WATERLOO - Winning the Next Pop Icon was only a start.
Now, with a successful recording session in Atlanta behind her, Waterloo native and singer Tatum Talbert is attempting to conquer her toughest critics - her own community.
"The sad thing is Waterloo does not support talent enough," Talbert said. "I think if we work to be more supportive to one another, you would be surprised at what would come out of Waterloo, Iowa."
She's counting herself, of course, but also dozens of other artists and musicians trying to catch attention in the Cedar Valley through live shows and showcases - events that are sparsely attended, Talbert argued, because a number of people might boycott a showcase just because they don't like a performer.
"Therefore, we have this person saying they're not gonna come to this showcase just because this one person is in it," she said. "That's not a good thing."
That's not to say Talbert, 25, has a lack of support, far from it. She's assembled Team Tatum, a social networking group made up of friends, family and fellow church members.
She's also got the support of CSP Music Group's Christopher Starr, himself a Waterloo native, who started Next Pop Icon in Waterloo this past spring and awarded Talbert a recording package when she won this year's inaugural event.
"The Next Pop Icon is so we can give them tools to get them to the next level," Starr said.
Since Talbert is the first to come out of that talent show - something Starr plans to do annually in Waterloo and other places around the country - his focus has been to set her up and shop her to record labels when she's ready.
Talbert flew to Atlanta this summer to record two songs she wrote the lyrics to, as well as to lay down the chorus to a third song. She'll also be shooting a music video with the goal of getting her first single, "Over You," to play well in Waterloo and beyond.
"We're going to work on singles until we get something landed and get some attention from distributors," Starr said, noting Talbert's next recording session will be at Catamount Studios in Cedar Falls. "Eventually we will release a full album around her."
The best way people can support Talbert at this stage, Starr said, is to download her music and watch the videos, and leave comments on Facebook and YouTube pages.
"Whenever the numbers go up on YouTube, the (talent scouts) notice that," he said.
As for Talbert, she'll be drumming up support when she premieres "Over You" at 5 p.m. Dec. 9 on KBOL 100.1 FM as she's interviewing with DJ Daze.
"There's a lot of people in Waterloo I want to work with before I go back to Atlanta," she said. "Since the competition there's been so many rumors about me.
"But I've been moving forward."