Minnesota-born and River Falls-raised Chaunté Shayne is flying through her 20's as an up-and-coming country singer.

She was recently nominated for New Artist of the Year amongst four other Midwest-based artists and bands at the 2019 Midwest Country Music Awards which took place in Medina, Minn. on Feb. 17.

The University of Wisconsin - River Falls business student balances her time at college and performing at various venues and recording her music, all the while sending a powerful personal message: "Always be a rebel and follow your dreams."

"I say that (phrase) because I don't fit the mold of country music, but I'm always going to follow my dreams and I want other people to do the same," Shayne said in a recent interview. "Most of the time when I perform and I'm loading in my equipment, people will ask if I sing blues or rap because of the color of my skin. It's always weird to have that first impression."

Shayne's work as a musician began as a young child at 8 years old and she has had a passion for music and songwriting ever since.

"I got in trouble (at eight years old) and so I wrote about it," Shayne recalled, laughing.

Her talent grew as she got older and was inspired by listening to the radio. She said she always had her family's support, especially from her dad Hardy White III. He had a song on the radio at just 14 years old titled "Crazy for You, Girl" and still plays guitar and sings along with his daughter as she steps into the limelight.

She recorded a freshman album titled "Sweet Trouble," which is available on Pandora, Spotify and Apple Music and is currently working on a second titled "Messy."

Being nominated as New Artist of the Year was special for Shayne. She said she was shocked when they had called her name for the nomination and had a great experience performing for the large crowd at the Medina Entertainment Center.

"Probably one of the biggest crowds I've played for," Shayne said. "It was rewarding that I got to perform in front of other artists and meet new people."

Her performance started off with a minor technical difficulty, but she was pleased with the outcome.

"It went better than I anticipated. I'm always a Nervous Nelly. We had to restart (the performance) because the microphones were off. But we got everything fixed."

Shayne said after writing nearly 200 hundred songs so far, she hopes to continue singing for the rest of her life and spreading a positive message.

"It's alright being yourself. You don't need to fit in," Shayne said. "You're perfectly capable of being yourself."

Shayne's next appearance on stage is coming up on March 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Madison Avenue Wine and Spirits in Hudson. More information about Shayne and recordings of her music may be found at www.chaunteshayne.com/bio.html or at www.facebook.com/chaunteshayne/