Back in December 2010, we here at Our Country announced the news that Ram Trucks would be hosting its first-ever "Battle of the Bands" event--a competition designed to discover the next big thing in country music. The contest winnowed down dozens of amateur hopefuls to two very talented finalists, who went head-to-head live on stage at the 2011 Rodeo Austin. (You can read a recap of the whole event here.)
Picking a winner between these two stellar choices was hard, to say the least, but we decided on Detroit native Justine Blazer, a true show-woman extreme who blew away the crowd with her original song "New Country Beat." Now that the dust has settled and Blazer has walked away with her cool five-grand's worth of prize money, we sat down with her to get her thoughts on the contest, and find out what her next move will be in conquering the world of country.
Our Country: When you initially entered the Ram contest, did you have a feeling you were going to win? Did you feel confident, or concerned?
Justine Blazer: I had a feeling of excitement. I was hopeful that I could win, but I have been in this business for a long time and it's so unpredictable. You never can be 100% sure. All you can do is be hopeful and positive. I felt confident because we have performed "New Country Beat" several dozens of times. I wasn't concerned, just excited and raring to go.
OC: Describe the vibe at the Rodeo when you were performing your winning song.
JB: Well, since it was noon on a Sunday, the crowd was laid-back but seemed happy. I got a good vibe from the people around me, and I just played up to that.
OC: You were clearly very emotional after winning. What was running through your mind?
JB: I was emotional because I never won anything quite like this before. I worked so hard to get to that point, and I felt like it was a milestone on my career. I was so happy to share that moment with such wonderful people.
OC: Do you have specific plans for your prize money?
JB: I will re-invest it back into my music. Between getting more merch, studio time, and gear. But a little shopping and pampering as well never hurt anyone (laughs).
OC: What's next on your schedule right now? For the summer?
JB: My summer is jammed packed with tour dates, appearances, festivals and concerts. So excited to be where I am at. Happy that my relentless efforts for these past several years are finally now starting to pay off and reap the benefits of making a living in the music business.
OC: Are you working on new music? When will you be cutting a new album?
JB: Yes, I am currently writing numerous new songs that I will be showcasing this summer. I will be releasing a new single to country radio this summer. The song is to be announced. Thank you once again!
Thank you, Justine! Hope you're enjoying the winner's high (and--hey--the prize money, too!). Here's Justine's video of her winning song, "New Country Beat." Be sure to tell me what you think of this rising star!
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