ASHLAND An Ashland woman has won an award from the largest independent music organization in the world.
Zoë Leunissen, 19, was named Pop/Contemporary Vocalist of the Year at The Josie Music Awards this month at Pigeon Forge.
“It was totally unexpected,” Leunissen said. “I was walking back from the bathroom and as soon as I sat down, I heard my name.”
The show, which honored T. Graham Brown with a lifetime achievement award, was especially enjoyable for Leunissen because she got to visit a friend she met at last year's event: Jackson Snelling of Austin, Indiana, who has appeared on “American Idol” and has auditioned for “The Voice” and “America’s Got Talent.”
But winning such an award is a boost to anyone’s career.
Leunissen said as the recipient of a Josie, she will be among the artists who have dibs on performing next year at a music festival that will precede next year's awards show.
Meanwhile, she said she's still working on an album and trying to find venues in the region where she can perform.
Leunissen has performed in the area at open mic nights and she can be heard on YouTube.
Last year, Leunissen won a Red Carpet Award for Best Music Video for the song “A Thing Called Life,” which was filmed at Boyd County High School. The video is on YouTube. The Red Carpet awards are based in Holland; because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the awards were announced online. Her manager is Salter-Gann Universal Promotions and Management LLC.
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