In a nationwide search for the best unsigned country act, CMT.com has named 33-year-old Kurt Thomas the winner of the third annual MUSIC CITY MADNESS, beating out 16-year-old Maddie Georgi of Allison Park, Penn. Over 22 million total votes were cast this year, an increase of 439% when compared to total voting for 2007.
Thomas will receive a trip to CMT’s Nashville-based studio to record an episode of UNPLUGGED AT STUDIO 330, a private audition with Warner Bros. Records and a mentor session with country superstar Randy Travis.
A stay-at-home father of two boys, Thomas has been working on his music career for 12 years and performs in the Atlanta area five nights a week. He wrote the winning song “Follow Your Lead” about his wife, mother and first-born son. He credits family and the support of his hometown Dahlonega, Ga. for much of his success.
“I’m completely excited about it,” said Thomas. “It’s a chance to give guys like me – unsigned artists – a real opportunity that most musicians never get.”
Thomas first heard about the contest on MySpace, and participated in the live Atlanta auditions sponsored by CMT and Comcast. MUSIC CITY MADNESS is not his first brush with success, however, as earlier this year Thomas won a songwriting contest and was awarded the opportunity to open for Kenny Chesney in concert.
Country music’s first user-generated talent search, MUSIC CITY MADNESS offers undiscovered singer/songwriters a chance to showcase their talent and let fans decide who takes home the prize in the online battle of the bands. Since its launch, the contest has expanded to include a special televised episode of CMT TOP 20 COUNTDOWN recapping the finalists.
Warner Bros. Records served as the official record label, while Chevrolet returned for a second year as the official online and on-air sponsor. Last year, more than four million votes were cast at CMT.com to name 13-year-old Utah native Katelynn Jolley the winner.
Thomas, along with four other contest winners from the local auditions sponsored by CMT and Comcast, will perform a showcase in Nashville in early 2009. For more information, visit www.madness.cmt.com.