Mason Noise captured the attention of X Factor viewers back in 2015 with his bad boy attitude, shocking viewers with his dramatic mic drop and his run-in with show boss Simon Cowell.
But the Birmingham singer was then asked back for the live finals in 2015 and finished in seventh place, winning a place on the live tour.
Viewers remember him for his cropped hair and neat beard, but now he looks very different. He’s let his hair grow on his head and face, and even has dreadlock extensions.
It’s all part of his ‘spiritual’ lifestyle in which he meditates every day to overcome a deep depression he says he fell into after the death of his girlfriend in a quad bike accident, according to the Birmingham Mail.
Now Mason, 23, is back with a new single and is donating all the profits to mental health charity SANE.
He’s also appearing on stage back in his home city. Mason is singing at Shardfest 2017, held on July 29-30 in Norman Chamberlain Playing Fields, alongside Boyzlife, Bars and Melody, Scott Mills and 5 After Midnight.
Former waiter Mason, from Handsworth, says: “This is my transitional period. I’ve got extensions and dreads. I’m trying them out.
“I’ve changed a lot. I’ve done a whole 180 degrees about who I am as a person.
“I’ve been through experiences and had ups and downs in the past year.
“I’ve gone on a spiritual journey. I’ve had counselling, and meditation and yoga have really helped me. I went through a spiritual realisation.
“And my sound is completely different.”
Mason is releasing new single Hold Me at the start of August and then going to Los Angeles in September to finish his EP.
He says: “I’ve produced and written it myself and it’s something that is close to my heart and what I’ve been through in the past year.
“I had a terrible bereavement. My girlfriend died in a quad bike accident on holiday in Turkey a year ago. It was awful and it changed my life.
“It’s not something I find easy to talk about.
“It’s why I paired up with SANE. I was fortunate enough to work through it with help but a lot of people don’t – the suicide rare among young man is far too high.
“I learned to clear my mind, think more rational thoughts and get in contact with my feelings. It takes a lot of practice and patience. People with mental health problems tend to beat themselves up.
“I’m not religious but I can relate to Buddhism, it’s probably the closest to what works for me.
“It didn’t get so bad for me that I had suicidal thoughts. After what happened to my girlfriend I really appreciate life, I know it’s really precious.”
Mason didn’t reveal any more details about his girlfriend, but added: “You never get over something like that but it’s good I’m able to do what I love,” says Mason.
“The music really helps and gives me an outlet. Ed Sheeran, Adele and all the best songwriters write about personal experiences.
“My new song is about my experiences but is still a pop record. It’s uplifting. The sentiment is about being there for someone.”
Mason, whose real name is Mason Binnell, worked as a waiter at Miller and Carter in the Mailbox before auditioning for X Factor.
He impressed with his Six Chair Challenge performance of a mash-up of The Weekend, Blackstreet and Justin Timberlake.
But the trouble began when Mason complained that he didn’t get enough airtime, telling the crowd: “I’ve got something to say. I invite you all to film this on your phones. With the first auditions I watched on Saturday, people had ten minute slots and I went to 47 seconds.”
Simon warned him: “You’re five seconds away from getting thrown off this stage.”
Undeterred, Mason continued to address the audience, saying: “I’m doing this for artists, this is real. I’m bringing art back.”
After refusing to apologise for his outburst, Mason dramatically dropped the mic and walked off stage. He later claimed that he was thrown out by security.
But Nick Grimshaw was still a fan and when Tom Bleasby dropped out, he invited Mason to join his Boys category.