Samantha Fish won the Best New Artist Debut Award for her 2011 release "Runaway" at the 33rd annual Blues Music Awards on May 10 in Memphis, Tenn.At 23, Fish has "secured a record deal, toured the world, and now makes a living solely from her music." With her talent, drive, and passion, she is sure to "Runaway" from the competition.Her response to winning the award - "Really Cool. It still has not sunk in. It happened so fast. I worked hard the last couple of years and the hard work paid off. I didn't think it would happen this soon."It was an affirmation I am doing the right thing," she added.Fish is a Grand County favorite and won the Grand County Blues Society Artist of the Year for 2011. She debuted in Winter Park in June 2009 at Smokin' Moe's and will return on July 1 for the Blues from the Top Music Festival."Samantha stood toe to toe with Mike Zito, Tommy Castro at Smokin' Moe's and I saw how deep she could play, hired her for the next year right there and have been proud of her ever since," said John Catt, Grand County Blues Society founding board member."So many people saw me there when I first started," Fish said.Fish is looking forward to coming back to her "second home. ... I am glad I get to do it again," she said about playing in the Winter Park festival.Fish lives in her native Kansas City, Mo., and fell in love with the blues at Knuckleheads, a famous local blues club. Her first paid gig was there at the age of 19, and it still holds a place in her heart.She started with the drums at 13 and switched to the guitar at 15. Fish grew up listening to The Rolling Stones and Tom Petty. Her parents were always playing music in their home. Looking back she said she wishes she had started playing the guitar at the age of 5."I would be that much further along," she said.Performing was something she dreamt of as a little girl."I never thought it would become real."Blues masters Stevie Ray Vaughan, Freddie King, and "Father of the Delta Blues," Charley Patton, are among her inspirations.Right now she is looking forward to how far she can take it. "I want to have fun, play music, and see how many people I can reach," Fish said."Enjoy the Ride" are the words she is living by.