In 2011 Reece Mastin won The X Factor. The 15 minutes of fame would quickly turn into years of shame.
While television execs like Marion Farrelly seem to have no moral problem manipulating inexperienced people for TV ratings and then casting them aside when the show is done, SBS program The Feed has revealed the years of scarring that can follow a reality TV show contestant. Remarkably, Farrelly had no trouble talking about her cruel tactics for The Feed.
Reece Mastin explained on the show, “The only thing I knew about the music industry at that point is that rock and roll is cool and that I’m on a TV show and getting to do this big thing”.
However, the opposite is the case. “I was just riding the wave. I definitely didn’t feel like I was in the driver’s seat. Not that I was pushed around but I was coerced very easily because they just want to control you. They want to make you something [you’re not]. You are being told what to do”.
Reece quickly discovered that despite his own musically style he was now contracted to be whatever they wanted. He unwittingly signed his life away. “The last record I did I was so embarrassed by it. I actually felt sick,” he said.
Once sales stopped, Reece was dropped. “I was so lonely,” he told The Feed. “I felt that everybody had gotten something out of it except me. I was chucked to the side. I was broken. I was done. I got down to 54 kilos and that’s when my mum started to freak out”.
After manufactured hit songs and multiple platinum awards that profited others, Reece was over it. “I’ve done therapy for 5 years,” he said. “It did get to a point where I stopped working and I had nothing. It took me two or three years to start meeting people and working on my career again to start working those building blocks back up”.
Red Hot Summer and One Electric Day founder and concert promoter Duane McDonald saw the true talent in Reece away from the destructive reality show and have him a second chance on her tours. “Reece wasn’t just a good singer. He had the personality, the back story,” Duane says on The Feed.
Duane has seen first-hand what reality TV shows can do to the inexperienced. “You’ll do what they tell you when they tell you and they’ll take a major percentage of what you earn. They are sold the dream. They are signed up in the contracts and they’ve got to follow it and the show doesn’t always follow you. As soon as you start dropping sales and dropping numbers they move on pretty quick,” he says.
Reece Mastin now writes and records the music he wants. His own album ‘Change Colours’ includes appearances from his champion supporters including Chris Cheney of The Living End, Diesl and the Barnes family.
In 2019 Reece Mastin opened for Jimmy Barnes, Joan Jett and The Living End of the Red Hot Summer tour.