We're looking for the next Loretta Lynn, the next Ricky Skaggs, or Tom T. Hall so that's the excitement. These people have made this neck of the woods famous and we want to continue to make it more so," said Fred James, Prestonsburg Tourism Director.
"This is going to mine another resource in the state of Kentucky which is raw talent, and we're there to expose it, educate it, and hopefully bring it opportunity," said Bernard Porter, Road to Fame Developer.
The three judges are Music Row executives Bernard Porter, Molly Smith, and Mike Harris. The grand prize winner will get radio and touring opportunities and exposure to music executives in Nashville.
"This whole "Road to Fame" initiative is about hope. Hope for the musicians out there trying to make it in the business. Help promote the next generation of talent that's from this area, so that they don't have to leave here and try to go to Nashville and slug it out with all the other people there, so we really want to bring Nashville over here," said Ken Carriere.
Artists like Tom T. Hall and Montgomery Gentry are supporting the event.
The initiative will also raise funds for music education in local schools. The group presented the first checks on Wednesday. South Floyd Middle School and Allen Central Middle School each received $500 for music education.
For more information on auditions or the event, you can visit the "Country Music Highway Road to Fame" website at www.cmhRoadtoFame.com.