Petaling Jaya: Singer Leah Meta Two major country music awards took place in Texas on Sunday, with a brilliant Malaysian winning in a notably American genre.
Marshall took home the honor for Vocalist of the Year at the Texas Sounds International Country Music Awards, for the second year in a row.
Honor two was for the best performance of the year, an award that surprised even him.
Leah’s success in a highly competitive international field came amid a struggle to gain recognition in her own country. He gave a big “whoop” after being named one of the most exciting voices in country music.
Asked about her performance award, she replied: “I was told by the judges ‘I didn’t know where that came from’… I wasn’t what they expected in terms of energetic performance.”
He was also among 15 national contestants who received a US Congressional Certificate of “Outstanding Achievement” for their contributions to the arts.
“Thank you, Texas, for giving me this moment,” Leah said. “It took me forever to get here, and even though I know I have a long way to go, it’s always nice to know I’m being appreciated.”
He added that the achievement was a great opportunity to bridge the gap between the two cultures, as well as “a learning experience” for him.
On Sunday, he beat out a strong field of professional performers to further cement his reputation as a multi-talented artiste whose work spans various musical genres.
Festival organizers described his achievement as “a great victory for Malaysia in country music”, given the genre’s all-American history.
Backed by the Texas Sounds International Country Music Band that featured her husband Jack on rhythm guitar, she sang two of her own hits and two cover tracks.
The singer-songwriter’s achievement is ironic, as he has brought pride to his country failed him.
Despite topping the charts overseas, her songs are not aired in Malaysia, while the government seems indifferent to her international achievements.
Leah did not make the Texas showcase last year due to lack of funds and the refusal of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to financially support her for events and promotions in Malaysia.
However, she was named Female Vocalist and Virtual Entertainer of the Year after participating in a pre-recorded show.
His trip to the US was made possible through the sale of his canvas art pieces as well as the generosity of well-wishers here and in Texas.
There’s more to come from Leah — she’s nominated for EP and Vocalist of the Year (Multi-Genre) at the Josie Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee on October 23.
The event is considered the largest all-genre independent music awards show, and nominees walk the red carpet at the Grand Ole Opry House, where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and other country greats have performed.
She is a contestant in the Sarah Vaughn International Jazz Vocal Competition in New Jersey next month, after which she will perform at the International Independent Music Festival India in Kovalam, Trivandrum.
Malaysians will be able to see him during the return of the Miri Country Music Festival on November 25-26.