Country singer Patrick McMahon learned early on that showbiz is a rollercoaster when he was given the cane by a Benedictine monk at his boarding school after winning a televised talent show when he was 16.

VSFR 2020 Patrick McMahon

‘I snuck out of school in New Norcia and hitched a ride with a truckie down to Perth to perform on Stars of the Future, which was like the prelude to The Voice back in the day,’ Patrick says.

But in addition to getting ‘six of the best’ as punishment for sneaking out of the boarding school, Patrick also achieved enough local fame that his vague plans of studying architecture were put on hold.

‘The gigs just started rolling in,’ he says.

They also started getting bigger, with Patrick asked to support international artists including Dionne Warwick, Charley Pride and Joan Rivers.

‘That led to trips to America and Canada and other places overseas.’

He’s achieved every country music singer’s dream of going to Nashville, several times in fact, with one of his favourite memories being his early experiences of travelling around the states with his wife/producer Cherylanne in an old Jeep Wagoneer, complete with faux wood panelling along the side.

‘I wrote a song about that car and how it carried our hopes and dreams around America for so long,’ Patrick says.

‘The great people we met, it was just unbelievable. We travelled around playing in roadhouses —anything we could to get some petrol money and food money. Farmers took us in and I’d give them a bit of a hand on their farm, you know, fix a tractor or do a little bit of a work for a day or two and they'd take us in and feed us, it was tremendous.’