BUNDABERG'S own X-Factor finalist Justin Standley has been wowing crowds around the country since the reality show made him a household name.
Returning to Bundaberg this week, Standley said he was living the dream, embracing each wonderful opportunity the show had brought him.
"I still wake up and pinch myself every morning that this is my life," he said.
"I can't believe I'm saying things like 'my album will be released soon'."
Recently awarded Most Promising Country Artist in Australia and New Zealand at the Norfolk Island Country Music Festival, Standley also has been busy recording in the studio.
"I submitted a heap of original and cover songs but the producer decided my original work stood up against any covers," he said.
"In the end there only ended up being three cover songs on the CD."
But despite all the musical success, he said being reunited with his children was still the greatest gift.
It was a brave and emotional Standley who first told Australia in his X Factor audition of his efforts to find the three children from whom he had been estranged for 12 years.
"The best thing has been getting my children back in my life," he said.
"Nothing comes close."
While extensive touring means Standley and his children are still living in separate states, he believes in the future he could see himself settling down, possibly in Bundaberg, with his children by his side.
"The kids are still in WA but if I wasn't travelling so much there's every chance we'd be together," he said.
"The long-term goal is to all live together, if not in the same house, then at least in the same town.
"It's amazing how close we've come after 12 years apart."
Standley will see another dream come true on June 15 when he returns to Bundaberg to release his album with a special Bundaberg-only performance.
"The show will tell my story with songs," he said.
"My biggest support has come from Bundaberg."
- When: Saturday, June 15
- Where: Moncrieff Theatre
- Cost: $10 per person or $30 for show ticket and CD (unallocated seating)
- Tickets on sale Friday from the Moncrieff Theatre
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