LOS ANGELES — Austin Mahone is over the Justin Bieber comparisons.
Like Bieber, Mahone got his start on YouTube and catapulted to teen heartthrob status with his female-centric pop sound and dance moves.
But the 18-year-old says enough is enough.
"I can kind of see where they're coming from, but at the same time, it's kind of obnoxious," he said of the comparisons. "They see a young kid who sings and dances and ... they're like, 'Oh another Justin Bieber.' Like, you don't even know. You don't know me. You don't know my music. You're just making assumptions."
Mahone said he wants people to listen to his music before linking him to Bieber, who has turned into a headline regular for bad behavior after reaching multiplatinum international stardom. Bieber recently apologized after a years-old video surfaced of him telling a racist joke with the N-word.
Mahone is hoping to grab some new fans with his U.S. debut EP, "The Secret," which came in at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart this week. He was also set to perform the national anthem during Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas.
"I may not be the best dancer or the best performer right now, but I'm always getting better," he said. "Next year I'll be even better than I am now. And the year after that, I'll just keep getting better."
Mahone, who is signed to Lil Wayne's Cash Money/Young Money imprint, is preparing for a tour in July and hopes to release a full-length album by November.
He describes his music as a mix of pop, R&B, electronic dance music and '90s Backstreet Boys. His album, not surprisingly, focuses mostly on the ladies.
And while Mahone hasn't yet fallen in love, he's open to the possibility.
"I'm sure when it hits me, it'll hit me."
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