August 28, 2008

Triad Native Kicks Up Heels, Chases Dream of Stardom


GREENSBORO -- "Great American Country" TV viewers who tune in to "The Next GAC Star" on Sept. 3 and 10 will see a finalist with local roots.

Megan Conner was born in Greensboro nearly 28 years ago, and spent her first three years in Eden before moving to Texas.

She lives in Nashville, Tenn., now, but returns often to visit relatives, including mother Pat Rice in Greensboro and father George Conner in Eden.

Now Conner is one of six finalists in GAC's first national talent competition, a search for the next country music star.

"With these contests, I think it's a mixture of excitement and Oh my gosh, should I do this?'" Conner said from Nashville.

"Of course!"

The country music station GAC and Music Nation created what began in May as an online talent competition. Now it will move to a two- part televised finale where viewers' votes determine the winner. GAC airs on Time Warner Cable channel 125 and on

The winner will receive a record deal with Original Signal Recordings in New York, whose recording artists include Ingrid Michaelson, David Ford and The Modern Society, a music video to air on GAC, and a Gibson Hummingbird guitar.

Conner, who started singing "as soon as I could talk," describes her style as "country pop, not real traditional country."

She started theater and singing classes as a youngster in Texas, and performed in theatrical shows through her school years.

After graduating in theater from Baylor University in Texas, she left for New York to become an actress. Instead, she ended up in the fitness business and "fell head over heels in love with it," teaching exercise classes, managing a gym and creating a triathlon club.

While in the fitness business, Conner re-connected with country music when a New York producer recorded her singing five country songs.

But it was the Internet and music industry executives who heard her sing in her fitness class that connected her with Nashville's music industry. In 2006, Conner moved to Nashville to give a country music career a try.

Entering the GAC contest with a song and a video helped her get that shot.

Online voters and industry insiders narrowed the field to 16. Desmond Child and Victoria Shaw, producers and songwriters, chose the six finalists.

Conner and other finalists have filmed segments for the Sept. 3 show. They profile each finalist, and show them in recording sessions, in a Country Weekly magazine photo shoot, and performing at Nashville's famed music venue Tootsies.

After it airs, viewers can vote for their favorite.

The Sept. 10 live show will narrow the field to four, then let viewers cast their final votes as the four finalists perform.

The competition, Conner says, gives her national exposure, the chance to work with Child and Shaw, and lets her share her music with others.

"It's a very hard business, and all the sweat and tears make sense when I get up on stage, and you see people laugh and cry and react to the music," she says.

Contact Dawn DeCwikiel-Kane at 373-5204 or [email protected]

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