Before he was beamed into living rooms across the country, singer-songwriter Taylor Henderson performed somewhere a little more local.
It was a wooden bench near his school, glamorously situated next to a bin.
"I remember when I'd sit there and if someone chucked in a bit of money, I just couldn't believe it," he tells AAP.
"If I sat there for a few hours and made 27 dollars, I used to be so happy."
These days, Henderson's swapped the supermarket carpark for a slightly bigger stage.
After finishing runner-up on 2013's X Factor, he has released a No. 1 self-titled album, enjoyed double-platinum sales of his single Borrow My Heat and proven himself an assured musician in his own right.
Now 21, he admits he's come a long way since appearing on the Seven Network's talent show.
In particular, he's tried to emulate the likes of Ed Sheeran and John Mayer on his upcoming sophomore release, Burnt Letters, by writing songs that are "brutally honest".
"One of the most admirable things in someone is when they're honest," he says.
"The only thing I want to do with music is (make) it real."
He admits he wrote his latest track, Already Gone, in 45 minutes after a last-minute schedule change meant he couldn't return home to country Victoria for another week.
In essence, Henderson says the song is about the "duel" between living his musical dreams and pining for the simple way things used to be.
But he confesses opening up, even through song, is somewhat daunting.
"I get a bit worried about it, and think, `oh man, people are going to really know what I'm about'," he laughs.
That said, Henderson credits his successful X Factor run for his ability to share his personality - not just his voice - with audiences and the chart success that followed.
So looking back, what wisdom would he impart to that young man before he stepped out in front of the likes of Dannii Minogue and Ronan Keating?
"You need to reach through a camera lens, into someone's lounge room," he explains.
"You need to try to stop people in their path."
It's a skill he first honed strumming his guitar on a wooden bench, glamorously situated next to a bin.
- Taylor Henderson's new album, Burnt Letters, is out on July 11.