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Country roads lead to Nashville

By Staff | Aug 13, 2008

Shawn Mayer

Imagine not being able to talk to your family or friends for 12 weeks. Imagine the only people you do get to talk to are three celebrities in the music industry.

This has been Shawn Mayer’s life for the past few months. Mayer, a native of May City, was the second runner-up on NBC’s Nashville Star.

“She began just like every one else did, singing in church,” said Mark Mayer, Shawn’s dad. As a junior in high school she began going around the area, singing the national anthem at racetracks, and eventually touring in Nebraska, Illinois and Minnesota.

In October 2007, the 20-year-old Mayer moved to Nashville, Tenn., to pursue her country music career. Mayer kept herself busy performing five shows a week.

Then in March a friend called, saying he was coming to town to audition for Nashville Star. Being the only person he knew in Nashville, he asked Mayer to wait in line with him. Mayer’s mom Shandra was in town visiting and also joined them in line.

They began their wait at 2:30 a.m. Mayer brought her guitar along for kicks, with no intention of auditioning herself. Mayer’s friend tried to convince her to audition, but she was reluctant. She already had a good start to her career. Shandra told her daughter, “If you want to, go in and play the game.”

By the time they reached the front of the line, Mayer had decided to audition. Unprepared and without paperwork, she sang “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” by George Jones.

Mayer received an invitation to return the next day for another audition with more judges. She sang the same song as well as her own song “Not Looking Back.”

Mayer was told that she would receive word of whether she made it or not in four-six weeks. Yet only four days later, a camera crew showed up during one of her performances and told her she had made it into the top 200 finalists out of the 45,000 who auditioned nationally.

Taping began at the end of May, and Mayer was sequestered by NBC. They took away cell phones and computers from all of the contestants. Anywhere they went an escort went with them. In fact, the first time Mayer got to talk to her parents was when they went to Nashville for family days.

On July 23, Mayer returned to Dickinson County to put on a concert in May City. The town of 45 grew to 5,000 as fans flocked to see her live.

Back in Nashville, Mayer continued on, and made it into the top three finalists, singing songs such as “The First Cut Is The Deepest” by Sheryl Crow, “Breathe” by Faith Hill, “Forever And Ever Amen” by Randy Travis, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones and several others. Mayer also performed her own song “Not Looking Back.”

The final episode premiered Aug. 4. Mayer was second runner-up for season six.

The final four contestants, Mayer, Gabe Garcia, Coffey, and 2008 Nashville Star Melissa Lawson, will begin the Nashville Star Live Tour Sept. 12 in St. Louis, Mo. The tour will continue around the country with performances in Colorado, Oklahoma, California, Massachusetts, Florida, Texas and even Canada.

The tour will include a stop at the Clay County Regional Events Center in Spencer on Saturday, Nov. 22.

The show will start at 8 p.m. with doors opening at 7 p.m. Ticket prices are $44, $34, and $24, based on seat location.