REECE Mastin is not your average 18-year-old.
He has 190,443 Facebook ‘‘likes’’ (and counting), two No.1 singles under his belt and a soap star actress for a girlfriend.
Tonight Mastin kicks off a national tour in Perth playing at the city’s newly opened 15,500-seater Perth Arena, which has hosted the likes of Elton John and Matchbox Twenty since officially opening last month – a sign of just how big the pop singer has become since taking out the 2011 season of Channel 7’s The X Factor.
Mastin grew up in England, one of four children raised by parents Debbie and Darren, who moved the family to South Australia seven years ago.
He said he wasn’t entirely serious about auditioning for The X-Factor but went along anyway.
‘‘I was just going to give it a go,’’ he said.
‘‘I went down and took a day off school and it turned out I got through and from there it just kept getting bigger and bigger ... and now I’m doing this.’’
Under the mentorship of Guy Sebastian, Mastin not only walked away with the title but a management contract and recording deal with Sony Music Australia.
His debut single, Good Night, sold more than 30,000 units within a day of release – knocking mentor Sebastian’s own song from the top spot in the process.
Following last year’s release of an album comprising songs he performed on The X Factor, Mastin unveiled his new studio album, Beautiful Nightmare, in October, with tracks spanning pop, punk, rock and dance.
It was a chance for Mastin, who wrote his first song aged 12, to pour plenty of time into the writing and recording process.
‘‘I only had, like, two days to finish the first album so it’s always refreshing to have that time do it.
‘‘It’s awesome. I kind of fell in love with it. It’s kind of like my little baby.’’
Mastin has credits on all 15 songs, which he wrote with the likes of Benji Madden of US pop-punk band Good Charlotte and Ilan Kidron of dance act the Potbelleez.
‘‘It’s just been crazy to work with people like that and to pick their brains,’’ Mastin said.
The album includes the single Rock Star on which he sings ‘‘I wish I was a rock star/Breaking all the girls hearts/If I was Eddie Vedder/I bet you’d like me better’’.
Mastin is a pop act in the eyes of his fans but he credits heavy rock bands Aerosmith and Guns N’ Roses for inspiring him to follow his rock-star dreams.
‘‘Steve Tyler’s my No.1. I love that guy. He’s just the epitome of rock,’’ Mastin said.
‘‘Listening to that kind of old school ’80s vibe got me into music really, so he’s one of my really big inspirations.
‘‘In a way it stemmed from my parents. I picked it up out of their CD collection but it was shoved at the back – they didn’t really listen to it that much – and I just found this love for it and it just made me feel like ‘This is what I wanted to do’. That was my calling.’’
Another track on the album, Stars, was written for Mastin’s girlfriend, 21-year-old Home & Away star Rhiannon Fish, who got together with the singer after appearing in the video for his song Shout It Out.
The pair are now living together after Mastin – who celebrated his 18th birthday last week – moved to Sydney to be closer to her.
‘‘About two weeks after the film clip we just hit it off and have kind of become inseparable,’’ he said.
Mastin is promising his ‘‘Lil’ Rockers’’ fans a show that is ‘‘20 times’’ bigger than his first national tour, which included a sold-out show at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre in February.
‘‘It’s going to be huge. I can’t wait to show the kids what I’ve been working on,’’ Mastin said.
‘‘I been literally working on this tour for about a year. There’s a lot of stuff happening and there’s a theme around the tour which is a beautiful nightmare, so I can’t wait for everyone to see it.’’
Reece Mastin performs at Newcastle Entertainment Centre on January 19. Bookings through Ticketek.