Glare and shadows

Reece Mastin performs at Auckland's Vector Arena last April. Photo from NZ Herald.
Reece Mastin performs at Auckland's Vector Arena last April. Photo from NZ Herald.
If you're prepared to enter a television music contest, you'd better be ready for attention both good and bad, The X-Factor Australia winner Reece Mastin tells Shane Gilchrist.

The last time Reece Mastin performed in New Zealand, at a public signing session at an Auckland mall in February last year, the event had to be cut short when several teenage girls fainted.

A year later, the singer, who won The X-Factor Australia in 2011 at the age of 16, will open a seven-show New Zealand tour on a day marketed by many as an occasion when hearts are meant to flutter.

Mastin will begin his Kiwi sojourn with a Valentine's Day concert at the Auckland Town Hall and wind up with a concert at the Regent Theatre, Dunedin, on February 24.

Since winning the Australian competition, Mastin has quickly built on that success. His self-titled debut album reached No 1 and subsequently achieved platinum status, both in New Zealand and Australia, while his recent DVD, Behind Closed Doors, also topped the charts.

The reason for Mastin's latest visit is the promotion of his second album. Released late last year, the 15-song Beautiful Machine continues his run of pop-rock, radio-friendly singles such as Shut Up And Kiss Me and Shout It Out - in short, they are designed to prompt sing-alongs.

Yet, despite the shiny production, Mastin says he's always been a sucker for a distorted guitar.

''When I was young, I would listen to all my dad's old records. I got into Guns N' Roses and Aerosmith. I listen to as much music as I can but my first love would be rock music,'' Mastin says via cellphone as he prepares for yet another show in Australia.

''We did a stadium tour, which was about 10 shows in Australia, and now we are 10 shows into the regional tour, with another eight or nine to go before we go to New Zealand,'' he explains, adding he plans to head to Los Angeles soon to begin work on a new batch of material.

''I have always written songs,'' Mastin says, adding he enjoyed the process of collaborating with writers on his new album.

''I don't think it required any compromise. The best thing about it is you can bounce ideas off other people. Someone will come up with an idea that will take you to another level.

''It works in weird ways sometimes. For example, with Shout It Out I had the lyrics done and we had a lot of fun mucking about. A lot of the time I'll try to go with an idea and it'll get twisted a little.''

On the subject of twisted, Mastin has witnessed the darker side of media exposure. Following the announcement last year he was dating Rhiannon Fish, an actor in Australian soap opera Home and Away, the young woman received death threats on Twitter.

''At the end of the day, I know who my real fans are,'' Mastin says.

''Now I can't even mention her name during a show without people screaming [in support].

''I have always told others who are thinking about entering such shows that they need to make sure they are ready for what's going to come. It is hard work. Everything you do is on social media or the news.''

See him

Reece Mastin performs at the Regent Theatre, Dunedin, on Sunday, February 24.


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