'Stoked' to be chosen

New Zealand Merino Co commercial manager and country music performer Craig Adams. Photo by Kim Hamblin Photography.
New Zealand Merino Co commercial manager and country music performer Craig Adams. Photo by Kim Hamblin Photography.
Craig Adams will be hoping it will be a case of third-time lucky at the National Country Music Awards next month.

Mr Adams, who is commercial manager for the New Zealand Merino Co, is a finalist in the male artist of the year category for the third time.

He was ''stoked'' to be nominated and looking forward to the awards in Hamilton on August 16.

Judging was not just on performance but also contribution to and promotion of country music in New Zealand.

Last year, Mr Adams released his debut album, Country High. Since then, he has been ''out and about'', playing at festivals and trying to get his album ''out there as much as possible''.

That included the Country Rock Festival at Paihia, in the Bay of Islands, which was a good opportunity to raise his profile in the North Island.

He also played at the Norfolk Island Country Music Festival, where he performed in a New Zealand showcase.

There were different genres of country music, from the ''pop stuff coming out of the US'' to the more traditional country music.

''I like to try and think I'm in the middle,'' he said.

It all started a few years ago when Mr Adams formed a band for a merino conference with some wool growers who played instruments.

He was thrilled with the response to his music, saying it was nice to get up and perform and see people having a good time.

In New Zealand, people were only just starting to pick up on country music, but it was ''massive'' in the United States, where it was one of the most popular genres.

The likes of Keith Urban and Blake Shelton had become huge country music stars there, and the genre was also very big in Australia.

His main drivers for performing were enjoyment of the music and playing with other musicians.

Being ''in that moment'' on stage and playing together was ''really special'', he said.

He was working on a follow-up album to Country High and was ''flat out'' songwriting.