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From left are Path To Fame judge John Alexander, Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism Executive Director Leon Downey, Path To Fame judge Michael Headla, 2019 Path To Fame grand champion Grayson Thurman, a Frankfort resident, Path To Fame judge Kyle Grainger and Jeff Taylor. Photo courtesy of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

A Frankfort singer won the Pigeon Forge Path to Fame talent competition last weekend.

Grayson Thurman, 18, a recent graduate of Franklin County High School, sang "Honesty" by Billy Joel and "How Many Kings" by Downhere in the Saturday competition. He was selected by a panel of judges from among 14 semifinalists. 

As the winner, Thurman gets a prize package that includes a year of monthly consultations with John Alexander, co-founder and CEO of BandTwango; professional photography and videography sessions; media training; a career consultation with country artist Carly Pearce; and more. 

"I'm really excited," he said. 

Thurman previously did a rendition of "Honesty" when he auditioned for the competition at Lexington's Lyric Theatre in March. He said that he previously performed "How Many Kings" at his church, Forks of Elkhorn Baptist. 

Alexander, who discovered country singers like Kelsea Ballerini and Patty Loveless, recalled Thurman's audition in a press release and said that Thurman "wowed" Alexander in Lexington. He said Thurman's talent grew as the competition progressed. 

“I look forward to working with Grayson over the next year to help him realize his dreams and grow as a performer," Alexander said. 

In the fall, Thurman plans to attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and study commercial music and music business. The university was his top choice after he attended summer camps and programs there. Belmont alumni include country artists Brad Paisley, Trisha Yearwood and Florida Georgia Line.

"This has given me direct experience in the industry that I already want to be in," Thurman said. 

Thurman is still finalizing dates for the next year, but he plans to work on a music demo and will open for various theaters in Pigeon Forge, a popular tourist destination in East Tennessee. 

He said he appreciates the outpouring of support that he has received from the Frankfort community, including his friends, family and fellow church members at the Forks of Elkhorn Baptist. 

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